Tag Archives: clutter

Clean the Clutter from My Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, June 12, 2015


Clean the Clutter from My Soul

Oh, boy did I need this chapter! Not just for today, but for a lot longer than just today. “Spiritual nourishment,” which is what I understand Sydney Banks to describe as “soul thinking,” seems to me to stem from “compassion, love and wisdom.” [1]

I resonate so deeply with today’s chapter from Handbook for the Soul. Yes, for sure I can get all caught up in negative thinking. I can easily get stuck on that hopeless, helpless hamster wheel in my head, where all I doing (thinking!) is coming up with negative expectations. Going down into that deep pit of useless self-pity. Or even worse.

I love the example Banks gave, where he mentions an imaginary person he names Martin. [2] Just a crooked mental detour on the way home can cause Martin to go down a dark, miserable path, ensuring he has a dark, miserable night.

How much better to think positive thoughts, which will lead a person down nourishing, even uplifting paths. “This moment—now—truly is the only moment you have. It is beautiful and special. Life is simply a series of such moments to be experiences one right after another.” [3]

This kind of mindset, learning to live in the NOW, is what I need to strive for. This living for TODAY (not yesterday, and certainly not tomorrow!) is what One Day at a Time living is all about. This is the way of life I try to live. Just for today. I find this One Day at a Time life to be quite sensible, not to mention described by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus urges His followers to concern themselves with one day at a time—today. Each day has concerns of its own, as He says at the end of Matthew 6. I take the words of Jesus to heart. And, I find echoes of His encouragement all over the place, like right here.

The present moment is the most important moment for me, helping me to stay connected to the NOW. Plus, living in the present moment helps me to be encouraged, urges my heart to stay positive, and nourishes my soul. All wonderful things! God willing, I may continue on this path.

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 74.

[2] Ibid, 75-76.

[3] Ibid, 76.

Regarding De-cluttering

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, January 15, 2014

thank You Lord

Regarding De-cluttering

In my prayer time for the past number of weeks, I’ve been occasionally praying through an excellent little book. (with a time-out for Advent, when I used an Advent devotional.) It’s what a book on prayer ought to be: helpful, thought-provoking, insightful. And the author even has a gentle sense of humor. As I read through chapter 25 yesterday morning, I came to a full stop. Not even a yield sign, but a full-fledged red octagonal sign with the word “STOP” emblazoned on it.

The chapter was called “Renunciation.” The author suggested his readers subtract certain things from their lives. This was it. Stop. This statement touched me deeply. I had to think about it for several long minutes. When I finally began reading again, he gave several examples of possible things or practices or habits that readers could renounce. Good suggestions.

My life is somewhat cluttered. This has never particularly bothered me, as it would certain of my extended relatives. (Three of my aunts, now deceased, kept immaculate homes. But not my mother. And not I.) But as I age, I am becoming more inclined to streamline my life. De-clutter.

I have a number of the classic fruits of the Spirit the Apostle Paul speaks of in Galatians 5. Except for self-control. I keep falling down, tripping up on self-control. I’ve been going to my spiritual director for almost ten years now. She and I have had discussions about this area of my spiritual (and physical) life. Over this time period, I have attempted to exercise self-control in one, two, or more areas for some months at a time. I do well for a short while, maybe even a month or two longer. Eventually, I can’t do it any more. I can’t continue juggling. (Although, I am succeeding in several areas right now. May I be able to continue, God! Please! Please??)

One of my daughters and I cleaned our apartment over the holidays. And for the most part, it has stayed clean. Hasn’t gotten re-cluttered. It’s much the same with my spiritual life. Over the fall, I have been more intentional about regular prayer and meditation. I also started an intercessory prayer ministry at my church, where I’m coordinator and facilitator. I have consistently prayed six days out of seven, most weeks in the past months, and a few weeks I prayed every day. Yay, me! This track record is fabulous!

It isn’t that I shy away from prayer, or fear getting close to God. No. That isn’t it. My life is just too cluttered. Full of stuff. Some of it is needful. Work is necessary, for example. Very true! But other than that, my life could lighten up. (So could I, physically. Lose at least fifteen or twenty pounds.) I was convicted, big time. I need to de-clutter.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for the kind, admonishing words of Rev. Howell. I need to subtract things from my life. I need to find room—make room for You. Forgive me for having such a full life that sometimes it seems as if there is no place for You. Dear God, thanks for giving me the impetus to de-clutter. I pray You can help us choose those things that aren’t necessary, or need to go. Thanks for the help! In Your name we pray, amen.