I started writing this blog around 5 months into my pregnancy after moving house. This thought was on my heart then and God’s triggered it again recently so I decided to finally complete.
As I sat here in our new home, finally clear of boxes- although don’t be fooled, you haven’t seen upstairs! I finally feel tidy, clear and pleased to be sat down with my feet up!
It’s been a busy week of packing, unpacking and getting ready to start a new beginning in a more suitable home to bring our daughter into.
As I unpacked the never ending mountain of boxes, I ruthlessly identified things I no longer needed; things that had gathered dust for years, served no purpose, cluttered my home making very little room for anything else, items I’d held on to for too long and needed to let go of- they all went! I donated old clothes that I either hadn’t worn in years or didn’t fit anymore (although nothing fits at the moment!)
A few months later…
As I enter well into my ‘nesting’ phase and I mean full on nesting; cleaning where it’s not even dirty, tidy when there’s nothing left to put away, re-organise when it’s already pretty organised- full on nesting! It’s in this season that a small observation triggered me to continue writing this blog.
Nesting has caused me to realise just how much room a baby takes up- even when they haven’t arrived yet! As I mentioned in my previous blog, we recently moved into a 2 bedroom house temporarily for this baby arriving. Compared to the 1 bedroom (1 everything actually) flat we were in before, this house seemed like luxury! A mansion at that! Or so it felt. We actually had a bedroom big enough to swing more than a cat as they say. Not only that but I had more wardrobe space- always a plus! And we had a spare room for the baby! We had a living room big enough for people to actually sit in and a garden which we’ve never had before. Yes, it was ‘2 up 2 down’ as they say but this to us was luxury and a true blessing!
But as we’ve shopped and been bought endless gifts for this baby, I soon realised that I needed to make more room! My nesting has caused me to seriously consider the things I’m holding onto that are cluttering our house and cupboard space, asking myself whether I actually need everything we have.
So, as I digress, a simple observation while cleaning our bathroom was that I realised this room is now going to be used quite frequently for activities such as bath time- not relaxing bath time (although I’m a shower girl myself) I mean play time; bubbles, toys and mostly Carl and I getting soaked as we watch our little girl splash in the bath!
I have always had a pretty box containing bathroom toiletries which has its place on top of my towel box. This was small in size but all we needed. Just before I embarked upon cleaning the bathroom, I had finished clearing and cleaning out the bedroom and found a much larger box emptied of junk that I’d collected.
So as I looked at my toiletries box in the bathroom, I thought to myself- ‘we’re going to need a bigger box’- and I exchanged them. The small box is now in the baby’s room and the big one lives in the bathroom. My collection of toiletries seemed somewhat lost as they barely filled half of the containment. Yet sure enough, I brought all the ‘bath’ things out of the baby’s room and into the bathroom; floating and squeezy toys, sponges etc. and they soon filled up the box! Had I kept the old one, there would have been no room and I’d have constantly had to wonder into the baby’s room each time I needed something for bath time.
The same too, is for one of my cupboards downstairs, I spent all morning on the floor scurrying through papers we’ve collected, documents and just rubbish that you quickly shove in a draw when your doing a mad tidy before guests arrive- No? Just me?!
This cupboard is now empty, bar two drawers. All ready to house toys and baby things that we’ll need downstairs for convenience.
It’s as I sit here and contemplate this, that I’m reminded to finish this blog – not least how much space baby’s take up! – (Seriously! How can such a small person have so much stuff! Actually that doesn’t sound too dis-similar to what my husband says about me! )- So I’m now entering into a new season and this thought to make more room is still so ever present in my mind.
I feel so often we clutter our lives, our minds and our hearts with problems; set backs, disappointments, un-forgiveness, grudges, guilt, shame, un-belief, lack of confidence, addictions and so much more- that there is no room for anything else.
I asked myself; how can God do a work in your life if there is no room for Him or for Him to work in and through you? How can He help you if you refuse to de-clutter and let go of some things to make room for the new He has for you? How can He help you if there isn’t even room for Him in the first place?
Holding onto my possessions and things I no longer needed was causing my drawers to be full to the brim, there was no room for anything new to be bought or brought in. Not only did my house look cluttered but I also felt cluttered in my mind. I couldn’t relax because I knew there were a stack of bank statements and important documents that needed sifting through that had been shoved in a drawer- a temporary attempt to procrastinate and organise another time.
