Have you ever just sat somewhere and listened? I mean really listened. What do you hear?
We are all surrounded by noise and that noise can have a positive or negative effect on us. I have started really listening. Externally and internally to the noises surrounding me.
Externally: As I sit in my office at home writing this article, I am acutely aware of the external noises. Some irritate me, some bring me joy. The washing machine is on in the garage connected to my office. The pool pump is running to clean the pool. I hear the fridge in our garage making a noise, aware that it is near to the end of its useful life. My son is outside playing on his bike pretending that he’s on an obstacle course. He is talking to himself and I can sense his joy. My eldest daughter is on my office floor reading a book and I am enjoying that she is here with me.
Internally: My office is cluttered. The stuff that no-one really wants to have in the house seems to find it’s way to my office to get ‘sorted’. I have often heard that a cluttered house is representative of a cluttered mind. This idea is most certainly true for me. I think I’m stuck in between. My house is uncluttered, thanks to my latest attempts at decluttering. However, my office is cluttered. There are pockets of calm where I find refuge from the clutter and noise internally and externally.
I have been reading a book by Marie Kondo called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying”. Her method of tidying is simple and effective. Allowing you to banish clutter forever. First you discard, then organise your space thoroughly and completely in one go. The idea is never to have to declutter again, but to live only with the things that bring you joy. Things that contribute to the vision you have for your life.
I have started with clothes, as she suggests decluttering by category not by room, and the start I have made has created my own oasis of calm. I am not decluttering for others, my previous mistake, but allowing them to be carried along as they witness and feel the changes in our home. Thankfully, by and large, they have been inspired to follow suit.
Her method is not just about decluttering your house, but your life also. The reorganisation of my home has already caused dramatic changes in our lifestyle and perspective. We are not decluttering in order to make way for new things. We are decluttering so that we are surrounded only by the things we love. We are decluttering so that we are not endlessly tidying up. This new method has had a calming effect on our lives thus far and we have only just begun.
I have also discovered that clutter and noise create distractions for me. Distractions to conversations that have been needing to happen for some time. Distractions to listening to my inner voice. Distractions to listening to the Lord.
The busyness of life has become the main distraction to listening to the Lord. I am always busy. Sometimes too busy to stop, listen, and pray. Too busy to find time for my children or my friends. I find myself becoming overwhelmed. I used to take the time to stop and ask the Lord for help. But I got too busy with the distractions and noise to remember to listen for the answer.
This reminds me of one of my favourite bible verses from Revelation 3:20:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
I haven’t been really listening. But I am now….