GUEST BLOGGER – ‘CLUTTER’ BY CHAD PARKS

I would imagine that most married couples have certain parts of their shared house they would consider their personal space. These sacred spaces are where we place our ‘stuff.’

We place our personal items…

Our personal books…

Our papers…

Some might even call it junk. Regardless of what we call our personal space items, it is ours.

Heather and I, like most couples I imagine, both have our little spaces. Heather’s is next to the couch and next to our bed. My personal space is scattered throughout the house sadly. I have my own small closet for all my work gear, a place on the kitchen table, which tends to collect mail for bills, and other important papers that I have to take care of.

Over the years my personal space has changed from one part of a countertop to another. Regardless, of where my personal space is, one thing I have come to realize in my life is this stuff…this junk…is clutter.

Over these past few weeks, I have started to notice my clutter more and more. Whether in my personal area next to my bed or other areas. I have discovered it is easy to notice other peoples’ clutter, but somehow I have grown to ignore my own.

When you walk into our room, you see Heather’s side which is organized and cleaned. Then on my side, it literally is gross and disgusting. These past few weeks my attention and focus has honed in on my own clutter.

I have decided to clean it.

Which really means sort, organize, and throw stuff away. It was a very long process, as I not only cleaned my personal area, I decided to go through my closet to get rid of the things I do not wear, or should not wear, according to my kids.

As I looked at my nice clean space this evening, it dawned on me that this clutter in my personal space is sometimes an indication of what is going on inside of my mind. In my heart. I believe I get so busy with doing multiple tasks, trying to achieve multiple goals, that my mind and emotions become overloaded.

This built up clutter makes it difficult for me to focus…

It makes it difficult for me to finish a task…

It makes it difficult to give my best effort or make the best decisions

You see, when I have this clutter going on in my mind, and in my heart, I am not very pleasant. I am not very compassionate. I don’t really have much room to think of others when clutter overloads me.

Clutter brings me down and it brings confusion into my life. I wonder how many opportunities I pass up because I had so much clutter in my heart and mind…

This unseen clutter makes me blind to opportunities staring at me.

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my adult life is that I cannot fix everything.

It takes time to clean clutter out in my life…

It takes intentionality…

It takes hard work…

When I cleaned my personal space, it took a long time, because one area led to another area.

Then to another area…

Then to a different area…

What I saw on the outside of the clutter, led to a deeper clutter internally. Then the deeper area that was cleaned led to another deeper area that needed worked on as well. I worked on the floor, but eventually I ended up underneath my bed. In my dresser drawers. Then in a storage area.

I could have stopped with the outer portion of my clutter and been done for the evening. It was quite enough, but I knew I had deeper issues to tend to…

Those issues took time.

A lot more effort.

Some decision-making.

Clutter can be a good indicator of our personal lives. Life has a way of being extremely busy. It brings large amounts of junk and stress into it. Sure, we clean the exterior of our face and bodies.

We make sure all of our social media sites show the life we want to portray instead of the truth.

We put on makeup or wear our best clothes.

Take some well thought out pictures to portray we have a great life and everything is in order.

The truth is, on the inside we are a wreck. We are hurt. We are damaged. We are cluttered.

We carry baggage from our past and our past mistakes. The bruises and scars that this world brings. The emotional junk that people bring into our lives and expect us to carry. This all weighs heavily on us.

However, we keep going…

We keep moving while our emotional and psychological areas of our lives continue to fill with junk and baggage. Before too long the clutter continues to build and we find different coping mechanisms. We sometimes ignore it, pretend it’s not there. Mask it with lies.

We self-medicate with unhealthiness…

We try different ways to ignore our clutter…

It does not disappear…

It certainly does not go away.

We must deal with it. The clutter next to my bed only grew as I continued to ignore it.

Eventually I had to deal with it.

Sometimes we are self-aware of our own clutter.

Sometimes our fourteen-year old daughter points out our clutter.

Sometimes God points out the clutter.

However, when we know there is clutter in our lives, the best thing to do is to attack it straight on and begin to work on it.

Sometimes when we begin to deal with our clutter, we have to seek help.

Sometimes that help is in the form of a counselor.

Sometimes it is a trusted friend.

Your spouse.

A book.

A pastor.

When I walked into my room this evening after work and looked over at my side of the room, there was a sense of accomplishment that came over me. My hard work had paid off. There was also a sense of motivation to do more.

To build on the work I have already achieved. One accomplishment will lead to another.

Now to start on my other personal areas…

Pastor Chad

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