A Clean Slate

How to Make Room in Your Heart and Mind in the New Year
December 3, 2019

Around this time last year, the show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” launched. Marie Kondo, known for her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up focuses on decluttering a few key areas (clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous and sentimental items) rather than tackling your house room-by-room, which she has found to be more effective long-term.The main goal isn’t necessarily to rid yourself of all your things, but rather to keep only what sparks joy.

The show became an instant success and sparked interest in tidying up around the country resulting in, among other things, a 20 percent increase in Goodwill donations during the show’s peak.

As someone who has jumped headlong into this life-changing process, I know how beneficial it can be. However, what if we set aside the focus on material things and altered the concepts to govern our spiritual lives instead? What would that kind of tidying up look like?

Tidying Our Thoughts

With the beginning of a new year, new thoughts should also be one of our top priorities. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

Make the choice to feed your mind the kinds of things that benefit it, such as healthy food, exercise, fresh air and time in God’s Word, and marvel as your thoughts begin to tidy themselves.

Healing Our Hearts

A new year is also a great time to start healing what is on your heart. 1 Peter 5:7 says to, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” Whether it was an unkind word, never-ending deadlines at work, family strife or health issues, God stands ready to shoulder our burdens for us. With the amount of external stressors on us increasing all the time, it’s important to remember that God can bring peace beyond understanding to whatever negativity dominates our hearts.

Restoring Our Relationships

Finally, there’s no time like the present for tidying up our relationships. The psychology and medical communities are littered with papers outlining the positive impact of having strong interpersonal relationships, something the Bible corroborates in verse after verse. Proverbs 17:7 says that, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Take the time today to reevaluate and either restore meaningful relationships or remove harmful relationships in your life.

In Matthew 22:36-39, Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Use the new year to tidy these areas, so that the Holy Spirit can work through us to accept God’s love for ourselves and to share it with others.

By Jason Busch, Record Contributor