It’s spring once more. Time for warmer weather and putting away that winter coat. And time for spring cleaning.
President Hinckley used to relate the annual tradition his mother would lead. Every spring each child received a portion of the spring cleaning chores to accomplish. Looking back on those days, President Hinckley remarked on the exasperating nature of the labor, but he also extolled the liberation everyone found when the work was done. How refreshing it was to live once more in a clean house!
Many of our own homes could use a little elbow grease. We have dirt brought in from the outside world. And we’ve allowed so much stuff to accumulate around us it burdens our ability to feel free in the space we call home.
Many of us have additional clutter in the homes of our lives. We find ourselves burdened with dirt left from encounters with the world. And we’ve accumulated so much baggage we’re burdened wherever we go.
Yet spring is a joyful season. The change that leaves winter behind reminds us we too can change and leave the winter of our lives behind. We just need to clear the clutter.
Clear the physical
All the different aspects of our lives — body, mind, heart, and spirit — are interconnected. That’s why we need to clear the clutter from each of these spaces in our lives. And there’s no easier place to start than with the physical clutter.
Many years ago I realized I had a lot of stuff. I never let go of anything for fear I would need it once I did. Yet I could also recognized the burden of dragging all this stuff around with me.
I refrained from clearing any of it until I realized something substantial. With my income at that time, if I did need whatever I had surrendered, I could just buy myself a new one. And it would be in much better condition than the one I gave away.
That realization set me working. I began divesting myself of anything which had no sentimental value and I wasn’t really using. I was donating my items to a local thrift store, so I began tallying the cost of each of these items for a tax deduction. I was amazed to see a deduction of $2000!
Clear the other spaces
The real surprise, though, was emotional and mental. I had no idea how much my extra stuff burdened me psychologically until I found myself free of it. Had I known before how free I would feel, I would have done it all sooner.
Of course, some burdens are purely emotional or mental in nature. We regret something we said or did, or we feel the angst of not meeting a standard others seem to meet with ease. We should just as diligently clear out the clutter of unfair comparisons and broken commitments as we would the clutter which needlessly occupies our physical spaces.
The only fair comparison is between who you are now and who you were yesterday. Comparing yourself to others rarely ends well in the short term and never ends well in the long term. You’ll always be chasing after something that isn’t worth capturing even if you could. Far better to live free of the burden of always needing to prove yourself.
And of course, broken commitments always hold us back until we do what we can to make amends. Often that involves making a new commitment. Always it means accepting the Savior’s Atonement. Far better to live free of unnecessary burden, especially when our Lord paid such a dear price to make that freedom possible.
Clear it all
The heaviest burdens to bear are spiritual in nature. Clearing this clutter can require the most effort and offer the greatest reward. And clearing the clutter in one aspect often provides strength and encouragement that makes clearing the clutter in other aspects easier.
I saw this with the experience I described earlier. Feeling the freedom from the burden of so many physical things encouraged me to feel that same sense of freedom in other areas of my life. I found it easier to move on from a failed relationship to which I still clung. The freedom I felt from releasing my physical burden gave me hope of feeling something similar after releasing my emotional burden.
We can free ourselves of any burden if we clear the clutter from our spaces. So what spring cleaning could you use? What burdens do you need to surrender? You often won’t know how burdened you’ve really been until you remove it. Once you do what is necessary, you’ll feel an invigorating sense of freedom. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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