I've been busy since I got home. I'm glad that we were in Houston during the last few months of Anderson's life. It was like we left a lot of stress back home in California and all we had to do in Houston was simply live. Our lives were simple; we ate, we slept, we went to the hospital. We hung out in the living room. We talked. We only bought what we needed and we deliberated over every purchase, wondering if it was worth it, was it useful or would it just add clutter to the apartment that wasn't ours for the long-run?
In a way, I wish that I could live like that now. When I got back home, and especially moved back into my room, I realized how much excess I've accumulated and how much I like to have, but don't need. I felt the same way after coming home from a missions trip in Kyrgyzstan. I was amazed at how little one truly needs to live on. It made me feel like happiness in life happens more often in simplicity than in excess.
You focus better when life is uncluttered and simple. Like in so many of those shows on HGTV... the clutter in our houses detracts from the focal points of the room... the things the architect so thoughtfully designed in the house, but are hidden by all the stuff that the owner has accumulated.
I write about excess belongings, but I also write about excess in our emotional, spiritual, and mental lives as well. I find it a lot harder to focus now that I'm home not only because my room is full of clutter and is, as it always is... a mess. I find it hard to focus on God and how He's speaking to me because my mind is being pulled in so many different directions and I'm all caught up in what I need to get done. I don't think as deeply, I don't cry as hard, I don't FEEL as much as I did in Houston. I don't feel as close to God as I did before. It makes me sad... and lonely.
So I thought about it a little more... I asked God... HOW can I get away from the "excess" when sometimes it's necessary in life? I'll have responsibilities, I'll have school, I'll have work. It's not like I can just quit it all and still survive. God wouldn't want me to be lazy or idle either. How do I continue to grow my relationship with You now that I've gone back to my old life... gone back to school... HOW?
And God speaks.
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)
All my heart. The whole thing. Anderson liked to say... the whole kit & caboodle. I think he just liked saying caboodle. And I'm pretty sure he thought the phrase was "the whole kitten caboodle".
So what keeps me from seeking God with my whole heart? Owning stuff? Planning for the future? Trying to control my life? Distractions that interrupt me during prayer times, quiet times, Bible reading times... whatever pulls me from place to place and keeps me from being still and knowing God.
Declutter = FOCUS. Focus on God. Focus on what I'm doing here at this particular juncture... why did God, the master architect, design this aspect of my life this way and how can I make the most of it... to show off the beauty of the creation, the glory of the architect, and not hide it with clutter that was never designed to be there? Practically... to ask myself is it necessary to do this now or can it wait? or does it even have to be done at all? God gifted me with so much... how can I use those gifts to their utmost? How can I reach out to others using what I have? And to think purposefully on every new thing I bring in to my life... is it worth it? Is it useful? Is it worth the time and space in my life... something that I have for a only a limited amount of time?
It's going to take time and a whole lot of discipline to declutter my room... and my life.
Thank you, Julia, for offering to help me with my room, and for sharing your pastor's phrase "God is better than answers" which helped me process and write out this thought.