My wife and I sat down to watch some programs on Netflix from the Japanese home organization guru, Marie Kondo. It seems like everyone is talking about this method of bringing order into the chaos in our homes. Her books are bestsellers!
We have recently been doing our best to de-clutter our lives and make them simpler – and I have to say, Marie’s advice is very good!
She has a very gentle approach to improving relationships in the home by helping people to make space in their lives for new and meaningful things without the feeling of being snowed under with stuff. In a previous blog I wrote about a phenomenon called ‘stuffocation’, which is a feeling of having too much stuff that it becomes a burden. No wonder that renting self-storage units is such big business these days.
Many people feel overwhelmed in their homes. Entering the house doesn’t bring a sense of peace; it brings a feeling of drowning in excess – in overconsumption.We believe our stuff should make us happy, even though all the evidence points away from this.
I love her key question, “does this spark joy?”
I don’t know anything about her religious background, but joy is a truly Christian word, very different from happiness. Happiness is externally triggered emotion, dependent on things, people, thoughts, events. Joy is a state of the soul, independent on circumstances, and a fruit of the Spirit which brings peace, thankfulness and contentment.
In the list of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit, joy is happily sandwiched between love and peace. When holding something in my hand which I am thinking of keeping or discarding, Marie advises to ask, ‘does it spark joy?’
For us, as believers, I think this means, ‘will it help me to love and serve God and those close to me?” … and … “do I have peace about it?” When looking to buy something new, I can ask myself the same questions. So, is the Holy Spirit sparking joy in me … or not? David wrote in Psalm 16 ...
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Marie Kondo encourages people to be thankful for their homes, and when a possession is discarded, she wants us to give thanks for what it has brought to us. It is good to reflect on the way objects in my home represent meaningful events and relationships.
David wrote in another psalm 84,
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Let us develop thankfulness for all the good things God has given us!