Tranquility… My soul thirsts for it. I long for just thirty minutes of uninterrupted quiet time in the morning when I can gather my thoughts, pray, and read something inspiring. Some days it doesn’t happen and as the day unfolds and my life gets filled with STUFF, I get more and more frustrated and thirsty for tranquility.
Speaking of STUFF, this week we put the Christmas tree up. Before we brought it up from the basement storage area, we had to move some furniture in the living room to clear space for it. There, beside the couch, was that pile of STUFF – unopened mail, magazines turned back to articles unfinished, books loaned to me by friends but unread, and paperwork that needed to be filed. The stack was about 12 inches high. With a hugh sigh, I placed it on the couch. My intentions were to go through it, sort, file, and throw away. However, 24 hours later, I still hadn’t done it so I picked up the pile again and placed it back on the floor next to the couch. “Maybe next week,” I thought, “Or, after Christmas when things slow down.”
Our lives get cluttered with STUFF, which robs us of our tranquility. And, I don’t mean just STUFF in the physical sense. Our emotional, mental, and spiritual lives also collect clutter. Worry, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, all pile up and attribute to our lack of tranquility. We sometimes can’t deal with this pile of STUFF so we shove it back down in our hearts, to be faced when things slow down. But things never slow down and we keep adding to the pile.
Mary Jenson, in her book Still Life, writes the following, “We want to worry about less. We want to feel clean, purified, at peace inside. We want order without and calm within. But so often our attempts at simplicity go awry. Or nowhere. Or get lost in a pile. Is there any woman who doesn’t feel this need keenly almost every day? When it gets too strong, I usually start cleaning. The clutter around me reminds me of the clutter within. So I attack the garage, the Tupperware collection, the junk drawer in the kitchen. I even throw out superfluous cosmetics I’m convinced I’ll never need… But a month later the spaces are filled again.”
Clutter collects in every household and in every mind and heart. The question is, how do we get rid of it? How do we reach tranquility in the process of doing life overloaded with STUFF? For me, purging the emotional, mental, and spiritual has to take priority over the physical clutter. That is why I need at least thirty minutes a day (in the morning) to de-clutter my mind and heart before God. Some days it is confessing my shortcomings and asking for forgiveness, mercy, grace, and a greater measure of faith. Some days it is surrendering all those things I try to control but cannot. Some days it is praising and thanking Him for everything and everyone that He has placed in my path. Some days it is sitting quietly and doing nothing.
Do you yearn for tranquility? Is STUFF getting in your way? Take some time to spend with your Creator!