(Photo by Selma Komisky)
The Closet Chronicles: A Story of Decluttering
By Brittney Perez
If you’re like me, when it comes to decluttering, you try to put it off because the thought of actually having to go through things and organize takes time and mental thought that you could use for other things. Unfortunately, if you keep putting it off, you end up with a big mess. That’s literally something I recently experienced. It’s funny because the story I’m about to tell just happened the weekend before I found out the topic for this month’s issue was “Declutter.” I laughed inside because I know God has a sense of humor.
Just a quick back story––I haven’t cleaned out my closet in years, literally. I’m sure all you cleaning fanatics out there are cringing right now…LOL. My mom has been bugging me for months to clean out my closet and my general response up until this point had been, “I’ll get to it.” AKA “I really don’t want to do this, but when I’m mentally ready I will…one day.” Keep in mind, I don’t spend too much time in my room other than to change and sleep. I’m usually pretty busy and my room just isn’t my “hangout” spot. Funny thing, my mom had just recently brought up the dreaded, “you should clean out your closet” conversation again days before said incident occurred (trust me I’m getting there) and my response was pretty much the same as it always has been until Saturday came around.
So, it was Saturday. I worked that morning and came home in the afternoon. I ended up calling a friend and talked to them for about an hour but realized that I had to hurry up and get ready to leave because I had a prayer meeting to go to. I hadn’t been in my room until that morning before work, but had to get something in there before I left again so as I open my door, to my dismay, I find my room a total disaster. Literally my heart dropped. There was stuff all over my floor. I was so confused by the mess. It literally looked like someone broke in and thrashed my room! Then I looked at my closet and my clothes were falling out on the floor and there were papers and kick knacks everywhere.
It wasn’t until the initial shock and confusion dissipated that I realized the shelving unit in my closet gave way, causing EVERYTHING to fall out. Since I left my closet door open, it literally vomited my stuff all over the place. Needless to say, I was so upset. At the same time, I found it humorous since cleaning out my closet was something I knew I needed to do but had been putting off and could do so no longer. Now I didn’t have a choice.
Isn’t that kinda how life is sometimes? There’s this verse in Proverbs I love. It’s Proverbs 14:10 and it reads, “Each heart knows it’s own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” It’s so true! We realize there are either heart issues, areas of weakness, or personality flaws that need either refining or removal. However, it’s easier to say, “We’ll get to it” instead of letting God in and asking Him to purify us of those things we ourselves know need some decluttering. It’s cool how God works. Sometimes He will let us figure it out, like He’ll probe us and consistently remind us through His Word, prayer, or even people of what we should be working on in our lives (sort of like how my mom persistently reminded me about cleaning out my closet), and then other times something will occur and God is just like BAM this is happening we’re going to address this (much like how my closet exploded beyond my control).
A day later I went through the stuff that had been in my closet and threw out a bunch of unnecessary things that had been in there for years. In many ways it was nostalgic. I found things that made me smile and also things that I immediately trashed, but once I went through my stuff and got my closet back in order, it felt so good; like a fresh start. My things were now cleaned out and in order. Sometimes in life, we need to declutter, even when it seems difficult or painful. Within recent months I’ve recognized areas of my life where I need God to do some decluttering. It’s hard when God reveals those things you know about yourself that need to be dealt with, but it’s a good thing if you choose to see it that way. It’s like when your friends or family that know you really well point out areas you need growth in; it might not feel the best, but if their intentions are for your good, it really is a blessing. Sometimes, others see areas of our lives that need some refining and we don’t see or want to see it and though it doesn’t always feel good when confronted about those things, personally, it makes me appreciate those people, knowing that they care enough about me to tell me the hard truth. How much more does God see?! Our family and friends only see a glimpse, but the God who formed us sees it ALL––and though that may feel scary at times, it’s a beautiful thing to be fully known.
As I mentioned, there have been areas of my life where God has shown me that some decluttering needs to take place. In all honesty, it doesn’t feel good when I stop and picture it, but I know it’s for my best. I recently had someone I love very much give me the best analogy. She said, “Sometimes life gets chaotic, like you’re having your kitchen remodeled. You need the kitchen and you see it all in a disarray. It’s disheartening and you question if it will ‘get there.’ because you’re just not seeing it, but it will; it just takes time. The kitchen will get remodeled.” I personally appreciate a good analogy and this one hit me. So far this year and the end of last year, God has started some decluttering. It hasn’t been the easiest, but I know if I want that “remodeled kitchen,” I need to allow the process to take place. I need to give Him my heart and let Him work out those areas I’ve held onto for a long time. I need to be in that place of surrendering it all to Him and I’m realizing there’s no better time than now.
In Romans 8:18 it says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” As I read this, I am given hope that even though the idea of decluttering areas of my life may not seem pleasant, that “suffering” I have pictured in my head is not worth comparing to the outcome God has intended. If you are currently in a place where you know God wants to declutter areas of your life, know that though the road may seem messy or difficult, His promises and ways are always for our good. Even in the hardships, His grace is sufficient and we can know that whatever God removes will be replaced with something better. I believe God is too good to allow His children to stay the same. He wants to mold, shape, and remove those things that are causing us harm with or without our knowing it. God is in the business of decluttering. For that, I’m thankful because Lord knows the things I’d hold on to. As we embark on this journey of allowing God to come in and declutter our lives, my prayer is that we be in full surrender––not allowing our fears cause us to shrink back, but anticipating and ready to receive the good things He wants to replace those things with. In turn, He would be given the glory. Take heart, dear friend. Better things are coming.