Remove Life's Clutter
By Nancy Williams,
Licensed Counselor and Life Coach
Before we barely finished our eggnog, the festive lights began to dim as the season of goodwill and cheer faded, bringing 2009 to a close. With a collective sigh, we are now packing away memories as we bid farewell to the past year and usher in 2010. It’s now time to carefully box up those treasured decorations to be enjoyed during Christmases to come and discard the worn wrappings, burned candles, and broken ornaments.
Organizing experts advise us to clear out the clutter in our closets to make room for those treasures that will remain, and then let go of those things that are not of value. While some heed their advice, others set it all aside with an “I’ll take care of it later” attitude. After all, we have a busy year ahead and want to get going.
Determined to make it our best year yet, we blend our enthusiasm with hope as we set goals. Then, armed with ‘to do’ lists, off we go. We buy memberships to fitness centers, purchase the latest diet books and personal organizers, and vow to be more diligent in our time of worship. Instead of grabbing whatever we find in the fridge, we turn off the television and gather around the dining table for a healthy dinner and family connection. We develop a budget to get our “financial house” in order, and we read about living a “balanced life.” We’re bound for success, or so we assume.
Wonderful intentions, yet we often seem to have difficulty turning them into positive successes. While the reasons for our achievement struggles may vary, organizing experts, life coaches, and counselors identify a problem area that hinders many of us from reaching our goals: CLUTTER – unnecessary, unorganized, sometimes even unwanted elements that are roadblocks to success.
We have too much around us, physically, emotionally, and perhaps even spiritually; and what we have that we do need is often not organized in a way that helps our lives function well. We’re trying to pile one thing on top of another without thought to what we actually need for this season of our lives. We seem to have a hard time letting go, so we buy more storage containers and bigger homes. We pack our schedules tighter with less and less room to relax. “Yes” seems to flow from our lips so much easier than “no.” We hold onto emotions that drain us and hinder our growth. No wonder so many of us feel overwhelmed, frustrated, stressed, disorganized, and weighed down.
Yet talk to people who are de-cluttering their lives and becoming more organized and you’ll hear them speak about reclaiming their time and space – even their lives. They seem fit physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They are more selective about what they embrace and what they choose to set aside, and they speak about more balance in their lives as they accomplish their goals.
The life lesson is clear: taking time to clear out and clean out will indeed free us up to a more successful approach to the new year.
As we focus on organizing our schedules, our spaces, and our keepsakes, we must also make certain our minds and hearts are ready to embrace the experiences ahead. What memories do we want to savor from the past year and carefully tuck away in the closets of our hearts to be opened and enjoyed in days to come? What recollections to cherish, traditions to pass on, family history to share? Treasures, how will we preserve them?
Taking our personal inventory may also identify emotional clutter we need to clear away: disappointments, hurts, unmet goals, broken promises, and unfulfilled dreams. If left unattended, they take up space in our minds and hearts where peace and joy want to reside. It’s time to repair what needs to be repaired and set aside what needs to be set aside, to make ready for the fresh start that is waiting as the new year unfolds.
Are there relationships to be mended, forgiveness to be offered or accepted? If there are hurts lingering in your heart, perhaps this is the time to ask the Lord to help you let those go and fill that broken place with His healing mercy and grace.
So often we come to the close of the year disappointed that we did not accomplish certain goals. Now is the time to set those unmet objectives aside and ask God to give you wisdom and to guide your mind and heart as you look ahead, to align your vision and your steps with His perfect plan for your life.
As we continue bringing closure to yesterday, it is important to reflect back on the life lessons God has taught us that we need to carry forward. Some experiences were cause for celebration. Others we’ve been grateful to survive. Through them all, He has taught us how to trust Him in all circumstances, to listen to His voice and follow His commandments, to care for ourselves and minister to others in His name. He has stretched us, pruned us, and molded us as we’ve yielded to Him, revealing His mercy, His power, His goodness, and His unfailing love. Through yesterday’s experiences, we can find truths to build on in the days to come. Nothing wasted, but rather wisdom to invest in the future.
As the glass ball in Times Square announced the beginning of the new year, our minds swirled with hopes and dreams, questions and curiosities. What will 2007 bring for us? We have suspicions, yet with all our plans and good intentions, we really don’t know what the future holds.
What we do know is this: God has a plan for our lives. He does know what lies ahead and has promised that if we draw close to Him, He’ll equip us with all we need to move through the days to come and He’ll walk alongside us on our journey. The challenge is ours to remove the obstacles that may hinder our walk as we prepare our minds and hearts to embrace all He has in store.
Blessings to you in this new year!
Copyright © Nancy Williams. Used by permission.
Nancy Williams maintains a private counseling practice in Houston, Texas, providing counseling, coaching, and consulting services to adults in a Christian setting. Nancy has a special interest in supporting women facing various life management issues, with a focus on personal growth, healing, and spiritual renewal. An experienced conference speaker, teacher, and writer, Nancy weaves together warmth, wit, and wisdom as she genuinely connects with her listeners and challenges them to live their best life.
Nancy also enjoys writing an inspirational newspaper column focusing on life management entitled “Keeping Your Balance,” currently appearing in six weekly community papers in the northeast Houston, Texas, area. Keeping Your Balance…Finding Your Way (Copyright © 2004) is a collection of some of her early columns. She also writes frequently for The Forest Image, a bimonthly news magazine. Nancy can be reached through her Web site: www.nancywilliams.net.
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