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"Decluttering Lent" by Christina Nagy (CatholicMom.com) Pixabay (2017), CC0 Public Domain[/caption] A friend of mine has recently started a business to help others declutter and organize their homes and their lives. It's a perfect niche for her; she has proven a master in her advice, offering life-changing tips that seem to stem from both the Franciscan and Minimalist viewpoints. Perhaps because she approaches this business with a sense of ministry, her genuine care of others as she offers direction is inspiring and uplifting. When one considers looking at life in this way, living these principles exceeds and affects far more than just our physical dwelling. In truth, decluttering the physical world around us declutters our mind as well ... and a decluttered mind is an amazing thing. So many of us long for focus and crave clarity. Not only would this help us in functioning on a day-to-day basis, but our spiritual lives would change exponentially. There are so many products available on the market that promise to assist in promoting that clarity and focus. Many, especially in the natural form the way God intended, are successful in delivering on that promise. Still, if we were willing to "get down to brass tacks," we would be remiss if we didn't admit that no matter how many remedies we take and how much we have naturalized our diets, our focus and clarity will continue to be off until we have decluttered our lives to the point that our spiritual life is healthy. (In case any eyebrows went up during that last statement, please understand that I fully support and urge everyone to work towards a diet that is healthy and full of the goodness that God created, as well as to fully acknowledge the use of the natural remedies He has given us, including herbs, homeopathy, essential oils, etc!)  The point that I am trying to make is that our physical and spiritual lives are linked more closely than we sometimes want to admit. By working on decluttering our lives, rooting out the things that we don't necessarily need, and focusing on the things that we do, we find that our real priorities come to light, often in a surprising way. Understanding the way that our brains prioritize in reality offers much insight and can greatly assist us in making changes that can improve our clarity and focus, allowing us to develop a spiritual life that can take us to levels of depth that we could have never predicted. And what better time to approach this idea of decluttering than during Lent? Given that we are both physical and spiritual beings, the link between the two cannot be denied. It can be tempting to choose Lenten sacrifices that benefit one of the two, forgetting that the link, in essence, still causes an effect to made on the other. What if we were to choose a sacrifice that clearly affects both, providing a noticeable response to both our physical and spiritual selves? Perhaps incredibly, decluttering our physical lives can be one of those sacrifices that attains this recognizably. And incorporating this into our current Lenten practices would be a lot easier than we might expect. For example, one might choose to organize one drawer or shelf in the home per day. Another might assign one room each week to work on, giving 6 days to organize according to the time available. Still another might take note of things in the home that are not needed, choosing to remove 2-3 items per day to give to a local charity or dispose of appropriately. During each of these practices, one might offer of prayers of reparation, thanksgiving, or just intimate discussion with God. Offering these particular sacrifices would produce an obvious affect, both in the physical and in the spiritual worlds in which we live our lives every day. What a gift that would be, and what a clear return we would discover on such a worthy investment! As you continue on in your own Lenten journey, consider the physical world around you. Would decluttering benefit you? Talk it over with God, allowing Him to show you what He might be asking you to prioritize. Although the obvious goal would be to attain a progression in our physical and spiritual lives, perhaps the most important lesson we will learn will be the simplest: all that we really need is Him.
Copyright 2018 Christina Nagy