If you do not have Netflix, the craze of decluttering and organizing until your living room could make the pages of Better Homes & Gardens might have slipped by you. The Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo reintroduces the KonMari method of tidying. The KonMari method of tidying first became popular as a book titled The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2014, it regains its notoriety through the streaming service. Marie Kondo—developer of the KonMari Method—preaches that when her method is done properly, you will never have to organize your home again. She even narrows it down to six easy rules of tidying:
Commit yourself to tidying up.
Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
Finish discarding first.
Tidy by category, not by location.
Follow the right order.
Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
However, what if we are not just trying to declutter our homes, but everything else in our lives, too? Between crazy calendars and hectic work days, our homes start to feel like they’re not the only messy thing in our lives. What can be changed in our lives so they feel less messy, less stressed, and most importantly, oriented around God? After careful reflection, I have broadened Kondo’s six steps to apply to our overall lives and our experience of God.
1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
You need to pledge that you are going to work hard to tidy up your life and grow closer to God. Tell a friend. Put a sticky note on your computer. Write down a mantra. Whatever it takes for you to not only saythat Jesus is the priority in your life, but also to start acting like it, too! Just by reading this article you have taken the first step to opening your heart and listening to God.
2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
This is going to look different for everyone. A simple way to do this is picturing someone you believe leads an extraordinary life and what about that person’s life do you want to see in yours? Is where you are now where you saw yourself five years ago? Where do you see yourself five years from now? Ten years? When you are imagining your ideal lifestyle, you are really clarifying why you want to declutter your life and envisioning your “best” life.
3. Finish discarding first.
This does not have to apply to material goods. Do you ever find yourself being your biggest bully? Telling yourself that you are not good enough or you will never measure up against your peers or your own goals? We need to let go of the feelings that are not from God. He loves us just the way we are and hates to see when His children feel less than worthy of His almighty love.
"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy." – Psalm 94:19
4. Tidy by category, not by location.
The three categories to focus on are to ask God, listen to God, and to follow God. A simple verse to follow is when David asked God to examine the contents of his soul: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). The Lord knows all things, even the things we try to hide from ourselves. Not only do we need to be brave enough to ask, but also willing to listen to what the Lord has to say about our cluttered hearts. Once we listen, we must follow God like a sheep follows its shepherd, being guided by His infinite understanding and wisdom.
5. Follow the right order.
When Marie Kondo says “right order,” she is describing “clothes, books, paper, miscellaneous items, and sentimental items.” In our case, the right order means taking baby steps. To declutter your heart and grow closer to God, you do not need to jump in and change who you are deep down. Rather, take small and focused steps. For example, starting a devotional is an easy way to break down the Bible into smaller pieces. Once you have mastered reading a devotional every day, add something small to it, such as meeting a friend weekly for coffee and prayer. After mastering that, add another step. By starting small and mastering new levels in our faith journey, we feel empowered by continuing to grow closer to God.
6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
If something does not spark joy in your life or deepen your relationship with God, it might be time to say goodbye. Of course, we cannot change everything, like our jobs or mother-in-law, but it is okay to learn when to say “No” to some things so you can say “Yes” to what’s best. Only God can give true joy. The closer we grow to Him, the happier and more content we will find ourselves.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." – Romans 15:13
To dig deeper into this subject of a cluttered life and a cluttered heart, listen to part 3 of our The Dirty Truth sermon series, Cluttered Heart.