One of the most common comments I get about my life with clutter is, “Oh, you wrote a book about clutter? Is your house perfect now?”
Or people will say, “I could never have you over to my house. You’re the clutter free person. I’d be too embarrassed!”
These two statements highlight two different misconceptions:
1. Because I’ve found something that works for me, I will never struggle again.
2. I can’t remember what it’s like to be in the hardest part of the struggle.
So let me share the reality of my clutter free life:
I still struggle.
My natural tendency is towards clutter. To put things down, leave them for later.
My garage can still be an embarrassment.
My relationship with stuff has changed dramatically. I still keep stuff I shouldn’t, but it’s not households of stuff. I still have too many clothes, but it’s not closets full of them. I’m so much better, because I’ve learned some of the reasons for my struggle along the way, and I realize that even when I’m at the hardest part of my struggle, God is not a disappointed and disapproving relative waiting to love me when I (literally) clean up my act. In my struggle, God pulls me tighter, loves me hard, and doesn’t let me go.
So much of this paradigm reminds me of my struggle with depression about a dozen years ago. I felt that if I just tried harder, worked more, and wasn’t so lazy, God would be pleased with me and would make my depression go away.
I know. I know.
What crazy, faulty, thinking.
But that’s the kind of thinking that so many of us do when we are dealing with a struggle.
If only I tried harder…
I should be able to get myself out of this mess.
If God was pleased with me, He would get me out of this mess.
Recently, I had a conversation with Melissa Maimone author of The Radiant Midnight: Depression, Grace, and the Gifts of a Dark Place. (Holy cow, what a title!) What I love most about this book is that Melissa believes not only will God lead you out of darkness, He will be fully and beautifully present within it. Instead of trying to give anyone three simple steps to deal with a hard situation, she takes the radical notion that God sits with us in our pain and suffering. Instead of always looking to get out of the circumstance, she urges us to recognize that God is guiding us on a journey of surrender, suffering, rest, and restoration in the midst of what we are going through.
There is value in knowing that we don’t just have to try harder to get out of the circumstances we are in. There is value in recognizing that there is good in the hard places, whether it’s outside of ourselves (clutter) or inside ourselves. God is there, and He is good, even when our challenges are hard.
The generous people over at Harvest House want to give our readers Melissa’s book, The Radiant Midnight: Depression, Grace, and the Gifts of a Dark Place! 5 people will win a copy and 1 grand prize winner will receive:
- A copy of the book, The Radiant Midnight
- A Wood Grain Folding Book Lamp, Night Light
- Weighted Silk Sleep Mask Eye Pillow Filled with Organic Lavender and Flax Seeds
Enter to win by commenting below- have you ever had a situation where you believed you had to just try harder to get out of the hard place and then you would find God rather than knowing He was right there in it with you?
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.
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