• Rachel Spack

Tidying Up A Messy Heart

Can I be honest here for a minute without anyone pressing judgment??

For the past year I’ve had a growing pile of hanger-less, unfolded, wrinkled up clothes in my closet that I have refused to touch. At this point, it’s now a lot more like a mountain of mess and being honest I have no clue what’s even in there or what half of the things are that I own.

A far as tackling the pile – I’ve just been plain lazy. Now, I still try to justify letting this mess build up by telling myself I’ve just been waiting. You know, I’ll be moving out soon after I get married and why clean it now because it will just get messy again, right? So instead, I’ve just let this mound of clothes pile up and overwhelm me and in response I just close the door to my closet and pretend its not there.

Well, today I’m telling you my dirty little (or should we say big?) secret because I think it’s time I own up to that mountain of mess and try to clean it up, one shirt at a time.

As we go into the month of March, it is notorious among housewifes, moms, and wanna be wife material 20 something year olds for cleaning. And being the wanna be wife material I am, this month, just like a lot of other people out there, I’ll be binge watching Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up and attempting to tackle all the mess in my spaces.

While thinking over this massive mess I’ve let cluster and grow in my closet, it got me to thinking about the other parts of my life I’ve let get a little bit cluttered too. See, every time I have to clean or even think about cleaning that pile in my closet I dread it, I avoid it, and I pretend it’s not there – but guess what, it’s still there.

And being honest, I think a lot of our hearts (or at least my heart) sometimes starts to look a lot like my closet – A big overwhelming mess. The thing with messes is, the more you avoid them and the longer you wait to clean them – the worse they get, and girls, the messes in our hearts and lives are no different!

So since I’m in full on cleaning mode this month, I thought it would be helpful to share some steps we can all take to clean up the clutter in our hearts + lives that might be a little easier to overlook than that closet.

1. Recognize the Mess

So, like I mentioned above, this whole closet situation I’ve had going on, well I just keep trying to hide it and the funny thing is, when you try to hide something from yourself – it doesn’t really work. Actually, I would argue that closing the closet door on my mess and pretending it’s not there has been more of a stressor to me than just embracing it and dealing with it.

And coincidentally our lives and our hearts are the same way.

Have you ever, or maybe do you right now, have some sort of mess going on? Or maybe not even a mess, maybe just a lot of chaos and clutter that’s stressing you out? I’ve had a lot of heart clutter going on lately and while I’m sharing all the not so flattering things about myself, I’ll be honest in saying I’ve been trying to shut the closet door on that mess in my heart just like I have my closet – and guess what, IT’S NOT WORKING!

And I’m going to almost guarantee that if you’re trying to run or hide from the clutter and mess in your life that it’s not working so good for you either? I’m going to guess you’re a lot stressed and overwhelmed and just in general flustered, and I know this cause I’m right here with you.

So the first step in dealing with the mess is recognizing it – if you’re angry, if you’ve messed up, if you’re still hurting, if you’re confused, if you feel like you’re not in the right place – anything you’ve been hiding away and suppressing – now is the time to face it.

Is it going to be pretty? Is it going to feel good? No.

Are you maybe going to feel a little ashamed? Or maybe feel a whole bunch of feelings you didn’t know you had? Possibly.

But now is the time, today is the day, to just own up to that mess and say along with me “this is my mess I’ve created and I’m going to take the steps to clean it up”.

Now repeat this verse after me (if you’re a real overachiever maybe even try to memorize it) and lets make this the motto of our clean sweep “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10”

2. Research + Find a Method to Handle the Madness

Have you ever heard of Marie Kondo? I’d be surprised if you said no. She’s only taking the internet and Netflix by storm with her innovate new method to organizing your entire home and everything in it and to say she’s become the go to organizing guru, would be an understatement. As a result, I figured before I take on that mess of mine, I better know what I’m doing. So, partly out of procrastinating cleaning and partly out of research, I binged the entire Marie Kondo series on Netflix just to be sure I had all the steps down right when I started cleaning.

Unfortunately, as much as I love Marie and her method, when it comes to our hearts – I don’t think her square folding pattern and box organizers are the best way to clean up that mess.

See, just like I researched and tried to figure out some step by step instructions to get organized, it’s important we do the same when we’re working to get the chaos of our lives organized. So where do we go for the expertise of our life, heart, and figuring it all out? The Bible! The book that God gave to us full of all his little wisdom dollops + commands + instructions about anything and everything we would need answered in life.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

So before we start trying to tackle that mess that we’ve now come to terms with, lets take a minute and figure out what God has to say about the mess itself, cleaning it up, and moving on.

3. Just Start

Now, I’m not a procrastinator by any means. Ask anyone that knows me, I have things planned and prepared MONTHS in advanced and as soon as possible. Yet, somehow when it comes to things that I really don’t want to do (you know, like cleaning out that closet) I’m a pretty good avoider. Are any of you like this too??

Well, here’s maybe the most important step to cleaning out the clutter of your life + heart – just start.

Stop avoiding, stop swerving around the issues, stop stuffing them in the closet and slamming the door shut behind to pretend they aren’t there, no more excuses.

Just be real with yourself and start working to clear out that clutter – today.

4. Be Willing to Let Go

Here’s the thing with Marie Kondo’s cleaning method, whenever you clean out any part of your house the first step is to just throw it all in one big pile – all of it (guess I’m already ahead of the game on this one with my closet). After you throw it in a big pile, you’re supposed to hold up each item and see if it sparks joy and if an item sparks joy, you keep it, but if it doesn’t you thank it and throw it out. The thing is with this method, it won’t work unless you’re willing to let go. Unless you’re willing to recognize what things bring you joy and what things don’t.

Just like Marie’s method for cleaning out your house, when you’re decluttering your heart – you’re going to have to be willing to let go.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9

It’s not always easy to say goodbye to the hurt, the anger, the regret, or whatever else but it’s necessary if you want to clean your heart out and start with a fresh slate.

5. Breathe Again + Don’t Let That Mess Come Back!

Last step – breathe. I know every time after I clean my house and things are fresh and clean and organized I feel calm, I feel like I can just breathe again and It’s no different with our hearts. After we’ve done a thorough clean up of them – wiping down walls, putting things back into place, and throwing out things that weren’t bringing us joy – we just feel lighter and brighter.

That being said, the best time to start all over again is right after you catch that breathe. Now’s the time where you can be preventative in keeping the mess from piling up by making a habit of going through the steps over and over again to stay on top of the clutter and chaos.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

If you’ve made it this far, you can certainly do it all again!

So there it is, 5 simple steps for clearing out the clutter in our hearts.

I don’t know about you all, but I have a LOT of work to do.

So good luck girls and remember God’s right there beside you throughout the entire clean up of whatever mess you’ve got going on :)

- Rachel

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