Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


Minimalist Thinking

Documentary on Netflix.

Documentary on Netflix.

Have you seen this documentary? Really good . . . highly recommend! I've been listening to their podcasts too. They've got some really practical ideas.  One thing that has struck me as I've been listening to their ideas for decluttering our lives is the necessity to declutter our minds as well.

So the question that this documentary and these podcasts have made me curious about is this: what is in my mind? In the documentary, they encourage people to pull everything out of their closets and stand back and look. They advise to only put back what you love to wear, what are your favourite things and then give or sell everything else. They talk about making decisions based on values, not on what is acceptable to other people.

So I've been paying attention to what is in my mind. What do I think about as soon as I wake up? What are the thoughts that run through my mind when I'm running errands or going for a walk? When the phone rings, what do I think about? When I sit down to check email, facebook, instagram, my website on etsy . . . what are my thoughts? When I come home from being out with friends or family or at church . . . what do I think about on my way home? After publishing my blog, what do I think about? Are there consistent tracks that my mind runs down? Are they thoughts that result in health, peace, love, focus and creative freedom or do they result in self-absorbed worry? 

Here is what Paul writes about what God can do:  

"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." Romans 12:2

So . . . as the Lord and I have been standing in front of my 'mind closet' looking at what is there, what to keep and what to throw away . . . I've noticed some interesting stuff. 

TIME OF DAY: I've noticed that I'm more prone to "worry thoughts" late at night or mid-day when I'm tired. Solution: Perfect opportunity to read an interesting novel from the library! Not the time to make decisions or 'figure things' out. Write things down to deal with tomorrow if necessary. Turn phone off, no more internet and just relax with a good book until I drift off to sleep . . . zzz

PAIN: When I have pain, I'm more prone to wanting to organize or simplify other people's lives, especially if they seem to be overwhelmed themselves. But this is only because I myself feel overwhelmed. Solution: have a nap, take care of my needs and leave other people to be appropriately responsible for their own choices. Once my own needs are cared for, I will have more energy if someone wants my help with something and I'll be able to discern what I should or shouldn't do. 

Decisions: Decisions need to be made every day about which events to go to, how to approach specific relationships, how much to donate to a charity etc . . . If I'm not pro-active about this, I can 'roll around' the decision making process throughout the whole day, like background music in my brain. Solution: write down decisions that have to be made as they cross my mind, then pick a time later in the day to sit down and make concrete decisions and then . . . no more pondering. 

One of the great ideas that this documentary presents is that the more decluttered our lives become, the more room we have for what really matters.

As the Lord has been helping me declutter my thought processes, I've had more brain-room and freedom to joke around, enjoy good movies and music, more creative freedom to try things with my sockart business, and more clear thinking space to work on projects. I'm grateful for that. 

I believe this must be an ongoing process for us. Life is complicated and circumstances change quickly without warning. God knows this and is with us the whole way! He wants to be involved in all the moments of our days, freeing us from the clutter of worry and fear. Let's be people who ask God regularly to declutter our mind closets and claim the freedom that He offers us. 

Have a great day!