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Decluttering My Mind, Freedom from the Pile(s)

Recently I've seen posts popping everywhere about decluttering, minimizing, simplifying. Seems like people are trying to get out from under their piles, literally.

People are repeating it:
excess = stress,
less = rest.

This year sparked a new pondering for me, "What if I made more space for my thoughts? What does it involve to declutter my mind?"

I think it all goes hand in hand--possessions, clutter, thoughts, stress, space, rest. After all, my soul is made for perfect Rest, and until then, I will try to achieve it in various ways (which are not unworthy endeavors, you readers know I've been minimizing my closet since before "capsule wardrobe" was a thing!).

This week, I am reminded that I have more Rest than I utilize from time to time.

And when I pause and remember, when I weed out the other thoughts, I declutter my mind.

This week I finished reading the book of Ezra, and a text in chapter 9 jumped out at me--one wherein Ezra prayed to God audibly. He earnestly thanked God for His presence, though the experience brief, and though it required a great effort.

I was struck at my own experience--because of Jesus, I always have God's presence, and it is without any effort on my part! (Ephesians 2:8-9)

As I read along with each phrase that Ezra prayed, God brought to my mind a verse from the New Testament, which I jotted in the margin. Each verse reminded me how my interaction with God is strikingly different than that of Ezra's (or anyone's before the birth of Christ) and not because of anything I have done, but because of what Jesus has done!

I read Ezra 9:6, "O my God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to You. For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached to the heavens."

And God reminded me of Roman's 8:1, "For there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

I read Ezra 9:8a, "But now we have been given a brief moment of grace."

And God brought to my mind John 1:16, "We have all received grace upon grace."

I read Ezra 9:8b, "Our God has...granted us some relief from our slavery." 

And God spoke Romans 6:6, "We are no longer slaves to sin."

And because my college mentor taught me Romans 6 in its entirety, and because I, myself, have been sharing it with college women for the last 15 years, I remembered well the context of that last one:

"We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with Him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and He will never die again. Death no longer has any power over Him. When He died, He died once to break the power of sin. But now that He lives, He lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus."  Romans 6:6-11

And I breathe this prayer which declutters my mind: 
Thank you Jesus. I am not under the pile. I am free, and your graces are never-ending.
May I not get distracted by the piles of life, but may I remember that the most important pile has already been eliminated! 

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