I came past this title of a blog post in my saved drafts when I logged on to Blogger today. I don't recall what the topic I had in mind was at the time I saved the title, but this one, more than the others seemed most eager to be reflected upon this evening.
Clutter. Things. Ideas. Emotions. Clutter is what distracts from the bigger picture, worming its way to be the focus, when it only every consists of too many accent pieces.
There's a famous piece of advice from Coco Chanel about the accessorizing. "Remove the last piece". In other words, we should keep it simple. A little glitter, a little glam, but we should avoid going overboard. I think that advice is useful in life too. So often when I find myself feeling overwhelmed, it's because I've let the clutter take over. Instead of accenting my life and giving me joy, the little things have become the focus. Things instead of people, activities instead of experiences. Chores and tasks instead of vocation. It's not that any of those things are in and of themselves bad- but when they distract form my purpose and mission, they have ceased to fulfill the purpose for which they were meant.
It's a lesson I'm trying to better live this year- both at work and at home and in my spiritual life.
Decluttering means saying no to being a perfectionist. It means being okay with those columns not being perfectly formatted on a quiz I'm writing, okay with the fact that I cannot rewrite every activity and every lesson I plan to teach this year. It means admitting to myself that it's more important to spend time with the people I love than to check every box on my to-do list. It means stepping back and allowing myself tie for prayer and reflection on my busiest days of the week- instead of just trying to fit that in to the periphery (St Francis de Sales wrote "We all need one hour of prayer a day, except when busy. Then we need two."). And, too, it can mean saying no to specific favorite devotions to just sit quietly in the presence of God.
Decluttering means saying yes to the greater and no to the lesser. It means living my life with focus and intentionality, and making sure my heart is behind the work of my mind and hands. It means learning, once again, that silence can be more powerful than many words. That resting in God is a deep breath, a calmness, a focusing of mind, heart and will.
That's been my biggest battle these last few months. Resting in God. Resting, instead of forcing. Resting instead of overworking. Seeking Him, directing my gaze to Him and returning His gaze with love. That can be really hard. But it becomes impossible when my constant words to myself are that I'm not enough. That I'm not worthy. That I'm not gaining or growing or living the relationship I'm seeking with Him. Decluttering means to take a step back and redirect my gaze to the One who only ever looks on with love. It means resting in that love.