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Is your mind like a super-center, cluttered, with no real aim or focus and too many offerings for any given time?
Sometimes it is a pleasure for me to shop in a place with only one or two different offerings of any particular product. By going to these stores, your decisions have been made simple. It is going to be either this one or that one you will buy. If you want to shop here, that’s it. That is all the options you get.
It is quite the opposite experience shopping at a huge chain store or places that offer a little bit of everything under the sun. And not only do they offer a little bit of everything, but they offer you a little bit of everything of everything to choose from.
Shopping here, I am bombarded with over twenty different offerings for one single product. Do I get this one because it’s cheaper? Or this one because the ingredients are more natural? Do I get this one because it is a reliable brand that has been around since way before I was born? Or this one because it has an international flair to it? Do you see where I’m going with this?
I often wonder what it would be like to shop in those areas where you visit the farmers market for produce, the bakery for bread and possibly a little dessert on the side, the butcher for the perfect cut of meat, and so on. They each have a specialty, a focus, something they have worked at, perfected, became knowledgeable about, and are now considered a professional.
Many of us have too much going on upstairs, and it is overwhelming. There is no aim. No focus. No defined purpose with a whole lot of clutter.
A cluttered mind is a frazzled mind. It is someone who is stressed out. Someone who feels overburdened by the cares of this world and the questioning that comes with it, alongside all the particulars of life. It can cause one who is trying to move forward to stagger with indecision in the choices they make. Kind of like standing in front of twenty different brands of the same product, huh?
Taking all of that into consideration, how does this affect your relationship with God and your Christian growth? Have you become so burdened down and overwhelmed that spiritually you feel stuck? Are you so cluttered that you cannot see your way out?
When you find yourself in this position, what can you do about it?
1. Realize there is a problem. You know when you are being choked by the things around you. You know within yourself when things have become too much for you and you need help. A toothache can’t be healed unless you acknowledge it hurts in the first place.
Whatever is choking you, it is stopping you from bringing forth your best fruit. Jesus told the parable of the sower and demonstrated the different types of grounds the seed falls on (read Luke 8:5-15). In verse 14, He stated, “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.”
All of us want to bear good fruit in our lives. All of us want to see it grow to the point that it is not only helping us but others around to us. That can’t happen by overlooking what is clearly causing a problem.
2. Acknowledge it’s getting in the way. Hebrews 12:1 says it like this: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
There is so much to glean from this one verse but let’s just focus on the part of laying “every weight” aside. Weights are hindrances. Hindrances are blockades to where we want to go and what we are seeking to do. You cannot run a race effectively if you become bogged down with other stuff. Acknowledge it is getting in the way.
When Jesus told His disciples about His journey to the cross and Peter opposed the very thought, Jesus saw it not as sympathy, but as a hindrance to His purpose and treated that episode as such, saying, “Get thee behind me, Satan…” (read Matthew 16:21-23).
See the hindrances for what they are – opposers of your purpose and employ a “Get thee behind me” mentality.
3. Quiet your soul for divine direction. This activity may be the hardest step for some because quieting ourselves is not in our modern, rushed vocabulary.
Hush the noise. The Divine wants to speak. “Be still, and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10). Focus on Him, and the clutter will clear.
Choose the one needful thing, a time to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word (Luke 10:38-42). We have one main priority: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” (Matthew 6:33) – and everything we say and do in life fades under the umbrella of this. “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek,” (Psalm 27:8).
4. Refocus. Your mind has probably been cluttered because your focus is off. If you have ever held a camera to your eye, you quickly realize that to get a sharp image, the focus must be just right. So, you adjust the lens until the object or person you want to take center-stage in the picture comes into proper focus. Although many other objects may appear in the background, you keep adjusting until your main object stands out.
What is your objective for this day or this week? How do you give it a center stage? Or, better yet, how can refocusing help you clear away the clutter that has been hindering you thus far?
One way is, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you,” (1 Peter 5:7). The clutter we face is usually because we are holding on to too many things. Old things, bothersome things, unprofitable things, extra things that we don’t need to be carrying. They are heavy. They are baggage, and they weigh us down. As you would that over-crowded closet, basement, or attic, maybe it’s time to purge some stuff so that you can focus on what really matters. The unnecessary things you hold on to will keep you in a frazzled, cluttered state. Let it go. Release it to God and let His peace overshadow you (Philippians 4:6-7).
Another way to refocus is to realize all that you see before you today is not as important as where you are trying to go. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” (Colossians 3:2). The here and now will not always be the here and now. If our ultimate goal is to be heaven-bound, our lives and minds, and hearts should be ordered and directed in a way that reflects that. Everything around us, all that we entangle ourselves in, will all pass away (1 John 2:17a), and yet, we spend copious amounts of our mental, emotional, and spiritual energy on it. Go figure.
Additionally, the ultimate way to refocus ourselves is to keep God always in our view, always at the center, always as the main focus of your overall story. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3, 4). Saying that God is all we need is not a Christian-cliché. It’s the truth. And, when we give Him the proper place in our mind, heart, soul, and with all our strength (Matthew 22:36) everything else must fall in line and take a back seat. All that cluttered mess is not allowed to do the driving in my life, for my life is being driven and directed by God and His purposes for me.
5. With God’s direction, move forward productively. Forward is the way to go. A cluttered mind tends to keep dwelling on the past, prohibiting progression but, in Christ, we must take the same stand the Apostle Paul did when he declared, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14).
Our direction is forward. Continually looking back stunts our spiritual growth (compare Luke 9:62). And, as we are moving forward, we don’t do so on our own. We need wisdom. We need divine direction (which is why it is so imperative for us to quiet ourselves before the Lord). The Bible instructs us, “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil,” (Proverbs 3:7). We are not omniscient (all-knowing); therefore, we need direction from He who is.
Pray for God’s leading and guidance for your life. Invite Him in the everyday decisions and choices. One thing is for sure, with all that He deals with, God is never overwhelmed or cluttered in His thinking. He is perfect and does all things perfectly. God has precision thinking with determined purposes that we may never fully understand. But one thing we can understand is through it all, He is here for us. And He never designed us to be these over-frazzled creatures, constantly over-whelmed and stressed out by our everyday affairs.
My prayer is that something in this article resonates with you or is helpful to you in getting rid of a super-center, cluttered mindset. Many blessings to you as you begin your journey of decluttering what’s within.
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