Monday, September 22, 2008

From Clutter to Clarity

I am excited to tell you about a book I just finished reading this weekend - Nancy Twigg graciously sent me a copy of her book and asked if I would read it and post about it here.

I think her subtitle sums up the theme of this book, "simplifying life from the inside out." The clutter that surrounds our lives begins in our hearts.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." ~ Proverbs 4:23
When we guard our hearts from clutter, we are guarding our homes and lives from clutter. Guarding my heart is the first and most important thing I can do in bringing about clarity in my life and reducing the clutter I feel and see.

Clutter is more than just a stack of papers sitting on my kitchen counter - it is anxiety, thought patterns, desire for more, financial habits that I allow into my life. It is taking my eyes off of Christ and focusing them on something else.

I loved the definition of clutter that Nancy provided early in the book, "From now on think of clutter as any possession, habit, thought pattern, attitude, or activity that (1) you don't need or use anymore, (2) doesn't fit or work for you like it used to, or (3) doesn't add value or meaning to your life as it once did."

Those words are really very simple ~ if it isn't adding to my life ~ it needs to go! Simple to understand ~ but do I truly take them to heart and carry them out? What does Scripture say about this?
Hebrews 12:1-2, "Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Throw off hindrances...
Run with perseverance...
Fix our eyes on Jesus...

We have responsibilities to carry out in this battle against clutter. We must choose to take action and choose the right things.

What are the things I need to throw off - what is hindering me as emotional, financial, spiritual or physical clutter? Am I fixing my eyes on Jesus or on other things that remove my focus from Him? Am I free of hindrances so that I can give of myself, time, treasure, talent without being weighed down or burdened with clutter?

I am very interested in this topic of simplifying life and living without clutter. I think that Nancy's book is unique because she is a Christian and the perspective she brings in relation to our spiritual life is something we don't see in lots of other books on this topic.

I hope you will get an opportunity to read this book ~ it was refreshing to me as well as encouraging and challenging. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing of yourself and for the opportunity to read your book!

Please visit Carrie's blog for her perspective on the book!


Anonymous said...

Hi Monica....well I must say that this post of yours is very good timing for me as I am in the process of making decisions about what it is God wants me to be doing with some certain things in my life at the moment....I found this post so encouraging...many thanks and God Bless you...Lisa (in Australia)

*carrie* said...


Enjoyed reading your thoughts--glad to see we have some overlap and some things that are different, too. Hope you're feeling better!

Anonymous said...

This book sounds very, very good. Just the little bit you hit on sounds as if it were written for me!! Thank you for the review Monica. Hope you are well :-)!tammyp

mom said...

I like that definition of clutter, too -- here's to a clutter-free life! Love you, Mom

Elise said...

Wow, its like God ordains what you will write just when I need it. We are in the process of packing, since we will close on our new home Sept. 30, and trying to get rid of stuff is hard sometimes.
Hey, I have a pic of my wooden ironing board on my latest post if you want to check it out.
Hope you have a great week!!

kritterc said...

Excellent post. I am in the process of decluttering my life and this came just at the right time. Peace and Blessings.

gail said...

great post! this has been on my heart alot as with this move it has brought alot of clutter into my life. i'm going thru the sorting process of what stays and what goes both in the physical and in the spiritual.

can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the book. you aren't giving one away are you? hint, hint!

Amy said...

That sounds like a really neat book! Thanks for sharing about it!

Anonymous said...

Dear Monica:

Thanks for your thoughts on this subject. I have been really trying to do better with the clutter in my life. You always inspire me.

Thinking of you with love & prayers.


Caroline said...

This book sounds great---I am looking forward to reading it (hint, hint--giveaway in the near future?) Because I have been sick lately and unable to do a lot at home, my wonderful hubby took a day off from work today to help me "de-clutter" the house. This seems to be a timely topic for a lot of people.

Charree said...

I am going to have to read this book. Thanks for sharing about it.

Dawn said...

I defintiely need to read this one!! Remind me to take a peek at it on Friday.

Vintage Mommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vintage Mommy said...

Thanks for doing this book review!

We had a yard sale last Saturday, and I'm telling you--I love the clutter-free spaces we've made in our home as a result of giving away the things we no longer use.