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“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” – Can you trust this book?

The New York Times Best Seller is everywhere. But is it a scam offering empty promises? And is it a good idea for Christians to be reading a pretty hardcover about magic?

Life-Changing Magic

Biblical Starting Point:

There are at least three arguments in favor of this secular publication being used to bring about change for a Christian.

  • It’s based on a foundation of changing your mindset. After all, you have been commanded to be transformed by the renewal of your minds; of course testing the facts according to God’s Word so that you may discern if it’s God’s will. (Ps. 119:9; Rom. 12:2)
  • It’s actually focused on not laying up treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, giving you a better chance to lay up treasures in heaven. (Mt. 6:19-20)
  • It’s another opportunity to bring God glory. In whatever you do, word or deed, you are called to do in His name. (Col. 3:17)

Outcomes:

  • Your brain has probably never thought about your stuff the way this author presents it. And all the ways you’ve tried to systemize in the past didn’t work for a good reason.
  • Once you get started, looking at your new living spaces may energize you so much that you will not want to stop.
  • If you welcome these perspectives, you lower your risk of relapse into your old ways. You won’t be so bad about losing things anymore either. The concepts are unforgettable and the method is effective.
  • Having a tidy home can help you better live out your values.
  • This de-cluttering event (it’s not a process) encourages you to create and maintain a lifestyle vision that is true to who you were made to be.
  • By consistently applying these concepts, you improve your decision-making and problem-solving abilities, which can increase your confidence in managing clutter.
  • You can sort out which of your belongings you are inappropriately attached to and why.
  • It can really impact how much you purchase in the future, saving you money and time.
  • Putting your house in order helps you have a better idea of who you are and what you are about.
  • Being organized with your inventory restructures your time in the future so you can draw near to the Lord, improve your relationships, and achieve personal growth.

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:

Push past any initial feelings of dread, stress, or skepticism about this project so you can receive the benefits of being incredibly organized with what you own.

You don’t have to be afraid or be turned off by the marketing or hard sell of this book. Allow the Father to bring you freedom in fresh and unexpected ways.

Don’t be alarmed that the writer shares her cultural and pagan beliefs. Simply pray as you read, and let the Holy Spirit translate her fallacies into truth for you. Think about the Mediterranean diet. You have learned from the Europeans that olive oil and lean meats and fish are healthy, but that doesn’t mean you vacation at nudist beaches. It’s the same here. You can benefit from her ways of thinking about tidying, while you guard against absorbing any of her idolatrous ways.

It’s ok that this kind of change is not so much gradual as it is swift. Sometimes God really shakes things up.

Celebrate the fact that you can learn from a non-Christian teaching when you first filter it through your Biblical worldview, and then use it honorably for your Lord.

Enjoy the results!

Choose your “Word” (An Activity to Help you Focus on your Goals)

Perhaps you’ve heard of other people doing this around New Year’s – choosing a “word” for the year. And now with the month of August comes a slew of students returning to school, summer newlyweds beginning their lives together, many new prayers being uttered, and summer changing to autumn. Therefore, it’s a good time to reconsider the role of having a “word” as a current theme for you.

Keeping Room Tips: 

Perhaps there’s a word that stands out when you are…

…looking at this school year in terms of how you want to grow. Find a verse that uses your “word” several times in it and then decorate your locker with the verse, highlighting your special “word.” If your child is younger, you can encourage him/her to create motions to help memorize and absorb the verse.

…trying to figure out why you’re feeling a certain way. As you ask yourself why you are feeling so frustrated or angry, for example, God might reveal one “word” to you such as “fear” or “hurt.” Once that happens, then you can concentrate your questions around your “word,” asking the Lord to continue to help you look beneath it to find the source of your emotion. Once you find what’s going on underneath, you can seek healing and take action to be at peace.

…considering how your marriage can be a testimony to others. You and your spouse could make a date-night out of determining what “word” describes your marriage or what “word” you want to describe your marriage. Also, when you are in conflict, calling to mind your “word,” (such as “cherish”) may help you work through the issues in a quicker manner. Using your “word” is a fun excuse to hang wall art over your bed, too.

…feeling challenged by a temporary yet difficult season of life. When you find yourself in a place where you are not able to follow your normal life routine, but are instead called to put all your efforts into one issue or problem, a thematic “word” can give you permission to keep the less urgent on the back-burner until this matter is complete. Possible words at such a time could be: “caregiver”  “taxi driver”  “hostess” or “night watchman.”  Your ability to focus on the present goals can be enhanced when you think of your “word.”

…reading your Bible and praying. God could be giving you a specific message.  Journaling about this “word” is a tool that could enhance your conversation with Him in order to really understand what message He is sending you.

…answering the question, “How would you describe your relationship with God?” Once a “word” comes to mind, consider whether you want to celebrate that as your description, or work on your relationship with Him so that you end up with a new “word.”

How good is a timely word! (Prov. 15:23)

Bridging the Gap (Living on Earth while Belonging to Heaven)

The most important modeling you could ever do for others is to demonstrate the various ways you personally bridge the gap between the secular world in which you live and the eternal world to which you belong.

But maybe you don’t feel like you’re very good at it yourself. That’s ok. Jesus has perfectly modeled it for you so that you can look to Him in order to know how to be a good example for others.

