Recently, I have begun the task of sorting through all the “stuff” that we’ve accumulated over the years in a futile attempt to de-clutter; to pare down all the junk that we’ve moved from one side of the country to the other, and back again. I sorted old photos into plastic bins; held an unsuccessful yard sale to try and eliminate excess collections; took a car-load of household items to donate to a local church. I even tried posting things on E bay which resulted in having to pursue a claim with the post office after the items I sold and shipped arrived in California completely shattered. And resulted in a whopping profit of $17.00. And of course, it never looks like anything has changed. There never seems to be a dent made in the ever-increasing piles of mementos and miscellaneous artifacts to the point where I can notice a difference.
My mind, most days, is as cluttered as my closets are. My time is spent running scenarios through my head on how to best handle all the current situations in my life- health, finances, children, work- all while giving lip service to the “day at a time” philosophy I have spent over 30 years incorporating into my armory. I’m not worrying, I claim, just processing things. Which really translates to overthinking and becoming overwhelmed.
The spiritual parallels are obvious to even a novice in the area of self-examination. I read books like Lysa TerKeust’s “The Best Yes” and even reflect back to the teachings of Elizabeth George in “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” (Is this “good, better or best?”) when I try to “prayerfully consider” whether to undertake another ministry position or service opportunity. I put on my wisdom hat and claim that I am trying to focus on what’s really important; to not spread myself too thin so I can best serve others. If I’m truly honest, I’m just looking for reasons not to commit to anything; trying to avoid volunteering for what seems like an endless list of thankless tasks which I can then cynically claim have resulted in absolutely no real good for the “kingdom”.
The end result is that I find myself in a brain-fog, unable to focus on any one thought in order to make a decision; unable to spend time in that coveted place of meditation; unable to pray. It’s like looking into an overflowing cabinet and hoping to find that one photograph that I vaguely recall in order to create a clever post on Instagram (which I actually did recently- about an hour of my life that I will never get back. But I found the picture).
I heard a song recently while I was driving early on a Saturday morning, trying to beat the crowd at Walmart (another vain attempt to avoid busyness). It was entitled “Open Space” by a group called Housefires. As I listened, I started crying inexplicably. The words aren’t particularly sad or emotional, at least not words that would bring you to tears. But they brought me to a place of grieving- grieving the loss of my old self; of the person who was young in her faith and open to anything God had planned. Until the plan unfolded and things became cluttered. Crowded with life, with things like bills and illness and responsibilities. The naïve dream that I could really make a difference if I just loved well and let God lead. That ever-elusive “Spirit led life”. I longed for that comparatively care-free younger woman who could stand with her hands and heart opened, “caught up in the wonder and mystery”, as the song says.
I spent this morning pulling weeds, clearing out the overgrown clover and unsightly grasses that are cluttering the yard. And there was a visible result which was somewhat rewarding. And I spent some time trying to recapture that feeling of newness and naivete – to allow myself time to just get “caught up in the wonder and mystery”. It’s a practice I think I need to incorporate back into my arsenal of tools, which will hopefully help to de-clutter my mind and my spirit. Hopefully the results will profit me more than my E bay experience.
Thanks for spending a few minutes with me in my foggy, overgrown mind-