Monday, December 9, 2013

First steps to decluttering our lives

Have you ever stopped to consider how many times you actually make new beginnings in this life?  At the beginning of almost every new year, we make some type of new beginnings, only to see them fizzle out shortly after we make them.  At the beginning of each new day, we commit to something which we will struggle with remaining faithful to throughout the course of that day.  At the beginning of the new month, we resolve to stay on budget and not spend more than we plan on taking in this month in our paychecks.  We are constantly making new beginnings, aren't we?  Sometimes we make these new beginnings with stuff like finances, our weight, or the maintenance we will perform around the house.  At others, it is much deeper, like the time we will plan to spend with a significant other, or the discovery of what God has for us in his Word by daily study and meditation.  Regardless of the new beginnings, there is something in common among them all - US.  We are making those new beginnings - some because we want to, others because we have to, and still others because someone external to us is beckoning us to.

Seek God while he’s here to be found, pray to him while he’s close at hand.
Let the wicked abandon their way of life and the evil their way of thinking.
Let them come back to God, who is merciful, come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness. “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree.  “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think." (Isaiah 55:6-9 MSG)

We all "begin", but somewhere along the way, sometimes without even noticing why, we need course corrections.  Try as we might, we cannot plan for every unforeseeable event - there will be those which creep up on us, pop up out of nowhere, and generally just "happen" without us being able to plan for them.  New beginnings are just a way of us letting go of old stuff.  Yesterday, my daughter had a garage sale and we went over to just keep her company as she did the sale.  I thought of the importance of letting go of old stuff - things which do little more than clutter up our lives and make life a little "messier" than it really needs to be.  She was making a new beginning by parting with some of the "stuff" which cluttered her garage and attic space. Others were making new beginnings by getting those outgrown baby clothes, the coffee pot, and the fluorescent fixtures for their garage.  

New beginnings are just a way of us starting over.  It is kind of like a "reset" button in our lives.  We can clean the slate and start fresh again.  This is what course corrections do for us - they help us to clean the slate and to set a new course.  Some of us need to do this in our relationships with each other because we have let clutter just mount up in those spaces where we have neglected to keep things fresh and growing.  Others of us need to start again in the place of daily time with Jesus - because we have let things clutter the space we had once committed to him.  Regardless of the reason for the "clutter", we need to get rid of it and start again - freshness restored, space given, and focus redirected.

I am so glad for God's graces which are new every morning.  If you hadn't really thought about this, maybe it will do your heart some good to consider it.  God is really saying to us his graces come into our lives afresh each and every new day - not just to give us warm fuzzies, but to help us make new beginnings with him each day.  New beginnings are first steps - not steps taken up where we left off, but first and fresh steps.  Maybe this is why we struggle so much with our "new beginnings" being something which sets us correctly on course again - because we try to take up where we left off instead of recognizing we start with the first steps again.  Here's something to ponder:  How far can you really stray off-course in a day?  If you remember his mercies are new each new day, then you likely will not stray far before you recognize you need those new mercies to get you back on course to take those first steps again.  One neat thing about God - he doesn't count how many times we take the first steps over and over again - he only focuses on our current first steps!

Truth be told, we all need new beginnings.  We may not want to admit it, but in truth, we desperately desire them in so many areas of our lives.  When we become aware of needing a new beginning, the best plan is to stop long enough to let the clutter be removed.  It took my daughter a while to realize she could part with the baby stuff which had been amassing around the house.  She just wasn't ready to let go in hopes there might be a little girl somewhere along the way.  Truth is, the boys fill her days pretty much to overflowing, so I am not sure she really needs that little girl she hopes for! Besides, all the stuff she was holding onto was boy stuff - if a little girl was to come along, she'd have to get new stuff anyway!  We sometimes hold onto what is just not very realistic, don't we?  When we do, we just add clutter to our already very full lives.  

God's plan is for us to declutter lives - to take the steps toward a new beginning.  If we have to do this more than once, so be it.  His mercies are new every morning.  Don't get down on yourself - just take those first steps and let him do the rest.  His course corrections come as frequently as we need them.  Just sayin!

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