My friend gasped as she stepped out of the bathroom. On her bed—a neat row of T-shirts, folded Marie Kondo-style. We had just been talking about Marie Kondo over dinner the night before, so I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when my friend sent a photo of the T-shirts to our group chat.
“My husband has become a ‘Konvert’!”
Our group chat conversation (or, should I say ‘Konversation’?) started flowing, and a few of us said we’d try to ‘Kondo’ our clothes too.
The new reality TV show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has made an impact. Although I have not seen it yet, I have heard enough about Kondo’s two bestselling books, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy, to know that she is the delightful diva of decluttering. Kondo invites everyone to empty their junk-filled cupboards and overstuffed storerooms, look through their clothes, books, and papers, and ask of each item: “Does this spark joy?” Keep only the things that spark joy—that’s Marie Kondo’s famous mantra.
The idea of removing useless, broken, or unnecessary items is understandably appealing. This sort of decluttering needs to be done on the spiritual level too. J. I. Packer wrote about the concept of “attitudinal rubble”. These are detrimental attitudes of the heart that we accumulate. He urged Christians to discard “laziness, unbelief, procrastination, cynicism, self-absorption, (and) in-fighting” in order to make spiritual progress.1
Here’s some thoughts on how to declutter your heart, taking a leaf from Marie Kondo. Instead of going through your clothes, books, and papers, look at your complaints, binges, and preoccupations. What have you been complaining about repeatedly? What have you been bingeing on these days? What is constantly on your mind? Ask of each of these: Do these spark joy in Jesus? Will holding on to these things please our Lord? If not, it may be time to discard useless, broken, or unnecessary patterns of thinking and feeling.
In addition, consider the words of Paul in Philippians 4:6-8: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Take on only the attitudes that spark joy in Jesus, and give Him all the room He deserves in our uncluttered hearts.
Are you ready to tidy up? —Ruth Wan-Lau
Lord Jesus, help me to go through my attitudes, habits, and ways humbly, and to question each one honestly as I consider their value to you. And give me the courage and strength to discard those attitudes and habits that do not please You.
Declutter your heart: Keep it neat and clean for the Lord.
1 J. I. Packer, A Passion for Faithfulness: Wisdom from the Book of Nehemiah (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1995), 108.
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