If you walked into my house today, especially if you hadn't seen it in - maybe - four or five years, several things would likely stand out. You'd probably notice the new kitchen, the new dining room location, the guest bathroom remodel, the new roof, and the way we use the bedrooms now that Andrew and Naomi have moved away.
But one of the most significant changes - an intervention that impacts possibly every space in the house - is a systemic shift in the way that we do business as a household. You'd most certainly notice a huge change... but you might not be able to put your finger on exactly what is different.
What's different is the amount of "stuff" in our house. Less furniture, fewer home accents, reduced amounts of things we don't ever use, paired down closets; increased counter space, room on the shelves, very little in permanent storage, etc, etc....
What I'm talking about is a good look at the word, "enough". Another way to talk about this is "too much". Or, how much is enough and when is there too much.?
Enough can be a helpful financial stewardship question. It's also a commentary on the idea of "simplicity". And enough can be applied to environmental concerns as regards waste, sustainability, and more radical notions such as "fair share."
All of these thoughts are beneficial, but today I'm specifically thinking in terms of clutter and distractibility; I'm thinking about the state of our home in relation to the spiritual discipline of Lent.
I love God's Word. In fact, the opportunity to spend extra time delving into scripture is one of the most amazing side-benefits of being a writer. God's word feeds me, inspires me, sustains me, and informs my work. So this morning it is no surprise that an appropriate selection came to mind in terms of today's blog posting. Here it is, Jesus telling the story of someone sowing grain:
"...And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing."
The desire for other things chokes the word and the yield is reduced to nothing.
Today our house is pretty-much clutter free. I recently visited the home of someone who literally had to step over and around dangerous piles of clutter in order to simply turn a switch on the radio. The house is actually lost behind the mountains of irrelevant and unused minutia.
Sometimes it's good to open the windows, put everything we own in the middle of the lawn, throw out what gets in the way of enjoying life, air out the house to it's very bones, and live forward - from that moment.
Am I talking about the house or our soul? Yes.
I believe we're talking about good Lenten practice. To impose a certain ascetic purging on our spiritual life, simply to air out the Temple of the Holy Spirit and to get rid of those distractions that serve to stunt our spiritual growth.
That's the picture I'm seeing this morning. It's Lent, Day 25. What's getting in the way of your spiritual life?
(Look, a counter top! If you've forgotten what they look like then this post is for you!)