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Focus: Getting the clutter out of the closet
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV) Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Sometimes the only way I can get something done is if I ‘spiritualize’ it. What I really need to do is clean our closet. It’s not an ordinary closet. It’s 7 x 14 or 98 square feet. The door is on one of the 7’ walls, and it has clothes bars the length of both sides and at the other end. It also contains two chests of drawers and two four drawer ‘closet organizer’ type units. There are shelves that run along the top of the clothes bars all the way around the closet. We have a ‘shoe organizer’ unit that hangs from part of the clothes bar that holds 40 or so pairs of shoes. Under the hanging clothes on ‘my side’ I have stuffed a lot of handbags and other miscellaneous items—not all clothing. We also have quite a few other things stacked on the shelves of a miscellaneous nature.
It isn’t that I want to clean my closet. It isn’t the messiest closet I’ve ever seen, but that’s not the point. I could hire somebody to come in and do it, but it’s really my responsibility. I have been accumulating stuff for a long time and it’s been at least a couple of years since I took the last 17 trash bags of stuff to Goodwill.
Cleaning the closet is where I’ve decided to start this stage of ‘downsizing’. I will begin by purging the closet again. Cleaning a closet isn’t a once in a lifetime effort—at least it shouldn’t be. I try to keep it somewhat ‘straightened up’. There’s nothing on the floor down the middle, so we can easily walk around and get to everything. It’s just that the clothes bars are jammed full and it’s not that easy to get things in and out anymore. Also, the last time I cleaned it, I only dealt with the clothes and not the ‘miscellaneous’ items. So, there’s stuff that’s been in there for nine years or more.
This time, I’m going to get serious. I’m going to spend the coming week praying for the wisdom, energy, inspiration, and motivation to do it well, and then the following week, I’m going to get busy.
Some home organizers recommend taking every single thing out of the closet and then putting back just what you want. I am thinking about another concept. At this point, I plan to take out what I want to keep and put it on the bed, or in the bedroom. After I have everything I want to hold onto taken ‘out’—I will go back into the closet to box and bag up whatever is still in there and take it away. Then I will thoroughly clean the closet and replace the things I’ve decided to keep…hoping it is a fraction of what is in there now.
As we picture our body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, we can think of our closet as part of the inner most being. There is a verse about a closet in the Bible. Matthew 6:6 (KJV) says, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
I like to have a closet that is big enough so I can lie face down on the floor for prayer. I may not always have that size of a closet, but as long as I’m able to, I will. I like the idea of praying in the secret place. Some of the time, it’s my car, but other times, it’s my closet.
But, think of going into the messiest area of your house to pray. What kind of a spiritual correlation can we get from that? How ‘God honoring’ can that be? The idea of going into the place where I have excessive ‘stuff’ crammed in every nook and cranny is not much of a picture of simplicity, solitude, and order. I can turn out the lights and not see any of it—but it’s still there as a potential mental distraction.
The condition of my ‘innermost’ room should be an example of my heart for God. If I think of the importance of cleaning my closet in those terms, I will undoubtedly do a better job. As I sort the things I want to keep, I will purposely not keep some things that are special—to give to others who could use some help right now. As I’m tempted to keep more than I should, I will let go of more than usual—just to make sure that I am not living for ‘my stuff’. As I clean, I will pray. I will ask God to clean me in the innermost parts of my being so I will be a pleasant place for the Holy Spirit to dwell.
After I finish the closet—I should have the heart to do the rest of the house in the same way, one room at a time. What I’ve had trouble facing in the physical sense, I will pray for the spiritual strength to accomplish. By spending plenty of time in prayer first—I will get the wisdom, energy, inspiration, and motivation I need to get the job done.
Declaration: I will find new strength by examining the innermost part of ‘my temple’. I will commit to making it a pleasant place of meeting for the Holy Spirit’s pleasure.
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