One of the greatest challenges when losing any kind of weight is getting rid of unwanted junk. It may be fat, weight, baggage, clutter, stuff, thoughts, etc. We make excuses saying, “I think I’ll …” or “Maybe later.” or “It doesn’t look that bad. Others may be, “I might need that one day.” or “I keep this for sentimental value.” Well, the last two m-a-y be viable reasons for keeping certain items, but the real question becomes, “How important is it?”
I spoke earlier this week about prioritizing. In my weekly session with my coach, who acted more like my therapist, I was challenged about my thought life. “Is it realistic or is it in your mind?” Is a question she asked me after I shared a situation. Huh? Really? Ok, maybe a combination of both? No? Ok, so let’s take a look at this concept – honestly. There are things that we perceive to be fact when in actuality our perceptions may be a bit skewed. Perceptions are built from our experiences. By definition perception is:
- the way you think about or understand someone or something
- the ability to understand or notice something easily
Illustration: While working on my podcast blog I noticed a new theme that I really liked and wanted to try. What should have been a 45 min to an hour update (Remember, I’m working on my time management, right?) became a 2 1/2 hour “let’s play with themes” session. I became frustrated with myself when I realized I could have used my time better. But, this was a non-broadcast day or what I call a “free day” and my administrative work was light. Playing with themes was not a priority. Editing copy and doing EOD (end of day) write ups or drafts of blogs were. Or where they?
My dilemma: What was the reality of my experience? It was free time; a free day. So why did this become an issue? For me, I saw myself being highly focused and intense on what I was doing. So much so that I put other things on the back burner. The alarms went off, ‘just 10 more minutes’, I said. It ended up 30. My mind was going 95 + miles/hour. Thoughts of this and that, try this, no that, what about … ugh! But there I was, engaged, entangled with the present situation. You see, my mind became cluttered. My focus was on completing the task or at least making a decision. If nothing else, at least fix the mess that I made. Yes, my mind was a mess – an argument within myself ensued.
Wrong perceptions can become cumbersome to our mental and emotional state. It’s best to test them out. But who has time for all of that? Wait, did I just say that? Yes, I did. Many times we rush into or out of things before dealing with them. Or, we put too much attention and energy into situations and not put them in proper perspective or priority.
In reading an article on decluttering and saw this, 5 Rules for Reducing Clutter. Recommended reading alert! The tips listed here are not only good for getting rid of physical clutter; it’s also applicable for mental and emotional clutter as well. The second tip immediately caught my attention. Deal with it as it comes in the door.
Door, a hinged, sliding, or revolving barrier at the entrance to a building, room, or vehicle, or in the framework of a cupboard. (merriam-webster.com)
Our bodies have several doors or gates that we must guard (eyes, ears, mouth, and thoughts). Like snail or e-mail (spam in particular) we need to make sure that we handle what comes to and through the door wisely and timely. Too often we take mail and toss it aside. We aggressively and purposefully ignore, push to the side, and procrastinate on things we need to handle. When you keeping putting things on the back burner you just might get a fire that will engulf everything you truly hold dear. Not a good way to live a healthy and balanced life.
We must stop making excuses for our behavior. “I work better under stress.” I wonder how much better we’d work without the stress. “I think clearer when I’m hurried.” And how many times have we forgotten something? There is a say, “A cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind.” We’re called by God to be sober minded (see 1 Peter 1:13; 5:8)
Perception vs reality.
- When I don’t deal with situations right then and there it becomes emotional and physical clutter.
Antidote: a) Deal with the mental SPAM. Stop, breathe, and then make a clear decision about the importance of what you are doing or about to do.
- Don’t so so hard on yourself. When we expect more from ourselves that God does it puts us in a dangerous place of idolatry. Clear the clutter by a) asking God to forgive you (for acting like a nut) b) forgive yourself c) seek guidance in how to change your behavior. Just make sure the person(s) you ask give wisdom not opinion. God’s word is the best place to start.
I could go on and on with information, but that would end up becoming information overload and thus … more mental clutter. Neither you nor I need that. lol Be encouraged remembering that this journey is step by step, moment by moment, day by day. And above all things remember that God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear (anxiety) but of power, love and a sound mind.
Have a great weekend.