Last year around this time, I wrote a post about my need for some soul-level spring cleaning.
Once again, as winter becomes spring (slowly but surely), I’m feeling the urge to purge my life of so much stuff — stuff around my house and stuff cluttering up my soul. I’m revamping last year’s post with some new thoughts about what I need to kick out of my life in this season.
If you’re in need of some soul-level spring cleaning, I hope you’ll find these practices helpful.
1. Take stock of what you have.
A good spring-cleaning purge starts with figuring out what you have that’s useful and beautiful. At the soul level, this means taking stock of the things you’re grateful for: relationships, a hobby, a ministry, moments with God, upcoming events, a way you’ve grown.
These are a few things I’m grateful for as I surface from winter.
- God’s maternal heart. Throughout my faith journey, I’ve struggled to feel loved by a tender God. Becoming a mom is helping me to finally understand the depth of his love for me.
- My husband, Dan. We’re both feeling the strain to adjust to our new roles as parents while still prioritizing each other as husband and wife. It’s harder than I thought it would be, but I can’t imagine trying to figure this out with anyone else. He is the life partner God knew I needed.
- My sweet girl, Selah. When I wrote this post last year, I knew I was pregnant but I hadn’t shared it here yet. There were a few days early on in my pregnancy when I thought I was losing her, including last year on Easter when it truly seemed like I was having a miscarriage. But here I am a year later, with a healthy and (mostly) happy baby. I take more delight in her and I love her more fiercely than I ever imagined I could.
- My mom. I don’t know that I’ve ever needed my mom more than when I became a mom myself. I’ve learned so much about sacrificial, unconditional, motherly love from her.
- This blog. I started this blog a little over a year ago, and I had no idea just how much it (and I) would grow: I’ve made some amazing friends, taken risks, and learned so much about creativity.
2. Purge the things that are weighing you down.
Just like you’d purge the items that are broken, no longer used, or taking up unnecessary space, do the same thing with your life. Consider your schedule, your work, your relationships, your hobbies, your kids’ activities, your habits, your sins.
What needs to go? What is sucking the life out of you? What are you doing that doesn’t have a purpose for God or for your family? Which thorny sins are stuck in your skin?
Here’s a small picture of what I’m purging.
- Skipping straight to the worst-case scenario and letting my mind spiral out with worry (which Dan so lovingly calls “catasrophizing”).
- Slathering on the mom guilt like it’s a necessary moisturizer. (It’s not.)
- Scrolling my phone when I have a few minutes to spare.
- Jumping from task to task to task without finishing one.
- Assuming I’m the only one having a tough time at any given moment.
3. Notice what’s missing and take steps toward closing the gaps.
When you purge the old from your closets and your cabinets, it’s often apparent that there are holes to fill in and things that are missing. Getting rid of the old helps us to see where these gaps are. As you let God sweep away the broken pieces of your soul, notice what you need to fill up with instead. It could actually be nothing, just silence. It may be directly related to what you purged. It could be something new altogether.
I know there are many holes that we often can’t fill ourselves. You may be dreaming of a husband or a baby or to be debt-free, and you know that these things are not entirely within your control. That said, consider what small steps you can take to move toward your good desires.
You may want to step out of your comfort zone and talk to someone new once a week. You may want to change your diet or have a conversation with your husband. You may need to talk with a financial planner. These are not solutions or quick fixes, but they are healthy steps that are within your control.
Here are the steps I’m taking to fill in some gaps:
- Repeating my current mantra for as long it as takes for me to calm down or to believe something better about myself: “One day at a time. One day at a time.”
- Keeping a book with me at all times and reading it whenever I have a few minutes. Better yet, praying as God prompts me first, then picking up the book.
- Closing the tabs, literally and figuratively, and focusing on one task until it’s complete. (It’s not possible to do this perfectly when you have a baby who loves to wake up 30 minutes into nap time, but it’s worth a try.)
- Asking my people how they’re doing, what I may be missing, and how I can support them.
That last point is a big one for me right now. I’m discouraged by the number of people in my life who are experiencing the most heart-wrenching trials they’ve ever had to face. Lately I’ve been asking for sharper eyes to see with and emptier hands to help with. And to tell you the truth, the more I look outside myself and act on behalf of others, the less I feel burdened by my own struggles. We used to sing a song at church, and though I can’t seem to find the actual lyrics by searching the trusty Google, it went something like this:
In prayer for others let me find the secret of release.”
That is my prayer for this season. Help me to release what’s weighing me down by embracing the needs of others.
It’s spring. It’s the season of lightness and brightness and freshness. Let’s do the work necessary to refine our souls, not just our homes. Let’s stretch our limbs and our comfort zones. Let’s turn our faces to the sun. Let’s let the Lord make us new.These 3 steps will help you do some soul-level #springcleaning. Click To Tweet