40 Day Journey to Joy – Day 39

Marie Kondo has told us to part with any of our possessions that do not “spark joy.” Anyone who hasn’t been under a rock knows that a cluttered space robs you of your peace of mind.    Clean fresh space, clean, fresh mind.  At least that’s the assumption. 

On Day 39 of 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life, Tommy Newberry categorizes several areas of clutter in addition to the physical that can steal your joy. 

Spiritual clutter – Things that interfere with your connection to God. 

Emotional clutter – Lack of forgiveness and other recurring negative feelings such as frustration, fatigue, boredom, resentment, fear or worry that haven’t been addressed. 

Mental clutter – Misplaced priorities, important things undone, inability to focus, emphasizing image management over character management. 

Financial clutter – Debt, lack of financial planning, insufficient insurance protection, back taxes, failure to synchronize with your spouse about money matters. 

Legal clutter – Lack of a will and attention to other legal matters. 

Relational clutter – Lingering negative emotions toward someone important in your life or failure to establish good communication around difficult topics with a loved one can often be the most emotionally charged clutter of all. 

All kinds of clutter sap our productivity. Think of the energy spent shifting stuff from spot to spot trying to make room for something else, how exhausted you feel after a sleepless night wrestling with debt or going over and over in your mind the way someone mistreated you.  Instead of tackling the problems and resolving them, we just keep poking around them like we use our tongue to torture a sore tooth. Eventually, you must take the bull by the horns, go to the dentist and get the thing fixed.  All clutter is really spiritual clutter because this is what occupies the time and emotional energy that we could give to Jesus.  Honestly, he’s better than a dentist at getting to the root of the problem.  Ask him to show you what needs to go! 

Many of us are involved in home organization projects right now.  We’re stuck at home, due to shelter-in-place orders, looking at the mess.  After a while there’s nothing else to be done but to clean it up.  Often, we use tidying up to avoid dealing with other issues. Why not use some of this time to look at the other categories of clutter as well? 

Newberry suggests you first look to see what needs decluttering.  Got a pile of unforgiveness in the corner?  Does the pandemic have you stressed about your lack of a will or financial cushion?  Maybe it is just too many material possessions.  Kondo-style, pull it all out and put items in their place or get rid of them.  Though Kondo promotes a do it all at once method, Newberry states you can get a lot done in small bite-size pieces.  Fifteen or twenty minutes a day consistently devoted to clearing the landscape of your spirit, soul, and body will add up to major freedom and joy. 

For today, identify three current clutter projects.  Then, indicate the type of clutter (relational, physical, financial, etc.) and the first step you can take to tackle it once and for all. 

What is the biggest area of clutter in your life right now? 

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