I love throwing things away. And anything similar to that – deleting files on my computer, cutting back on social networks, and clearing out my digital and actual desktops.
So starting 7 PM Saturday night all the way to 6 AM Sunday morning, I did nothing but clear out old books, bags, furniture, junk, construction supplies, notes, appliances, toys – anything that I didn’t need or would be of service to someone else, and packed them up and shipped them out. This was partially a yearly habit I got from my parents and partially in preparation for our son.
It was a lot of reorganizing and heavy lifting. For a while the house looked much more chaotic than before. And I had to rummage through many old things that I was surprised were still around.
But in the end it was worth it. We made a huge step forward to maximizing the space in our condo, and even rediscovered gems that had been buried among the junk. Even more significant, seeing the faces of the recipients of the furniture, appliances, bags, and toys energized me to do some more.
With two days (including this one) left in 2013, one of the best things we can do to prepare for 2014 is to clear out any junk or baggage that we accumulate over the course of the year.
Now, everyone knows that, but as I learned when I undertook this 11 hour project, deleting things can take a lot of work and preparation. It’s not enough to know it’s a good idea. We must take the time and energy to do this if we really want to succeed at it.
For some of us it may be physical:
- Do you really need all the Christmas gifts you received? Would they be better utilized by someone else? Instead of letting it accumulate dust, bless someone else!
- Or maybe the gift makes an existing thing you have obsolete. It might be useless to you, but it could be beneficial to others.
- Do you have articles of clothing that you haven’t worn in a long time but you’re saving “just in case?” Pass it on or throw it away!
- Don’t use the excuse “for sentimental reasons” too often. Many of those things you’d forget all about when it’s gone.
For others, the clean-up may be more than physical.
- We might need to clean up emotionally: just disengage with any negative emotions like hate, jealousy, or worry.
- We might need to clean up mentally: are we meditating or fixating on unhealthy memories or patterns of thinking?
- We might need to reassess things relationally: are there relationships that need to be restored? Or maybe cut off completely?
- We might need to reboot spiritually: how is your walk with God? Take time to thank Him for the past year and pray for the next one.
Like my house cleaning experience, internal house cleaning will take a lot of hard work. A good intention isn’t enough; it must be planned, scheduled, and executed. Talk with a friend who you trust to know you and give you sound counsel. Pray to God and just admit how you feel, how you think to Him. Ask Him to shine a light on what’s going on inside.
For a while, you might be surprised at what you find and you’ll feel more chaotic than before. But the end result is worth it. The ability to face 2014 head on with nothing slowing you down or holding you back is priceless.