I will admit that I’m not as organized as I would like to be. I can usually find everything I’m looking for, but I often regret how much time I’ve wasted looking for it.
Clutter is a big concern for many people. Even if it’s not the disorderly assemblage on a work desk or the physical clutter in a disorganized, jam-packed room, clutter is a huge dilemma for most people.
In our society, constant noise has become prevalent. On the days I used to teach at the university, I could easily note that at least 95% of the students I observed meandering to class had headphones pressed tightly against their ear canal. On occasion, some of these same students would attempt to listen to lectures in class, contribute to the class discussion, and maintain a sense of connectivity to their music with one earbud securely in place.
Unlike the clutter clearly visible on a desk in disarray or a compacted room, there is the mental and emotional clutter that may flourish uncontrollably without much visibility. Like the clutter produced by a noisy environment, mental and emotional clutter can cause us to become distracted and unaware. And when we are distracted and unaware, we will miss the intricate details and softly-spoken directives that God is giving us regarding our purpose and His plan.
We have a specific purpose! Scripture teaches that God predetermined certain boundaries for us before we were ever born (Eph. 1:11). Now though, in Christ Jesus, Paul tells us to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in [us] both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:12-13). What we are in position because of our faith in Christ we must walk out practically—in everyday life here on the earth. Our overarching purpose is to give God glory, and we will as we are conformed into the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29); yet, all of us have a God-ordained, specific purpose that flows into our ultimate conformation. We simply need to be willing participants in the process of transformation.
We need to know and carefully manage our purpose on a daily basis. And clutter may cause mismanagement.
Clutter interrupts the reception from God, and thus we find it difficult to manage the individual, specific purpose for which we have been chosen.
We must get rid of the clutter in our minds and hearts, which oftentimes traps us in the cleft of dysfunction. The racing, and sometimes abrasive, thought patterns; the gravitational pull of feelings that stifle focus; the poor prioritizing that promotes procrastination.
I’ve been there more times than it’s possible to make known fully in a single post.
So, what can we do to get rid of the clutter? There are a few key things that are absolutely necessary for eliminating clutter so that we will have the clarity and capacity to manage our purpose.
1. Ask God to establish your priorities.
Recently I read that we should not prioritize our list; instead, we should only list the priorities. God will help us establish what those priorities are when we allow Him. This is a constant, daily commitment to invite Him into our day—preferably early—to help us place only the important things on the list. To list those things that are essential to getting clear and promoting the capacity to move forward in our purpose.
2. Set boundaries and limit interruptions.
I’m not an expert at this, but recently I have learned to use the Do Not Disturb feature on my smartphone. This way, my alerts are held without disturbing me until I can respond later—at a designated time. This keeps the texting, emailing, and posting commments to a minimum. Except for in the case of genuine emergencies, make a sincere effort to avoid disturbances while you complete the tasks that line up with your God-given purpose. Set boundaries for each day of the coming week, and schedule meetings in such a way that there are set days of replenishment and set days of intensity working toward the goal.
3. Set realistic goals and objectives for the day.
I’ve had to review and revamp my goals and objectives for a particular day many, many times. In most cases, the tasks were either too much or too intense to be completed in one day. Be realistic about your time, and then assign each task a realistic amount of time to adequately and effectively complete it. If you need a quick win, perhaps select one small task that you can do almost effortlessly to build your confidence. If the major task is hard and will take a considerable amount of time, give it the proper space of time. This will help you to avoid the frustration associated with not getting the important things done because you did not consider the time it would take to do each one. It is better to complete one important, hard task that took all day than it is to dabble in many different tasks and not finish one of them.
4. Evaluate often.
What is working? What is not working? I do this near daily. Consistent evaluation of your day is key. Be listening to the Spirit of God as He shows you how to function in purpose with greater efficiency. Ask others, like spouses and children, how you’re doing? Keep your purpose in front of you daily, and make necessary adjustments in activities, meetings, and boundaries to ensure that the path continues as straightaway to your destiny.
Mental and emotional clutter are hindrances that we all face in our attempts to manage purpose. Physical clutter we can see is relatively easy to disband, but the invisible clutter in the mind and heart will warrant greater intentionality. Start with allowing God to be the Master of your purpose. He is the Master, and we are simply managers.
As you learn what He expects, you will also begin to see your shortcomings and the areas you need to address. You can be free of the clutter that hinders you and free to live an abundant life, always managing your purpose.
To truly move forward in our purpose with confidence, we need both clarity and capacity! What’s getting in your way? What changes do you need to make now? Part of getting started is simply noticing. Take notice and make notations.
Let’s talk. Leave a comment and let me know how getting clear and developing capacity has helped you.
What should you do now?