I’ve been thinking lately about how physical and mental clutter affects how we live, and even its effects on our spiritual life. We tend to let things pile up in us and around us and before long we find ourselves overwhelmed and frustrated by the power that these things can have over us. We might ask ourselves if we are letting clutter get in the way of answering God’s call in our life. Clutter may be keeping us from being able to discern a clearer path to where God is leading us.
We know that clutter can easily take up space in many places, not just on counter tops and desk tops, but can also take up residence in our minds and hearts. Many of us like to hold onto things. My two culprits are books and fabric. I’m often looking for that next bargain deal to satisfy my appetite for more, even when I have enough already. My obsession with acquiring these possessions can easily consume my attention because what is truthfully happening is that I am seeking to fill every nook and corner of empty space in me. If I pause long enough to realize my obsessive behavior, I can admit that this habit is a sign that I need to quiet my mind and ask myself why I am feeling empty and then spend time in silence and prayer with God, who alone can fill my heart space with all that I need.
What might your clutter be telling you? Is it telling you that you might be avoiding or procrastinating about something? Are you afraid to let go of things and to discover new possibilities? Do you need to make room for God in your life? Could the clutter in your life be keeping you from seeking or discovering your vocational call in life? Do you find mental clutter gets in your way of feeling free to respond to God’s call? Do you need to declutter your mind so you can hear what God is saying to you?
Sometimes it is not physical things, however, that we hold on to. We can hold on to our thoughts, to what others say to us or don’t say to us, what’s happened to us in the past or present, or what we did not receive from others. We can easily become burdened and weighed down by our cluttered thoughts. When we recognize that our thoughts are wreaking havoc on our mental and spiritual well-being, keeping us from living life fully, it is time to declutter.
Decluttering is good for the soul. It can be a cleansing and freeing experience. It can help us put what’s important in order. It can teach us about letting go of what’s not important. By creating uncluttered spaces, we can be open to letting God in, clearing a path to a more open, expansive heart and mind that can see, hear, and feel how we are being called to live more authentically.
As we declutter from physical things and mental preoccupations that weigh us down, we can begin to receive clarity about what’s important and become free to discover the path we are called to follow.
If you are a woman discerning a vocation to religious life and want help in decluttering the thoughts that might be getting in the way of your responding to God’s invitation, contact us.