Sitting in my bedroom, back when we fostered on a ranch and I was probably hiding or taking a break while a dozen kids were occupied elsewhere, I remember our nanny coming in and saying something heart-jolting to me. Maybe it was because of the stack of books she saw, or the box I couldn’t yet clear away because there were so many decisions tied to it. I don’t rightly recall what prompted her as she scurried through the house, but I do remember what she said.
“Jolene, if you weren’t such a (something), you’d be a hoarder.”
I pondered these words for some time and realized I needed to hear them. When I thought about the possibility of her words being true, I realized there was a part of my life affected by indecisiveness and my fear that I wouldn’t have enough (whatever) when I needed it.
Not knowing what to do, and fearing the outcome of actually doing what I knew I needed to do, caused me to not do.
I got stuck. Rather than making a decision which could help me move forward with less stuff, and less mental clutter, I cut off thinking so I wouldn’t have to choose at all. I tricked myself into believing the mess would go away on its own. In the end, it left me encumbered by things that just didn’t have to be there.
Choosing not to choose is still a choice and it’s one which keeps us from living well.
What is it about living stuck which blinds us to the beauty of living free?
Something about being in this place makes us believe that not living well (living with unnecessary junk) is a better option than the pain of living through what doesn’t feel well in order to get well.
I felt paralyzed when the reality was I had many choices I could make. How many of us live this way day after day?
The truth is, and without it being an excuse to live recklessly, if we take brave steps to choose action of some kind, we might still make the wrong choice and we can still be OK.
Choosing based on the best information we have available to us while seeking God’s clarity is still a choice towards living well.
God’s ability to bring about good isn’t thwarted if we don’t choose right.
While not choosing according to God’s plans may keep us from experiencing the fullness of the blessings he has for us, there is always more to be found in him and we are never so far off that he cannot redeem our choices into something profoundly beautiful.
The plans of God are never deemed irrevocable because mankind messes up.
If we expect anything in our lives to be truly different and better, we can not relegate our decision making to the whims of others or the circumstances of life. If we don’t actively participate with God in the faith journey he’s called us into, it’s like hoarding all the possibilities of life without ever enjoying them.
Maybe we keep ourselves from feeling the pain of letting go of something by pretending it’s not there. We don’t want to deal with it. Meanwhile, we continue to sit with the accumulation of trash and clutter in a way that our very livelihood and purpose fulfillment is restricted.
Sin, fear, lies, and false beliefs, they accumulate. When we don’t choose to decide how to deal with them they begin to clutter our hearts and minds.
Choose to decide if you will live in bondage to sin, shame, and toxic thinking patterns or free in forgiveness, freedom, and truth-filled thoughts.
When we lived at the ranch we hadn’t fully unpacked our belongings before we started receiving foster children. Our first five came within five days. Life went into warp speed at this point.
Some of those stacks and boxes accumulated through months and years of indecision. I had to set my mind to the task so I could tackle one at a time, whenever possible. I had so much else taking space in my head and home that it was tempting not to deal with the boxes, but when I did I felt freer and my mind was clearer. Eventually, what didn’t need to stay was let go of and what needed to be treasured received better storage.
It took years for me to go through many of the things I needed to get rid of. The process continued when we moved back home and over the coming years of reducing our “stuff”. At the same time, God worked in me to begin an intentional effort towards making more decisions for the sake of my heart and mind.
For too long, I let indecisiveness be a way of life and chaos and pain only grew as a result. Today, choosing to decide what needs to go and what needs to be better taken care of, has brought increasing levels of freedom and clarity of mind.
Passivity is no longer an option for this journey of living well.
The boxes have been sorted through long ago. Yet, my heart continues to walk a journey of decisions hard and easy, big and small. Not every choice has been correct and some still fall short. Even so, choosing to decide helps us get rid of that which does not belong. Choosing gives moment and teaches us how to walk in faith towards the places God is calling us to do.
As we choose to clear out the clutter in our homes, may we choose to clear the clutter in our minds and hearts so we can cultivate a life well-lived. Choose to decide what helps you live well by putting away sin, renewing the mind, and choosing God above all else.
CULTIVATE: What decision(s) do you need to make today? Are they practical or spiritual? How and what will you decide today in order to cultivate a life well-lived?
Take Back Your Life – by Stephen Arteburn & David Stoop (Learn more about being a “Decider” in order to live well.)
Switch On Your Brain – by Dr. Caroline Leaf