Stuff: When We Need White Space

snowy layered morning

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I can’t believe we’re two weeks into 2017! In the interest of starting things new, I’m sharing a three-part series about something that impacted me in a powerful way last year.

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I never knew a simple decision would lead to so much heart change.

A challenge to create more white space in my life, my home . . .

An author friend issued a challenge to a create white space in my home. Though I longed to do this, the only room that came to mind was my project/clutter/things-to-sell/stuff-I don’t-know-what-to-do-with room.

And I had no idea of how to begin.

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Time: Gift Or Given?

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“Time to go.”

“So many books. So little time.”

“Time flies when you’re having fun.”

How many sayings are out there about “Time?” Time is one thing that sets definite boundaries around our lives. We receive twenty-four hours each day. No more. No less. Let’s face it: women have lots to do. I often cram as much as I can into a day.

Cynthia Heald said something that’s stayed with me: “Time is a gift, not a possession.” Simplicity views time as a gift, not a given. I tend to take time for granted. I figure I’ll have time to do ____________ (fill in the blank) later. That way I can do ______________ now. If time is a gift, should I assume I’ll have an unlimited amount of it? None of us knows how many days we’ll walk this earth.

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Simplicity: What’s On Your Plate?

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After Peter was born, I chatted with a friend who was further along the Mom-journey than me. I felt overwhelmed with all the demands that drop onto a first-time mother’s shoulders. So many to-do’s, desires and should-do’s sucked the joy from me. This question came up: “What’s on your plate?” She gave me a word picture I’ve never forgotten.

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Simplicity and Passion: Do They Go Together?

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For the past couple years, instead of writing  a list of New Year’s resolutions, I’ve focused on one word. My 2012 word was PASSION. I know, we’re well into a new year, but this word won’t let me go.

As I’ve considered simplicity over the past couple weeks, I see how walking out a life of simplicity opens up room for passion in my days and in my heart. When clutter is cleared from my heart and thoughts, I have the clarity to focus on the most important things. My heart and mind are free to think on things I’m passionate about.

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Simplicity: Heart Stuff

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Have you seen the Capital One commercials that close with the line, “What’s in your wallet?” My thought-response is, “I’m not telling you!”

As I considered simplicity and stuff on Tuesday, I was struck by the question, “What’s in my heart?” Just as I have material stuff needing some attention, I also have heart stuff that needs to be purged before I can genuinely walk a life of simplicity. Growing in simplicity really begins on the inside. When I’m walking closely with Jesus, I’m better able to hear His guidance through my days. Having an uncluttered heart helps in all this.

Sometimes, it’s easier to deal with the outer stuff than the internal issues. It’s a lot less painful. My heart-stuff isn’t all pretty and/or useful. Sure, there’s good stuff in my heart–the Holy Spirit, deep love for family and friends, a desire to show kindness to those who people my world, to help those in need, and to live this life well all reside in there.

But, there’s also ugly stuff in my heart. Two areas I’ve struggled with are letting go of hurts and insecurity. When I cling to unforgiveness, I only end up hurting myself. It hinders me from hearing God’s words in my heart, it hardens me, and it plants the seeds of bitterness. When bitterness takes root in my heart, oh, that’s when it gets really ugly. The longer I hold onto it, the deeper its roots plunge.

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Picture a weed with deep roots yanked from the ground. These seldom come up with a gentle tug. Forceful pulling unearths it. Large clumps of dirt hang from it. It’s good the weed is out, but it costs muscle strain and energy to remove it. The same is true in removing bitterness from a heart. It hurts. A lot. The weed is out, but the pain of the uprooting burns for a time.

Insecurity’s clutter takes up space in my heart. God’s done a lot of healing, but scraps of it still hide out in my heart. I’m learning to identify thoughts that reveal insecurity and bring them to Jesus. I ask Him to show me His truth. When I see my insecurities in the light of His truth, it’s easier to release them into His caring hands. Jesus deals with them and lightens my heart in the process.

When my heart is clear of this stuff, I can live a life of simplicity. Nothing hinders me from hearing God’s words and experiencing His delight in me. Those barriers are gone, which makes it easier for me to hear and believe His truths. This enables me to walk in simplicity.

Your turn: What’s in your heart? What are your thoughts about simplicity and heart issues?

Simplicity and Stuff

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Last Thursday, I shared some musings on Simplicity. The biggest eye-opener for me has been seeing how much busy-ness prevents a spirit, a lifestyle of simplicity from being woven into the fabric of who I am.

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Simplicity and Busy-ness: Letting Busy Happen

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Last weekend, I attended a seminar on simplicity, taught by Cynthia Heald. As a mother with elementary aged children, I have days when I yearn for a simpler life. I’m convinced this season of child-raising is just B-U-S-Y. Much of what Cynthia shared challenged me to refine and rethink my understanding of simplicity. For better or for worse, I’ll be sharing some thoughts, today and in future posts.

I try to keep margin in our family’s schedule. I don’t want to be a stressed-out mom toting kids to activities every night, a yell only one smart-alecky remark away. I’ve accepted without question the idea that busy-ness is a part of life.

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