Three years ago, I reluctantly left my spot by our boys’ bedsides (in the NICU they called home) and made my way over to the school where I’d taught for the previous 8 years (my second home). But on that afternoon, there was no lesson planning or tidying up for the days to come. Instead, my husband and I began the process of methodically removing every piece of the classroom I’d worked so hard to create. I would not be returning to teach the following school year, and the time had come to prepare my classroom for the next person who might fill it with love and learning.
It’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in 8 years. Slowly but surely, my former classroom was relocated into our basement storage space. At the time, it felt like a piece of my heart was thrown right into that pile, alongside all of the other items now shoved into a corner.
Courtnee’s de-cluttering post this week reminded me of the lesson God has been working through my heart since then. To me, that pile is a tangible reminder of the many ways our lives have been turned upside down – and with that, too often, comes the heartache of missing a “shelved” passion, fear, and doubt.
More recently, though, I’m learning that the treasure is not so much in the physical stuff as it is the heart stuff. By holding on to my first classroom, in all of its entirety, am I really giving my heart over to God and trusting His control for my future?
Perhaps, what God is now placing on my heart – through a lot of prayer and patience – is confidence in knowing that having too much (of anything) clutters our path. What if, by letting go of some of the stuff, I’m not only freeing up physical space, but mental and emotional space as well?
I do believe I’ll teach again. In fact, I just renewed my teaching license. It may not look exactly the same as it did before, but neither does my heart.
He’s leading me with purpose, if only I can remember to clear the clutter.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
2 thoughts on “Savor It Saturday – Decluttering”
Jen, what an amazing example of an area of our homes and hearts we may need to declutter. And as I am in phase II of my decluttering, I am running into the harder decisions that like you represent “my life’s work” of being a mentor to college students. I read this post today from Becoming Minimalist blog entitled “Not Tied to the Past” http://www.becomingminimalist.com/benefit-not-tied-to-the-past/.
I keep walking past the stack of binders in my basement that my husband pulled out of storage for me to make a decision about. And I know I have a lot of sentimental memories stuff lurking in storage also.
This blog post really challenged me because I am someone who is drawn toward looking at the past. But Joshua Becker argues that if we are surrounded by stuff from the past our minds will be forced to think about the past rather than the present and the future. Interesting. He also points out that we want to be people who come up with solutions that will work for the future.
Very interesting to ponder because just this morning I was walking thinking about the past 4 years, thanking God for ALL that He has done in my life during this season and wondering what the next 4 years will be like–you know, how sometimes you don’t recognize yourself because God has brought about so much change in you.
So, reading that blog post shortly after having those thoughts about what God has done in my life made me think that perhaps I can get rid of a lot of items that remind me of the past. I could keep a few of the “best” reminders that could serve as “ebenezer stones” or “memorial stones” like the Israelites did when they crossed the Jordan River. They made a pile of stones that reminded them “this far I have come”. I don’t need to keep ALL my handwritten journals to remind me of where God has brought me. Perhaps in a quick dash through a few of them, God could lead me to some pages that would be my ebenezer stones. And if he doesn’t show me any special journal entries, take a photo of the huge stack and send them to be recycled. I am “verbally processing” my plan here. :o) I am excited to live with less clutter and hope that others can find their own journey toward their priorities also!
Thanks, Courtnee! I apologize I just now found your comment. I’ve gotten my PW working for WordPress now and am checking it all out. Thanks so much for the article you sent, too. I will have to read Joshua Becker’s book. I love the idea and reminder in his post that if we continue to surround ourselves with things from the past, then our solutions to today’s problems (and our minds) become stuck in the past as well. Moreover, those items may no longer be relevant. Definitely great food for thought as I continue into Phase II myself. Thanks again!
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