Declutter your calling so you can breathe
This post isn’t about your pantry or closet or getting rid of your stuff. It’s not about magical arts or even tidying up. This post is about decluttering your life by jettisoning what isn’t crucial to your calling and giving you room to breathe. It’s about looking at your calling, recognizing what’s cluttering it, and accepting God’s truth.
The truth is that we all have a calling.
God’s purpose for every Christ-follower on the planet is to glorify and love Him, and to love others. But He’s also given each of us a unique and specific calling. Yet we can clutter up that calling by adding to it until it’s unrecognizable. We do this in three different ways.
We clutter our calling by acting out of fear.
We’re fearful that we’ll miss out if we don’t say “yes” to requests for our time and service. We believe that, if we don’t grab the opportunity now, someone else will get the blessing designed for us. We fear that we’re not measuring up so we just need to get it together. My friend Amanda says, “Our people-pleasing and insecurities can really take the logic out of our decisions.” That’s fear in action, and I have certainly seen that in my own life as I’ve grasped for things that were never mine. Our solution is to say “yes” to all the things even if they aren’t the best things and even if they are meant for someone else.
We can declutter and breathe because God has good things planned for us. When the Lord is our shepherd, we lack nothing. This means that we have what God knows we need, for this season, with these people, to do His good work. We benefit from His infinite blessings and resources, and He won’t let us miss what He has in store.
When the Lord is our shepherd, He keeps us in the pasture that’s best for us. We actually shouldn’t say “yes” to every request because, as Kelly Minter writes in All Things New, “You don’t want to encroach on someone else’s territory because God has given you your own. It will bring you neither joy nor satisfaction.”
We clutter our calling by adding to what God has given us.
We’ve been doing this since Eve said, “He told us not to eat that fruit AND not to touch it” when God’s only instruction was to not eat the fruit. We believe, inaccurately, that if God says that doing A is good, well then, doing A+B must be even better. When we multiply the law, instruction or calling God gives us, we’re making life more complicated and strict, which sets us up for failure and discouragement.
Sometimes, we simply desire more than what God has called us to do. When our calling doesn’t seem glamorous, fun, or important enough, we want to make it more than it is, thus cluttering up our schedules and brains.
We can declutter and breathe because God is sovereign and good. God makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us beside still waters because He wants to keep us safe from harm and to provide for us. He knows our plans may not be in our best interest.
God leads us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. He’s the one with the master plan, the one who sees the big picture and knows how we fit into it. He understands that the unglamorous thing we’re doing now is preparing us for the work He’s excited do with us in the future. Our flesh wants it all, but God is faithful to give us what we need.
We clutter our calling by believing that we have unlimited capacity.
When we believe that we have unlimited capacity, we take on more and more because, surely, we can do all the things. When we don’t want to acknowledge the small size of our capacity, we add activities, commitments, and positions to our plate and then wonder why everything is toppling over and onto the floor.
Our capacity doesn’t just extend to our schedules but also to our emotions and physical stamina. There’s only so much we can cram in, handle without falling apart, and physically undertake.
We can declutter and breathe because only God can lead our life. The entire premise of Psalm 23 is that we are sheep and God is our shepherd. We have the capacity of sheep, which aren’t known for their smarts or street savvy. Sheep aren’t designed to lead, they’re wired to trust their shepherd and follow Him.
Just like our pantry and closet, our calling needs to be decluttered as well. It’s easy to let fear, add-ons, and exaggeration clutter what God has called us to do. And if you’ve cluttered up your life and calling, give yourself much grace knowing that Jesus isn and has always been, with you, and He loves you so. Don’t berate yourself. Just release the things you need to. When we embrace our role to follow the Good Shepherd, our calling becomes clear and we have room to breathe. Doesn’t that sound lovely?