I’m not saying you need to go on a mad spring clean or de-cluttering spree in your home. I don’t fancy being held responsible for your spouse/ family member or friend to come home only to find out you’ve thrown or given away their most prized possessions because you’ve read my blog and felt you needed to de-clutter! – please don’t hear me wrong! But perhaps you are cluttered in your mind and spirit? Perhaps your life is so busy that there is no room for God, for family; friends, love, yourself, your children?…
Perhaps you’re holding onto resentment or you have un-forgiveness in your heart. It’s eating away at you, causing your mind to lose focus on other things. There’s no room for anything else because this part of your life has such a strong hold on the vast majority of it.
Maybe your struggling with an addiction. It takes up so much of your time and completely fills your life that there’s no room for you to grow into who God made you to be because your confined to the walls of this strong hold?
I know my eating disorder which developed hand in hand with an addiction to exercise caused all my thoughts to be occupied by food and weight. All my time and energy solely focused on me and how I was feeling seldom anyone else. Not only did I not want to, but I wouldn’t accommodate time to see anyone, take part in anything, help anyone or even study at university- my eating disorder totally consumed me. My box was well and truly confined and labelled in my mind as Cheryl and her eating disorder– no room at the inn here.
So with this is mind, first and foremost I am challenged that if we’re going to make any more room in our lives, it needs to be for a relationship with God. He needs ample and prioritised space at the forefront- not somewhere in the busyness of our every day lives. Are you slotting him in as an accessory to your day? Is he a last minute read/prayer/consideration before you go to bed? Or, is He the one you start your day with? – the best way in my opinion!
It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 (TEV)
Rick Warren makes this point.
“If you don’t make time for God, you are not going to hear from God. You have to slow down and be quiet so you can hear him. When you are in a hurry you can’t hear God.
When we live hurried lives, God gets shuffled off into the spare minutes and he is short changed with our time. We say, “Lord, speak to me but do it quickly.”
You say, “I want to trust God, but I don’t hear him.” To hear God, you have to get near God. You don’t hear God when your mind is filled with a thousand other distractions. You’ve got to get alone with God and be quiet.”
The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NIV).
Don’t hear me wrong or insensitive, I know this can be hard. Life is busy and usually staying in bed those extra 5/10 minutes seems so much more important and needed than to get up and talk with your Heavenly Father (and boy will I understand this even more once the baby arrives!). But you know, on the days where I have managed to do this- I feel ten times more set up for my day! I wake up feeling loved, protected and thankful of the day ahead of me- not daunted or stressed, worried or anxious. A day of opportunities to tell others about God! A day where I can handle whatever is thrown at me. A day where even when I’m in the midst of a tough season- that I’m not alone and I have God’s strength living inside of me. I’m reminded that God wants a relationship with me, to talk to him open and honestly so I can get to know his character and experience his faithfulness.
Here’s a thought- how often when we have a good old tidy or clear out do we find something unexpected; something we thought we’d lost? Often something has shown up that I so desperately needed at that time, something that makes me smile. Imagine what God can cause to show up in your lives if you give him room- first place!- imagine the blessings and the provision he can shower you with!
I strongly believe that when we truly do this, consistently, that He can begin a work in us. He can grow you for all He created you to be, mature you and help you de-clutter everything else to make room for the new blessings He’s stored up for you.
“We are not meant to remain as children but to grow up in every way into Christ.”
We must become like a mature person, growing until we become like Christ and have his perfection.
After all, when you know Him and choose to believe in Him- the old has gone! All that STUFF you were holding onto before has gone and the new has already come. New things can take up residence in your life. Jesus offers you a new beginning- but first you have to allow Him to get rid of the old.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (MSG)
Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!
He offers a fresh start; a chance to leave behind the things in your past that are cluttering your life and holding you back. Maybe there are things you’re holding onto that you need to let go of? Maybe there’s baggage you’ve collected through the years: habits, idols, distractions, un-forgiveness, bitterness, guilt, shame? Maybe your constricting your growth by limiting your opportunities because your life is so cluttered with things you need to let go of?…
I encourage you to start making room in your life for God, so He can make room for your growth into the plans He has for you, person He created you to be and live out your purpose here on earth!