Keeping Room Tips:

Imitate Christ’s Time Management – Find solitary places to pray each morning, remaining in prayer long enough to make people wonder where you are, and long enough to be ready to do what you’ve been called to do. (Mark 1:35-38). That means others see you allowing God to schedule your day for you, even if He asks you to make sacrifices in order to live out His purpose for you.

Imitate Christ’s Balance of Tasks & Relationships – Know when to sit at His feet (Lk. 10:41-42), how to give to your relationships (Phil. 2:17), when to get to work (Mt. 9:38), and for Whom you’re working (Jn. 5:17, 36). That means others see you doing only the activities that He asks specifically of you; not the work that others are doing.

Imitate Christ’s Humility – Have the same purpose as the Father and consider others better than yourself. (Phil. 2:2,3). That means others see you thinking of God’s big picture for His people, treating them accordingly.

Imitate Christ’s Attitude – Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who took the very nature of a servant, being reduced to human likeness. (Phil. 2:5,7). That means others see you serving them, especially if it means you get especially lessened or soiled in doing so.

Imitate Christ’s Connection to the Father – Ask His work to be done through you (Jn. 14:10). That means others see you sharing what God is doing in your life, acknowledging His goodness shining through despite your sinful nature.

Imitate Christ’s Preparation for His Second Coming – Much of the world is going to turn away from the faith, but remind your brothers and sisters to stand firm for Him and the Truth of His Word, through the distress, until the end. (Mt. 24:4-35). That means others see you defending Him and the Holy Scriptures, no matter what the world thinks of you.

Imitate Christ’s Kingdom Identity – You are not of the world any more than Jesus was’ yet He was fully engaged in it and so must you be. (Jn. 17) That means others see you investing, yet not compromising.

Aging According to the Kingdom

Modern culture advertises the aging process as something negative that you are to resist and conceal. And perhaps society has reached this view because of the many persons who live with no future hope and the elderly who put forth no effort. But have you considered what the Kingdom culture has to say about aging?

“Gray hair is a Crown of Splendor.” (Prov. 16:31) Do not misinterpret this verse to mean “Thou shall not color your gray hair.”  Rather, this verse is a perfect companion to “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Mt. 25:21) This verse reminds you that the Lord is waiting to crown you (with a Crown of Splendor!) when you have reached the end of serving Him in this life, and are ready to enter complete rest in eternal life. This verse can provide so much relief for you, and enables you to accept aging in a much more peaceful way than the world would have you to view it.

“The righteous will bear fruit in old age.” (Ps. 92:12-14) The message in this verse is the exact opposite of the message given by the world today. The righteous, those with Jesus active in their hearts, need not enter their senior years fretting over aging. He wants to keep you occupied (Eccl. 5:20) and bear fruit through you (Jn. 15:7). Life-changing prayers can make it to heaven even from your rocking chair.

You do not have to be “stuck in your ways” – even at an old age. God never stops helping you change. “Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born.” (Gen. 21:5) This was the son through whom the forever covenant with God was made…and he was born to his father in old age. No doubt Abram changed more about himself than his name when he became the father to the nations as an elderly man.

Keeping Room Tips: Society has looked around and seen those in the older population who dread death, who don’t produce good fruit even though they could, and who are very much “stuck in their ways.”  And it has concluded that senior living is to be dreaded (unless you can afford to live in a fancy retirement community in Florida). But it doesn’t have to be that way.

  • Dig into God’s Word for yourself, asking Him to lead you to verses and stories about aging according to the Kingdom.
  • Make a Mission Statement or an Aging Plan for how you will live out your senior years according to what you find while exploring God’s Word.
  • Encourage your family members to dismiss the world’s view of aging and assume the Kingdom view.

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Is. 46:4)

A Hope Check-List

Christians, you have Hope as an anchor for your soul (Heb. 6:19). But, there are times you may be living your life as if you’re hopelessly drifting out to sea instead of operating as someone who is hope-filled and anchored to Christ. To track your recent course, you can use the 2 lists below as a checklist.

Are you Fueling Hopelessness by:

-focusing on your circumstances or only what you can see and touch

-following the up and down movement of your feelings

-accumulating a large collection of expectations about the way things should be

-worrying or complaining in place of praying

-seeing suffering as something that should always be avoided

-failing to schedule times of renewal

-distrusting and disliking yourself or others

-maintaining an undersized world of people and activities

-talking to others and to yourself in a manner that breeds constant negativity

“And they said, ‘That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and each one will obey the dictates of his evil heart.’” (Jer. 18:12, NKJV)

Are you Fueling Hope by:

-communicating with your Living God about your dreams and your daily tasks

-paying attention to the big-picture promises and truths from the Bible

-letting God’s Word minister to you and instruct you

-continually learning fresh ways to pray

-searching for hidden treasures in your pain

-purposely and restfully connecting with God through various spiritual endeavors such as prayer, worship, time in nature, fasting, sacrificing, creating, giving, and serving

-working in partnership with God to make you into the best version of who you are

-asking God to show you His great big vision and purpose for living

-creatively and freely investing in the cause and passion at your core

-allowing yourself to get close with people who want to love you into hopefulness

“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” (Ps. 31:24, NKJV)

Keeping Room Tips:

Continue to fuel Hope (and therefore joy) in your life, and then find people in your neighborhood AND clear across the world who feel lost or forgotten and make it your life-long mission to help them find the same Hope that you have.

“I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more…for surely there is a hereafter, and my hope…laid up for me in heaven…will not be cut off.”  (Ps. 71:14, Col. 1:5, Prov. 23:18, NKJV)