It’s surprising how much free time and productivity you gain when you lose the busyness in your mind.BRITTANY BURGUNDER
Busy has become a social norm and part of culture. We fill our calendars, to-do lists, and reminders; download all the apps to simplify our life; but instead of a fulfilling life, you end up with a busy schedule and a cluttered mind.
I don’t know about you, but I often tire of hearing myself and other people talk about how “busy” we are. It’s true, we go through busier seasons, but mostly, we’re not that busy all the time. I venture to say that we’re busier in our minds than our calendars. Which is why I think it’s so important to declutter and renew our minds regularly.
Renewing the mind is a biblical concept that I think any psychologist, behavioral researcher, and neurologist would agree with. But it takes practice and an understanding that it’s an ongoing process. It’s a way of realigning your thoughts with God’s thoughts and filling yourself with promises instead of dwelling on problems continually.
Paul says it well in Romans 12:2:
Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…
Often, a cluttered mind results from conforming to the world. That’s why it’s essential to be transformed continually. There will always be something going on, but instead of being run by your schedule or tasks, let those things run by you and, more importantly, by God.
If you want a decluttered, renewed, and refreshed mind, it’s time to get rid of some distractions, stop making excuses, and learn how to find joy in the smallness of life with God. When we invite Him into our messy clutter, He helps us get organized.
Get Rid of Distractions
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”WINSTON S. CHURCHILL
Our attention spans seem to get shorter as society expands and develops. This is because of all the information that’s already out there and getting added to the plate. But, as humans, we’re able to control and train our attention to focus on what truly matters.
Removing unnecessary distractions helps clear things out so you have time to be with the Lord. We sometimes get distracting thoughts that turn our attention to the world or ourselves, instead of Him. We can get caught up in the news, trends, and even “doing things right,” or “doing the right things,” but the best thing to do is to prioritize time with God above all.
Matthew 6:33 says to seek first the Kingdom, and everything else will be added. It’s so simple that we try to complicate it by thinking it has to look, feel, and be a certain way. We overthink and overdo, when all it takes is a few moments of undistracted stillness before the Lord. We get busy and then wonder why we’re busy!
An earlier verse in Matthew 6 says to go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. So, another way to say “get rid of distractions” is: close the door to the things of this world and your busy calendar, and spend time with God.
He can’t fill you up if you’re filled with endless tasks, you know what I mean?
Do whatever it takes to get quiet and come empty before the Lord. Prioritize some time with Him every day, even if it’s 5 minutes. And that reward, if on any level, is a renewed mind in Christ.
Stop Making Excuses
Make up your mind to act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is ever done in this world by hesitation.THOMAS HUXLEY
Next, stop making excuses. In another post, I called this turning your hesitation into a positive trigger. By acting on whatever it is you’re hesitant about, create a trigger for yourself to act before you have time to make excuses. This is especially helpful if you’re hesitant about spending time with God. When you hesitate, take a moment immediately to turn aside and talk to Him, to get quiet before Him.
We hesitate because we doubt, are uncertain, and afraid. And then we make excuses to avoid getting hurt. We’re just afraid of messing up or doing something wrong. But majority of the time, we’re overthinking it and therefore, cluttering our own minds with unnecessary fear and excuses.
It’s okay if it’s messy, if you make a mistake, and if it doesn’t look perfect. The truth is, it will be messy, you will make mistakes, and it can’t look perfect. Don’t convince yourself it has to look a certain way, just act on it. Give it a shot. That’s the point of turning hesitation into a positive trigger.
When we hesitate and fear the outcome, we get too much in our heads and lock ourselves up in perfectionism. This makes life less enjoyable. You’re meant to thrive, not survive. When you catch yourself making excuses, create a positive trigger to help you cross over into the unknown, which is literally a moment ahead.
Find Joy in Smallness
In the story of grace, the lack of hurry makes room for presence.Ashley Hales, A Spacious Life, p. 29
As an overachieving, goal-driven, perfectionist, to get rid of distractions and stop making excuses sometimes comes easily (i.e. getting clean and organized, practicing self-discipline and self-help, adding more to my to-do list, etc.). But what I’ve been learning recently is that the point in the first two steps is to help set you up to find joy in the smallness of life.
We can have all the goals, get all the self-help books, and cross off our to-do lists daily, but if we aren’t simply enjoying life, we set ourselves up to get cluttered once again. It’s good to have goals in life, but not at the risk of cluttering your mind. It’s good to read books, get knowledge, and pursue personal development, but not at the cost of your own joy.
As adults, we have so many distractions that we lose sight of enjoying the small things in life. We make excuses to avoid living from a place of joy because we’re “grown-up” now. But it’s the way of the Kingdom.
In Matthew 18, Jesus said, unless you change and become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of God. One theologian explained that the “change” in this verse refers to turning from the sin of self-seeking ambition to be the greatest, and instead turn to God and relate personally with Him through Jesus Christ.
We often get busy and cluttered in our minds because we constantly turn to ourselves, seek our own ambitions, and try to do things in our own strength. But God intended for us to carry His easy and light yoke, instead of the burden of worry, clutter, and busyness.
No matter what comes your way, you can have a clear and decluttered mind.
You can put yourself closer to success and make life more fulfilling.
You can put yourself in a place of intentional thinking and living.
And you can find transformation because you took the time to renew your mind by inviting God into your daily life.