Photo via Pixabay (2010), CCO Public Domain. Photo via Pixabay (2010), CCO Public Domain.

In the book, Walking With Purpose, our author states, “our lives are filled with clutter, we have the obvious clutter of papers, toys, shoes, bags, etc. but we also have clutter in our minds when we have too many things going on and we can’t keep it all straight. We have clutter in our hearts when we are resentful, jealous angry and unforgiving.”
Ahh, clutter. How often do we confuse the tangible things in our home to be what is wrong with our life? However, “clutter” in all lives takes shape in many different forms. What is holding you back from living the life you were meant to? What is your clutter? Is it truly the messes we find in our homes or do we use those messes as excuses to deny the messes we have within our life and possibly within our hearts? Is your clutter actually emotional? Do you carry those painful burdens from childhood that hold onto you and keep you back from the life you are intended to live?
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Clutter can also be spiritual. Is this Catholic title we wear and share weighing you down? Does Church doctrine seem difficult to understand to mesh with and to live with in the secular world today? Perhaps you pretend your clutter affects you infrequently or maybe you feel the weight of it impacting your life daily, pushing down on you so hard that making it daily in life is a struggle. Can you see the burden you carry  in each interaction you have? Is it visible on your face in each moment you live? Perhaps you are haunted in your thoughts and your mind even in your sleep. Perhaps your personal struggle is a combination of it all or perhaps you use mask your hurts deep within your heart with the tangible clutter those on the outside can see.

For those who don’t know me, I am Ellie North, mom of five, wife to Colin and obsessive compulsive cleaner. I am the master of external clutter. The clutter I just spoke of that everyone can see. People “think” I have it together and that everything is in its place and perhaps most of my “stuff” is but the important “stuff,” what truly matters is often overflowing, sticking out of the drawers of my heart and mind. It corrodes the relationships that should be the most important in my life.

For me, to step out on this limb and say it isn’t easy, but I have a belief I am not alone. I struggle most when I am not honest with myself, with who I am and who I am called to truly be. The person God continues to whisper to isn’t one that fits neatly in the paradigm of the secular world today and for me fitting in has always been a struggle, all my life. We can all be that person that wants to fit in. That disciple that turns our back to another friend sharing gossip, throwing stones and putting ourselves before others and before our Creator. We can be the one who casually forgets about the One who carefully placed each of our hairs upon our head, gently created the bones in our body and made us in the true image and likeness of his son.

I truly believe when we quiet our minds and begin to pray and take stock in who we are called to be in this world, we slowly begin to change. Lately, for me, that change has been constant and against my will. As we begin to evolve, to become that person that He intended it is easy for me to see where my faults lie. I feel jealousy, anger, the inability to forgive and sadly feelings of resentment towards many. I PRIDE myself on the external vision of who I am but internally I am a wreck. People often remark how clean my home is and I know I take PRIDE in that clean home. People often comment on how well behaved my children are (well, the oldest three at least) and once again I am filled with a sense of PRIDE because all arrows point to perfect. A perfect home. A perfect marriage. A perfect mother. A perfect life. However, I am working on slowly changing and acknowledging that my root sin of PRIDE has gotten me to this place. This vision of external happiness is truly a picture of internal sadness. Pride, tends to creep up on me wherever I go. The praise of another is something I long for and search for. I yearn for acceptance. I yearn to fit in and to be the one others want to be like. This pride helps me keep the facade, however, my heart isn’t whole.

Those of you know me know I am constantly in motion and I cannot begin to quiet that motion because I am afraid in the quiet I will begin to realize how the struggles in my own life may be bigger than me and I may need more than just myself to fix. It has always been the fear of acknowledging who I am that keeps me in constant motion. I cannot say “no”. I only say “yes” and in doing so I hurt those who matter most. As I give to those who may not matter as much as my family and close friends, those feelings of anger, jealousy and emptiness that I hold within my heart spill out on my husband, my children and my close friends. If only my clutter could be the simple toys, papers or dust bunnies people find in homes. Instead my pride is what gets in my way.  My issue isn’t on the surface but soul deep.

I often feel like I am running on a treadmill at breakneck speed trying to do everything and please everyone and in doing so I let what truly shouldn’t matter build up until that I explode. This year, explode those emotions did.

I mentioned fitting in. For me, that means means doing. It means participating, it means feeling like I belong. It seems no matter how hard I try to be who I want to be, my “fitting in” does not seem to fit within the mold of who God is calling me to be. A child of God, accepting that my life won’t fit the box of normal secular and a life that means I will have to learn to prioritize what should be most important to me and to rid myself of that root sin of pride that makes me so insecure in the person God intended me to become.

Faith. It has been said more than once for such a “faithful” person I really lack the Faith I need in life to live the life I have been chosen for, and perhaps this statement is true. Its no surprise to me that faith is the opposition of pride.This year I have slowly observed so much of who I thought I wanted to be and realized that person isn’t who I truly need to begin to try and be. Most of my heart that WANTS to be that person but there is part of me that really feels I want to be the one with plans all weekend, the one that is often included and called to be a part of a group and group activities but as I delve deeper into His plan for me, I realize it is time for me to release the pride and insecurity within my heart and accept the life that He has planned for me. This new challenge I am just beginning to accept isn’t easy for I find myself lonely at times, longing for a connection to others but it is in those moments I realize He is giving me this time to gain a connection to the most important person in my life, Him...and in doing so those who are meant to be present in my life will be, supporting and loving the messy creation that God is calling me to be.

So if you have known me for years (or my entire life), I am a work in progress. In the coming weeks, months and years, my house may be messier and I may tell you “no” and it’s not because I don’t want to help, but it is because I am working on exchanging that PRIDE filled life for one that is a life full of faith. As my husband recently told me, things won’t get us to Heaven, God will, so this year, I am working on clearing space for Him. I hope you will join me.

Copyright 2016 Ellie North. Originally published at Messy Blessy Momma.

About the author: Ellie North blogs from New Jersey at Messy Blessy Momma. Just a mom, but what is "just a mom" anymore? Living life, learning from life and loving life. Each day. Simplifying life to make sure the moments matter.