Welcome back to the next installment of the Conquering Clutter Series. This week we're talking about the unseen side of clutter – mental clutter. We've explored the cost of clutter and the 3 types of clutter, now we're moving a little deeper.
Mental clutter, sometimes called emotional, is the stuff that lingers in your mind and distracts you from making progress or keeps you trapped in an emotion, feeling or place in time for too long.
It's fun to reminisce about old times but what happens when you cannot move past a point in your history? What if you cannot focus during our prayer time because your mind is constantly drifting back to something someone said to you last week?
Unlike physical clutter, mental clutter is not seen by the our loved ones and it's sometimes hard for us to identify. Here are a few ways to identify the mental clutter in your life:
Living In Past Regrets
Some people are stuck in their past reliving regrettable events in their minds. I spent years stuck in my past, reliving pain, shame, and guilt from things I did before I was married. I didn't know I Had a choice of what I thought about nor did I realize how bad my thought patterns were. The voices of my past were drowning out my future.
I did not relive scenes from my past but rather emotions of old would spill into my present situation. It affected my sex life with my husband and ultimately our marriage.
You cannot undo what you did in the past. Your only option is to forgive yourself, forgive those who were party to your mistakes and allow God to forgive you. The fragrance of forgiveness can remove the ugly odor of shame. You can find out more about forgiveness and my healing journey here.
Living in A Negative Today
How are your conversations with yourself? Do negative thoughts of your house, marriage, parenting style, work, friends, and family consume you? Negative self-talk will destroy your mood, attitude and eventually your behavior.
Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
~ Proverbs 12:25
When negative self -talk screams it's hard to hear the voice of God. Good words need not be verbal. You can mentally talk to yourself in a positive way although sometimes you need to speak out loud the truth you know in an effort to replace the negative words you've spoken to yourself.
Thoughts come from one of 3 places: God, Satan, Self. We know God comes to bring life and Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy but sometimes we are an accessory to murder. Satan knows all he has to do is whisper one word or phrase and we run with it like wildfire through a dry wheat field burning down every good thing in the process.
We're told to take very thought captive because of this very thing. Negative mental clutter will not lead to a thriving life. It will tie you to your past. I recommend you evaluate what is holding you in these thoughts and break free from any spiritual ties that are binding you to unpleasant past experiences.
Living In An Uncertain Future
I lived in worry most of my life. It wasn't until my early twenties that I finally understood the depths of my worry.
I love this quote by Corrie Ten Boom:
Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength. Carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
When you “borrow trouble,” as my grandmother would say, you are stealing joy from Jesus. He has given you joy for today but rather than live in the sufficient measure you are given for today, you pawn it to Satan in exchange for worries. Then, the mental clutter you carry distracts you from living in the present because you're living in the future.