Distracted by Clutter

I am writing today's posts much later than usual, but I assure you I have a good reason.  The truth is that I couldn't work another minute in my office before cleaning up the clutter. Over the past few weeks, my office has begun to resemble a junk yard.  Stuff has accumulated to the point that I could barely make my way to my desk, and I was having to rearrange stuff before I could reach my bookshelves.  With the changing of seasons, an assortment of clothes littered my hope chest.  Boxes of books from recent book signings and vendor events were stacked under the window.  But the worst of it was the collection of things that needed to go up into the attic. 

The drop-down door to the attic is in my office, which is no big deal.  It doesn't get in my way or distract me from my work.  However, I find it a pain to pull the door down and climb up into the attic for one thing.  So, what I normally do is wait until I have a few things and then make the trip up the ladder.  Unfortunately, the piles of things for the attic has grown, and I've been too busy with other projects to mess with them.  But this morning, as I stepped into my office, I made a decision.  "No more!  I am tired of this clutter.  I can't move.  I can't think.  I am distracted by the mess.  I will not put up with it a moment longer."  Then I pushed up my sleeves and spent the next couple of hours trying to unbury my office.

It was a lot of work, but I must admit it was definitely worth it.  As I sit at my desk now, I am at peace.  There is no clutter in sight.  I can move.  I can concentrate.  I can enjoy the tasks ahead of me because my mind isn't focused on the mess around me.  No more mess.  No more distraction.  Can you hear my sigh of relief?

Sometimes our lives can become as cluttered as my office.  With so much going on, the lists of demands and obligations can pile up just like the boxes and clothing in my work place.  Instead of putting things in their proper places, we allow people, things and situations to clutter our minds.  And because of that, when we strive to do the work God has called us to do, we find that we cannot move.  We cannot think.  We're distracted by the mess around us.

Sometimes, the problem is the same as that with my office--we simply have too much stuff.  In reference to our lives, I'm not necessarily talking about possessions, although they can cause quite a lot of clutter as well, but I'm referring to tasks and responsibilities.  We stretch ourselves too thin.  We think we need to be the perfect spouse, the perfect parent, the perfect employee, the perfect church member and the perfect friend.  We join clubs, attend meetings and work overtime.  We're always on the go and have no time for the things in life that should bring us joy.  Unfortunately, those are the things that have been buried under the mess.  They're still there, but we can no longer see them through the clutter.

One of the main reasons I waited so long to de-clutter my office was because I was too busy doing a lot of other things. They were good things, but were they things that I really should have been doing?  Were they more important than straightening up my office so that I could be more productive in the work that the Lord has called me to do?  It's difficult to say "no" to a friend's plea for help or your church's need of your assistance, but sometimes it is God's will for us to say, "no."  He has something for each of us to do, and we won't be able to do that work if we're too distracted by all the clutter around us.

Once we do clean up the mess, though, the results are amazing.  The peace of knowing that we're doing the exact thing we're supposed to do is overwhelming.  The ability to do that work without being hindered or distracted is exhilarating.  We can enjoy the tasks ahead of us because we aren't focused on the mess around us.

Come on, gang.  Let's roll up those sleeves and get busy.  We've got some de-cluttering to do!

And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. - I Corinthians 7:35