It was time. An upcoming visit to our home by a group of nine Brazilian guests provided the motivation (and deadline!) to tackle a job I’d been postponing for ages.

I decided to go through our entire house, getting rid of STUFF that had been accumulating over the past ten years since we moved into our present home. The timing seemed right, since all of our children are “out of the nest” with places of their own. I knew I’d have to be ruthless!

John and I set up 8-foot tables and loaded them with dishes, games, linens, books, CD’s, clothing, and much more. Then we invited our four children and spouses over to claim anything they wanted from the piles. What was left went in various directions… charity, used bookstores, trash, etc.

When the sorting and disposing were all finished I felt positively “light!” It wasn’t that these items were bad things… just superfluous! How wonderful to truly have a place for everything and everything in its place… I was surprised at how fresh and newly-energized I’d become!

The guests came and we had a marvelous time! I believe the extra preparation helped me enjoy their visit even more, because I didn’t feel weighed down by tasks undone. And it was a relief to know that they could open any drawer or cupboard and I wouldn’t need to feel embarrassed by an overflowing hodgepodge of odds and ends.

Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)

What a lesson for my Christian life! How beneficial to regularly do a spiritual housecleaning! Often I’ve discovered that my spirit has become cluttered… not with terrible things… on the contrary, many things that fill my time and attention are normal, acceptable, even fine pursuits. They’re just not necessary. And they weigh me down. They create an almost imperceptible, floating angst that sits on my shoulders and makes my walk with Christ seem burdensome rather than freeing.

“Lord, help me be ruthless with the rubbish that threatens to steal from me the delight of Your presence! I want to enjoy You with a heart that is unencumbered by the cares and distractions of this world! I want You to be able to explore the nooks and crannies of my spirit and find them clean and orderly. I want to freely revel in our times together.”

Someone asked me last week if I would like to have a certain item they were planning to discard. “No!” I almost shouted at her. “I just got rid of all my extra junk; I don’t want to start filling up my house again.” Mmmm, perhaps this pursuit of an uncluttered house and an uncluttered life is an ongoing battle. Perhaps the ruthlessness must be continued. Perhaps I’d better get another 8-foot table!