A photo of small white flowers bunched together as they grow near a still stream.

@JeanneTakenaka

Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s faced my life and felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff that needs attention. Right now, for me, it’s schedules, navigating a recent rejection, teenaged boys who need very different things, an on-going family situation, along with my tendency to hold up my “failings” next to someone else’s shining success and feel like I lack in every area. How do we go about decluttering our hearts?

A waterfall cluttered by logs . . . a symbol of the need to declutter our hearts as this waterfall needs things branches out of its way

In my first post in this “Stuff” series, I described how I created white space in my project room. That work wasn’t done in a week or two. I spent weeks, poring over each item in that room. I had a plan. I started at one corner in my room and spent a set amount of time each day working my way around. I didn’t jump from one spot to the next in a work session, or even from one day to the next. I was intentional in how I tackled the out-of-control stuff in that room. 

As we partner with God in decluttering our hearts, the work won’t be completed in a week or two. We must take the necessary time to evaluate the items on our heart’s shelves, to examine our motivations behind those items, and to ask Jesus to help us see them through His eyes. 

A closeup of water flowing with logs draped in the water . . . symbolic for the need to move unhealthy things from our hearts

5 Steps for Dealing with the “Heart-Stuff”:

~Evaluate the Why’s behind what we’ve allowed to occupy our hearts. Let’s use an example: Bitterness usually results from unforgiveness. Ask, “Why haven’t we forgiven the person? What does holding onto the unforgiveness offer?” Let’s be honest. Sometimes, we hold onto unforgiveness because we think it gives us power over that other person. In the end, bitterness impacts every aspect of who we are while not changing the other person.

~Consider our motivations for allowing attitudes and beliefs to take up space in our hearts. I’ve struggled with comparison most of my life, the result of the continual bullying I endured as a girl. This sense of feeling like I was “less-than,” defined me for decades. I allowed that belief to give me an “out” for activities and growth. God has taken me on a long journey to re-define my value in His eyes.

When we know our Why, we’re better equipped to deal with our heart-stuff. Understanding our motivations for holding onto things helps us to make wise decisions on how to manage our stuff.

A still lake reflecting the trees and sky . . . an image of how our hearts can be once we remove unhealthy things from it

~Pray and ask God to remove these things and to change you. It all takes time. When we’re intentional about noticing when heart-attitudes and/or thoughts pop up, we can bring them before Jesus. We may also discover possible triggers and talk them over with the Lord. 

~Fill your mind with God’s truth by reading His word daily and asking Him to talk with you through His word.

~Journal! Make an effort to talk with the Lord through writing things down. Slowing down to actually write (yes with pen and paper) enables our thoughts to process and allows God to reveal things we may miss if we hurry through this process. 

A picture of a still lake reflecting the trees and sky on its shoreline

4 Mindset Shifts for Decluttering our Hearts:

At times the work feels too hard. The thought that it’s easier to live in the place where we are rather than doing the hard, painful work God wants to do will be tempting. Ask God to give you strength to persevere.

Sometimes we may think we’ve got it figured out, only to find another thought process or life pattern that reveals more purging work needs to be done. This is actually good because it gives us the opportunity to come before the Lord and ask for His help. Again.

A still stream reflecting trees and sky . . . an image of how our heart can be when we do the work of decluttering

Give ourselves grace. We’ll face times, even seasons, where we slip into old thought-and-heart patterns. God’s grace is always available. We just need to lean into it and trust Him.

Ask God to show us the one area He most wants to work on right now. Trying to fix everything at once would be like me attempting to work on my closet and my bookshelves simultaneously in my project room. We can only focus on one thing at a time. When He’s done the work with that one area, you’ll see positive changes.

A closeup of yellow flowers with a blurred background of a waterfall

Remember, most of all, God wants intimacy with us. When we invite Him in to help with decluttering our hearts—He etches healing over the lies. He opens our hearts for His freedom, joy, and peace. 

What about you? What has helped you deal with some of your heart issues? What’s a step or mindset you can add to my lists?

Click to Tweet: We must take the necessary time to evaluate the items on our heart’s shelves, to examine our motivations behind those items

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory, #Instaencouragements, Grace and Truth, and #RaRaLinkup

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