As you probably remember, I spent the better part of Autumn 2017 purging like a crazy woman. I got rid of possessions that I did not need, no longer wanted, and were just taking up space. One thing that surprised me was the stuff in my kitchen.
It surprised me because I had done a “purge” just a year or so earlier…Marie Kondo style. But, apparently, I did not go far enough.
You see the measuring cup photo above? I had four of these 2-cup Pyrex lovelies. Plus one 4-cup measuring cup, two Pampered Chef batter bowls (small and large) and about eight various sets of measuring spoons and measuring cup sets. As I boxed up the kitchen for the move I stopped and looked at my unintentional collection. What was my purpose in owning all of these? Some had been given to me, others were decades old. Some were purchased to replace older ones (often because the color was prettier) (I so enjoy pretty kitchen things!) but the older ones never got donated or discarded. I had a very large kitchen with plenty of storage and, well, the older stuff just got pushed to the back of the drawer or cabinet. There were a couple of them that had sentimental value because of who had given them to me but I no longer used them. They were taking up space. Period.
I took a deep breath and decided to choose wisely. I kept the batter bowls (because Pampered Chef!) and only two sets each of measuring spoons and measuring cups. The rest were donated.
This is only one example of the cleaning-out process that preceded our move, but now that we are here in our new home I am so thankful that I did that brutal purge. Because, until now, I did not realize how often my little decisions had just a teeny bit of added stress due to having too many choices.
When I cook, now, my choices are easy. Grab what I need and move on. No more rearranging stacks, shuffling things around or standing there staring blankly before finally picking out what I need. My everyday tasks are made more simple when decisions are straightforward.
Read that again.
My everyday tasks are made more simple when decisions are straightforward.
We clutter up our minds when we clutter up our homes. We become saddled under the weight of our possessions because we refuse to let things go. This applies to our physical lives as well as our emotional and spiritual lives!
Proverbs 2:4-5 says,
If you sift through the clamor of everything around you
to seek her like some precious prize,
to search for her like buried treasure;
Then you will grasp what it means to truly respect the Eternal,
and you will have discovered the knowledge of the one True God.
Sifting through the clamor. That can manifest in so many different ways: getting rid of possessions, thinning out our book collection (The. Hardest. For. Me.), turning off the TV or radio and learning to function in absolute quiet, getting up (and going to bed) earlier so fatigue doesn’t cloud my thinking, choosing friends more wisely, sticking to a grocery list or (gasp) reading a good and beautiful book instead of scrolling mindlessly through social media. It is in the little choices, made all throughout each day, that we begin to reduce mental strain and find white space in our lives, space that allows rest and results in the restoration and recognition of who we are created to be.
God never called us to be busy for busy’s sake, or to have a calendar so filled to the brim that we dread waking up in the morning.
In 1 Corinthians 3:3, Paul says,
…you are still living in the flesh, not in the Spirit. How do I know? Are you fighting with one another? Are you comparing yourselves to others and becoming consumed with jealousy? Then it sounds like you are living in the flesh, no different from the rest who live by the standards of this rebellious and broken world.
I believe the need to have and consume and hoard (whether physically or spiritually) is a form of living in the flesh. It is sign of a lack of faith, of fearing there will not be enough or holding on to an idol. We compare ourselves to others and want to keep up, have what they have, or even do what they do. But if it causes stress or burdens us, holding us back from becoming who we are created to be, it most likely should not be in our lives or homes.
This is not a legalistic proposition, but a practical one. It doesn’t mean we all have to sell our possessions and give everything to the poor (unless God calls us to) but it means we are intentional with what we have in our homes, creating beauty and space and an inviting environment within which we raise our children and entertain guests.
It means cultivating spiritual disciplines and making sure the time is there, each day, to spend time with God in prayer and reading His Word. Non-negotiable.
It means being selective about who we “let in” as close friends, trusting the truly trustworthy and choosing to be an influencer for the Kingdom instead of being constantly blown back and forth by the winds of society for the sake of “fitting in.”
I guess it is a little strange that God would teach me this from a pile of discarded measuring utensils! But, as usual, He shows up in the everyday mundane…when it is quiet and I am alone with my thoughts. But as I dwell on the truth He has given me, I pray that I am obedient, letting it transform my life and making me more like Jesus who was fully satisfied in His Father.
Yes, may that be true of me.
And I pray it will be true of you.