NEW SERIES: CREATE SPACE FOR LIFE
Many of us are longing for ‘normal’ life to resume; freedom to see family members, have coffee with friends, take holidays, plan shopping expeditions, and resume familiar work patterns. But in this long hiatus there is an opportunity to evaluate our lives, and create new habits which will have a long-lasting effect—we can create space for life.
The next few posts will look at some of the things we can do to be counter-cultural, and relieve some of the stress of 21st century living. Perhaps we can clear away some of the stuff which clouds our vision and clogs up our lives?
Perhaps we can make life more simple? By that I mean pared down and profound, rather than one-dimensional and simplistic. According to the dictionary, the primary meaning of ‘simple’ refers to things which have just one element or focus, rather than something with complex, multi-faceted operations. Not exactly a description of modern life with its many demands and constant juggling!
Media and peer pressure demand that we conform to the latest profile of the successful person, inevitably resulting in us acquiring more possessions, (and more debt), and piling more activities into our over-stuffed schedules. Let’s take time to recalibrate.
In this long hiatus there is an opportunity to evaluate our lives, and create new habits which will have a long-lasting effect—we can create space for life.
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TIME TO DECLUTTER
The trouble with ‘stuff’ is that many of us have too much of it: more clothes than we can possibly wear; gadgets which gather dust at the back of cupboards; garages far too full to ever hold a car; the latest gismo which barely makes it out of the box. And then with ownership also comes responsibility. The more we own, the more we have to maintain, and the more we worry about it all. Possession whether we like it or not, brings stress.
I am not a minimalist (but if you are, that’s ok too). Stark walls and bare surfaces do not do it for me. I like having things around me which tell the story of our lives and our relationships; and I like the resources available to feed sudden bursts of creativity. But this is not the same as clutter, which the Oxford dictionary describes as ‘crowded confusion’, or a ‘confused mass’. Clutter threatens our peace, disturbs our inner tranquillity and contributes to feelings of stress. Rest needs some ordered paths to flow in.
Perhaps it’s a good time to review our stuff and what it is costing us in terms of time, anxiety and stress? What can we prune and actually improve our quality of life? (The answer to this will be different for each individual or household—there are no rules… or brownie points—just hopefully more rest!) And it’s worth taking time, while we are revaluating, to find ‘homes’ for the items we keep, so that our living spaces are clutter-free.
A few questions to consider if you have decided it’s time to declutter:
I like the words of the old hymn:
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Let’s consider making a start on ‘creating a space for life’ by physically decluttering and getting rid of excess paraphernalia. Then we will be ready for the next phase…
Next Friday: Live more simply: Declutter Your schedule
THIS WEEK’S GRACE RHYTHM
Take time to handle, and give Him praise, for the many blessings represented in the room. Ask Him to guide your thoughts and direct you to any excess He wants you to shed. (This is between you, your family or housemates and Jesus –and shouldn’t be influenced by the strong opinions or rules of anyone else—especially media ‘gurus’!)
Perhaps you could bless some others with your surplus?
PASS IT ON
[Photo credits: Sarah Dorweiler (leaves); Jeffrey Hamilton (clutter); James Lee (birds) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
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