Surprised by Transformation
by Steph Beth Nickel
Be on the lookout. Transformation can come in ways you never expected.
And that’s exactly what has been happening to me this Lenten season.
While I don’t usually participate in the tradition of giving up something for Lent, this year I became aware of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter Free Bible Study and decided to jump onboard.
The challenge: get rid of 10 things per day for the 40 days of Lent.
Having wanted to declutter our home for years, I thought it was a great way to start.
I had no idea.
I knew I could get rid of most, if not all 400 items, by culling my books and magazines, which I did.
However, I have also kept going, aiming to get rid of 10 items per day not only until Easter but also beyond that, until our home is the way we want it, free of clutter.
You have to understand … I used to have a blog called “Confessions of a Horrible Housekeeper.” That wasn’t one of those cutesy titles created by someone who was actually just shy of receiving The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. No! Horrible was an accurate descriptor.
But that’s changing.
Not because it will make me a better person.
Not because others will think more highly of me.
Not to my credit.
It’s all about the Lord.
What does decluttering have to do with our spiritual life?
In the study, Kathi Lipp addresses the “whys” of clutter. Why do we surround ourselves with things we don’t need and/or love? Why do we hold onto things even when we’ve come to recognize them as clutter?
This is not a one-size-fits-all study. But when you discover yourself in the pages of Clutter Free, it’s powerful.
What are some of the advantages I’ve discovered so far?
I feel lighter emotionally, having gotten rid of so many items.
Because I’ve cleaned out my kitchen cupboards, I’ve found “forever homes” for items that have sat out for years. I’m also motivated to wash up the dishes as we dirty them, leaving our newly discovered counter free of clutter.
I’ve set a good example for my hubby and our daughter. No nagging necessary. They’ve both begun to address their own clutter and we’re enjoying the transformation together.
How do I know this was the right time to take this challenge?
For the sake of peace in our household, I decided years ago not to nag my family members about the condition of the house. Therefore, for the most part, I ignored the ever-increasing piles of stuff that surrounded us.
When I made an effort to tidy up, I became overwhelmed with the immensity of the task and would give up.
I was under the mistaken impression that something new and shiny would either make me happy or motivate me to do what I felt I should (thus, the accumulation of cookbooks and fitness equipment).
But no more.
I’ve found contentment in addressing the clutter in even a small corner of our home.
The Clutter Free Facebook group is a safe place to be open and honest. I’ve been encouraged and had the opportunity to encourage others.
I’ve let go of my defensive attitude. In the past I felt others were judging me because of the condition of our home—and I was determined to defend my choices even if they never knew about it.
Never before have I been so excited to get rid of things.
The most important changes are taking place within me, not the walls of our home.
When has transformation surprised you? (Scroll down to share your comment.)
Transformation can come in surprising ways. (click to tweet)
As I declutter, the most important changes are taking place within me, not my home. (click to tweet)
Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.
As always, my friend, many thanks for this post. I think you’re eavesdropping on my brain, because you often write just what I need to read. Or maybe that’s the Lord speaking to us both 🙂 Interesting to consider the “why” behind the clutter. I’ll be thinking about this!
I think you’d really enjoy Kathi Lipp’s book, “Clutter Free.”
Sounds like I would! One more added to the “to-read” list! Does she address mental clutter to?
Thanks so much for your honesty Steph and for hosting Janet! Yes, obedience in the small leads to obedience in the big things of life!
Thanks for visiting, Jill. I agree about the obedience. Good point!
It always amazes me that when we take the smallest step in the right direction, God does infinitely more to carry us along the journey.
I haven’t read Kathi’s book, but I think I will. Your post reminded me of a time when my daughter, who has autism and was non-verbal, was two years old and had been in the hospital for five days. As soon as we got home, she began running around and gathering items that were important to her and setting them on the living room floor. I just watched to see what she would do. She formed a perfect circle with her things, sat down in the center, and kept turning so she could see them all. I was amazed! I believe she found security in being able to see them.
I love this image, Marlene. That’s a sweet reunion.
Thank you, Janet. On our journey with autism, we’ve had many heartbreaking times, but God has blessed us with many more uplifting and eye-opening times like this one. Thank God!
Order is so important. This is a perfect example. Thanks for sharing, Marlene.
I love that you didn’t nag your family and at the right time, God used you to show them how to deal with the clutter. I believe God showed me why my daughter had to be able to see all her things. For years, she would take everything out of her dresser and put the on the floor. I’ve purposefully gone very slowly with helping her in this area. I must admit I’ve wrestled with guilt and even shame over it, but your post has cleared that up for me. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this!