Each time I walk through a transitional time in my life, I feel the need to rid my home of the excess and the unnecessary. It seems to be a cleansing ritual for me and usually arrives on the heels of a difficult season. This year it came in the form of a paintbrush rather than a trashcan or a trip to Goodwill. Trust me, that will make more sense in a minute.
A sermon I heard recently at my church, Healing Place Church, allowed me to reflect on changes that needed to happen in order for me to truly “de-clutter” my life. Our pastor stressed eliminating anything that is not bearing fruit in your life and getting rid of your unnecessary baggage. There is so much in our life that drags us down such as past transgressions, unforgiveness, worry and self-pity. I have certainly been the poster child for emotional baggage that I carry with me everywhere I go. Why would I allow myself to be burdened when God can alleviate that pain and struggle for me? I am grateful for the past because it has formed me into the person I am today but I certainly don’t want it to hinder me from moving forward.
Putting that lesson into practice is much easier said than done. Asking for God to pick up my baggage and carry it for me is a DAILY thing for me. It doesn’t come naturally to me like it may for some. But when I pray, I feel God’s love wash over me as I relinquish that control every morning. My God is a BIG GOD and if I question for a second that He can’t handle my ugly parts then I am not fully trusting in Him. Only when I trust in Him will I begin to see that growth in my life.
For a long time, I held onto possessions which no longer served me in my day to day because I thought of the “what if” situations. I may use those thirty or more Lancome gift bags one day for something. You never know when you will need a small satchel, or ten of them. As usual, I finally get to the point where I can’t hang onto everything because I don’t have room for it in my home anymore. It’s the same issue I experience with my emotional baggage. I can’t fit all the negative extras of my life in my carry-on suitcase and if I don’t want to miss my flight, I have to leave it behind. And I also don’t need nor can I fit 50 glass vases in my tiny hall closet. It’s okay to just let go of the physical stuff and the emotional stuff. We are not our possessions and we are not our past. Need to stitch that on a pillow one day.
Since I’m in the process of painting the interior of my house, I’m pulling things off the wall, shuffling things about, rearranging, de-cluttering and putting my house back together room by room. This is where the paintbrushes come into play.
The first room we tackled was the living room and after painting the walls and ceilings, I sat back and stared at the big white walls in all of their beauty. The Milk Bloom color that we chose is calming and much improvement from the matte honey color that was reminiscent of a hospital room. I couldn’t take it any longer; it was time to say goodbye.
Before the Spivey Paint Project – our Abby James is enjoying a relaxing afternoon on the couch:
After the Spivey Paint Project – the beautiful and blank Milk Bloom walls:
For the first time, I am enjoying my living room with its bare walls.
What does any of this have to do with de-cluttering my life? Well, normally I would add everything back to the walls and re-clutter the room all over again. After a very trying year, I only want items on my walls that speak to me, inspire me and truly represent where I am in this journey called life. I don’t want extra or unnecessary showing up any longer. There has been so much superfluous stuff in my life and I’m ready to wipe it away, start anew, and ultimately de-clutter. I may not be purging my closets this go-round but I’m purging my walls and my life of what may have been and adding to them what is and what will be in my life from here on.
Leaving my walls blank and allowing them to speak to me is what I need right now. I desire the stillness after the storm. I feel the reassurance that God has my hand in His when I look at my walls. I feel His love for me and all of my imperfections. I’m sure to most they see blank space, emptiness and white walls but from my new found perspective, I see fresh, clean, calm, serene, peace, quiet, strength, forgiveness, grace, acceptance and LOVE.
Only after I come out on the other side of pain do I receive clarity like this. I look back at the valley I was in and see how God showed up and pulled me out of the deep hole. If there is anything I learned from my experiences, it would be that God performs his greatest masterpieces in our darkest period. I appreciate and respect the darkness. Because of that, I can see God’s goodness in the quiet and the blank space that is my walls right now.
No matter what you’re struggling with or walking through today, God can carry it for you. It’s time to “de-clutter your life“, drop the extra and unnecessary and begin to appreciate the quiet, blank spaces.