When Our Lives Are Cluttered

How have you guys been this week? I’m happy to report that I’ve made a few baby steps in the “being intentional” arena, which just about had me jumping up and down in excitement. Baby steps are how I work. When you’re healing from anything, you move slow, you know?

But even more importantly I started thinking about what being intentional is going to look in my life if it’s going to be long term. Change all starts in the mind, right? [Favorite verse alert….]

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:2 (NLT)

The other day I was sitting on the couch after a long but super peaceful day of cleaning and crock-potting (my new fave verb) when it hit me. If I want to be intentional, I should probably take an inventory of what’s going on in my life in the first place.

That’s where the lists started.

First up – Things I “have” to do in life… These are things that I either have to do to live (eat and sleep) or “have” to do in this phase of my life (like commute).  Or really, really should do if I want people to come within ten feet of me or my home (like shower and wash the dishes).

  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Go to work
  • Commute to and from work
  • Shower
  • Wash dishes
  • etc, etc, etc

Next – Responsibilities I have… These are things I’m responsible for at this phase of my life, basically because I said “yes” to them. Kind of like things I have to do but not always the same in my mind.

  • Be a wife
  • Be a bridesmaid
  • Pay the bills
  • Clean the apartment
  • etc, etc, etc,

Lastly – Things I want to do… This is the list I like. It’s all the things I enjoy doing with my time, and if I had it my way I’d do these things all day with only a few “have tos” and only a few responsibilities. A woman can dream, right?

  • Church
  • Blog
  • Be a friend to people I love
  • Watch an entire season of Downton Abbey in one sitting…. (kind of kidding)
  • etc, etc, etc.

I was just scribbling, and not even really listing everything out. But I didn’t even have to start filling up the lists to know… My life is cluttered! If I put all of my real “have tos,” responsibilities, and things I want to do on a calendar, there would be barely enough time to breathe!

It got me to thinking…

Why do we do some of the things we do? What if we asked ourselves that question instead of just doing them?

What’s your definition of intentional? I see a lot of them on the blogosphere these days, and it all seems to come down to thinking about what we’re doing.

But what if we took it a step further and added another barometer. What if we seriously asked ourselves these simple questions about everything we do in life:

Does it breathe life? [Do I feel more alive when doing it or do I feel beat?]

Does it speak of love for God and love for others? And if so is it bearing good fruit? [In other words, is it increasing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control in ourselves and those around us?]

And if not, why in tarnation are we doing it?

Just a couple nights ago I was snuggling in bed with a copy of My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, when I read this…

The most important rule for us is to concentrate on keeping our lives open to God. Let everything else including work, clothes, and food be set aside. The busyness of things obscures our concentration on God. We must maintain a position of beholding Him, keeping our lives completely spiritual through and through. Let other things come and go as they will; let other people criticize us as they will; but never allow anything to obscure the life that “is hidden with Christ in God.

Our lists might look different. If you’re a mother, your list of “have tos” and responsibilities might be completely different from mine. If you’re healing from an illness or still in the waiting for healing part of it, your list should definitely look different. Believe me, my definition of “clean” when I was sick was something like “is there toilet paper in the bathroom and soap somewhere within range of the sink…. then we’re good.”

But the big thing I can’t help but think about for us is this: If the most important rule for us is keeping our lives open to God, why do we fill it with so many things? And how awesome would it be if we didn’t?

So that’s what being still is teaching me about being intentional. The rebellious part of me wants to run through the street screaming “I’m never commuting on a crowded train or paying my bills again!” but in reality it’s a nice nudge to consider why I do what I do and consider if there are any changes that I should be making for a more peaceful and joy-filled life filled with love for God and others. [Short answer: yes!]

What about you? Is there any clutter in your life you noticed? Do you ever want to get rid of it and start over?

I wrote this post for Bonnie’s Faith Jam Thursday but didn’t get it posted in time… so I’m linking up now!

And connecting to the community at Thought Provoking Thursdays.

p.s. The How I Got Healthier Pinterest boards are coming soon, I promise!

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9 comments

  1. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. It’s such a joy to connect with others on the faith journey. I went back and read a few of your previous posts, just to catch a glimpse of your life and heart, and I have found so much encouragement here. Thank you for writing your story, sharing your hope, walking the hard road and letting others see the great work God is doing in and through you. I have suffered long with chronic illness, most of my life really, only getting an official diagnosis 2 years ago. The healing road is long and hard and definitely a bit lonely at times. I am encouraged by your journey back to health.

    And yes, the list of “have to’s” and “should do’s” and “want to do’s” is hard to manage, even at the peak of health. And I’m not sure we ever really “figure it out,” but you’re definitely starting in the right place–examining the why’s and being intentional (or working towards being intentional) about what you choose to fill your days with.

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog–and thank you again for stopping by my corner of the world. Grace to you today, New Friend.

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    1. Courtney, thank you so much for stopping by and for such an encouraging comment! I did the same on your blog yesterday and loved your writing and the video you shared. It sounds like we have a lot in common. I hope you’re on the road to healing, too, and I’m looking forward to reading more from you too! God bless!

      Sent from my iPhone

      Like

  2. Hi Kim, I’m sitting next to you in the Faith o Jam this week. Intentional with lists…so awesome! I’m a list maker too. Slow flowing creates such a mindfulness. I bet that’s how you created space enough to make those awesome lists. Take it easy on you. See you again in the Jam =o)

    Like

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