I’m not a clutter person. At least, I didn’t think so.
The people I live with know if they sit a glass down on the counter for more than 10 seconds, I’m likely to relocate it to the dishwasher. As for the various papers and clutter my kids bring home from school by the truckload? My motto is “Put it away or I throw it away.”
Clutter doesn’t stand a chance in my house. So I thought. Until a few years ago when I noticed a thread of connection between my near-obsessive approach to house-tidying and my untamed anxiety and insecurity. It wasn’t hard to see the truth: the more out-of-control I felt on the inside, the more I tried to control my outside.
My friend, Kathi Lipp, said it this way:
“When we can’t order our internal world, we can work really hard to order our external world.”
Yes, that’s it exactly. Which is precisely what she and I talked about last week when I sat in her San Jose studio and recorded this episode of her Clutter Free Podcast (LISTEN HERE).
Kathi is known for her humor and how-to approach to helping you eliminate clutter (and, if you haven’t checked out her Clutter Free Academy, you need to). She invited me to her studio to talk about the invisible clutter that’s interfering with our day-to-day life: Cluttered Emotions.
To begin, I define “cluttered emotions” as anything that interferes with:
- Your confidence in who you are
- Your ability to live out your calling
You may not have many of these, or you may be quite the collector. To help you decide, these cluttered emotions can be called by different names: Insecurity, anxiety, fear, shame, regret, unforgiveness, anger. Need I go on?
It’s impossible to dissect these monsters lurking in our closets in a 30 minute podcast. Thus, Kathi and I narrowed the list down to my top two (and the two I hear most often from you): Insecurity and fear. We get down and dirty and practical, and I do my best to offer you solid how-to to clean up your internal clutter. Listen in and let you know what you think. And, in case you miss the how-to while you listen, I listed my process below.
Steps to take to clean up the cluttered emotion of INSECURITY:
- Recognize the pattern
- Identify the negative emotion and/or repeating message (i.e. “I can’t do anything right!”)
- Reframe the experience
- Verbalize a new message
Steps to untangle cluttered emotion of FEAR (a.k.a. worry, anxiety):
- Identify the dominant emotion. (i.e. I may feel angry, but behind that anger is usually fear)
- Get clear on the facts. Fear is a master liar.
- Write down the truth, with no embellishment or what-ifs.
- Root yourself on the truth of scripture and pray through your circumstances and emotions.
- Ask yourself: What could this make possible? How could this actually work for good in the long run?
Do you have any emotional clutter? If so, what helps you untangle it?