I’ll be honest, I’m not the most tidy person in the world. My hair should be a good giveaway in that.
I grew up in a household that loved printed words—that was always filled with piles of books and stacks of paper. Usually on our dining room table. Every night when we would eat dinner together as a family, we would have to move the stacks of letters, bills, and magazines to an adjacent shelf to make a little room for our food.
In my family, cleanliness was never next to Godliness. My folks were very faithful people but their way of creativity and saturation in words was also sometimes pretty messy.
I’ve also inherited that love of words and paper, and mess, but I learned pretty quickly and a little defiantly, that that wasn’t going to fly in married life. We all create a little different nest together. My partner Ashley, who spent a little time growing up in Japan, invited me to try out the practices of the work of Marie Kondo and the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It’s now become a hit Netflix show and is getting a lot of attention.
One of the things that really piqued my interest in Tidying Up was this desire for many of us to create simplicity and connectedness in our lives. It’s about having a vision. As a person of faith, I want who am I and what I have to be guided by what I believe about God. That’s a spiritual process as much as just a physical one.
Marie helps in that spiritual process by getting us to a place of grace and gratitude with our stuff, regardless of our messiness. She loves the challenge of tidying up and she invites folks to be thankful for what they have, the protection of a house, and how it reflects our vision for the world.
She also calls us to look really closely at what we have and whether it sparks joy and love, or whether it would be better used by someone else to spark joy and love.
I’m learning a lot from the Tidying Up process, about what things bring me joy and what things I can thank and let go of. There is so much noise and distraction in our lives and it’s important to remember that stuff can be a bondage to us.
Personally, I don’t think God cares much whether our lives are a little physically messy or not. God knows our true mess. But I do think God cares whether our lives spark joy and love.
And maybe that also means loving our neighbors and loving the world a little more simply too.
– Pastor Peter