How to Declutter Your Heart Not Just Your Home
When spring arrives, we get the urge to clean. We air things out, sweep corners, scrub floors, wash the windows, and toss the past date food in the fridge. Spring cleaning is a time for bringing renewal and freshness to our homes.
But if we’re being honest, our homes aren’t the only places in need of a deep clean and declutter. Over time, additional responsibilities at work, commitments at church, and unfinished projects at home can pile up, weighing down and cluttering our hearts like the hall closet in desperate need of attention.
All sorts of things stop us from saying no — pride, idolatry, fear of what others will think. But whether we’ve taken on one too many good commitments or we’re refusing to shed some unhealthy commitments, the problem remains the same. The clutter in our spiritual lives stops others from seeing Jesus in us.
God wants His light to shine through us to others (2 Corinthians 4:6). But when we try to cram in God’s goodness without letting go of our sinfulness, the glory we want others to see gets lost among the bad habits and obligations we’ve piled on over time.
3 Steps For Spring Cleaning Your Spiritual Life
1. Make a list.
Make a checklist of each area of your life that feels chaotic, just like you would make a list of the rooms in your house that need a good cleaning. Everyone’s list will look different, but yours might include:
- Relationship with Jesus
- Personal Relationships
- Health & Fitness
2. Take inventory of what stays and what goes.
Take an inventory of the activities, the relationships, the commitments in each area of your spiritual house. Include spiritual activities as well as the things preventing you from glorifying God or making a connection with Him.
1 John 1:9 promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Is there sin that needs to be confessed?
What do you need to let go of? When we cling to old habits and sin, we become spiritual hoarders, afraid of letting go of our past selves because we fear that God won’t make things right in the future.
Some common sins we might need to let go include:
- Pride (Psalm 10:4)
- Anger (James 1:19-20)
- Resentment or unforgiveness (Mark 11:25-26)
- Idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14)
- Gossip (Proverbs 16:28, Psalm 64:2-4)
- Addictions (Matthew 6:24)
- Fear, anxiety, worry, or doubt (Philippians 4:6)
- Guilt or shame over our past (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- Self-righteousness and legalism (Romans 10:3, Galatians 2:21)
3. Clean and restock.
Once you’ve pulled everything out, it’s time to start cleaning and replacing the things that need to stay.
Putting everything in it’s place can be as overwhelming as sorting, but God has given us four tools to help us make wise decisions:
- Read – The Bible is God’s message to us, so it’s the perfect place to go for advice (James 1:22).
- Pray – Ask God for wisdom to recognize what’s standing in your way and the courage to let it go (Psalm 139:23, Matthew 11:28-30).
- Join a Small Group – Surround yourself with people who can hold you accountable, answer your questions, and encourage you as you follow Jesus (Hebrews 10:25).
Each of our spiritual lives will look different. Your checklist won't look like mine. And it won't be completed all at once. The key to staying on task is to keep in communication with Jesus.
In John 15:1-5, Jesus compares Himself to a vine and God to the gardener: “[God] cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me..."
If we’ll listen to Jesus and do what He says, He’ll tell us it’s time to prune and staying on top of the clutter will get easier over time.
Written by Veronica Sexton