Sift Out the Clutter So You Can Focus On The Treasure
When my two boys were little they loved playing in the sandbox their daddy built them.
Their favorite toy was a plastic sifter. It was round and the bottom was filled with small holes. They would scoop way down deep into the sand, lift up the sifter and wait for the sand to fall through the holes to leave all the treasures at the top.
Sometimes we need to take a hard look at our lives and ask ourselves if it is time to do some sifting.
Is it time to sift through the clutter that is filling our lives so we can focus on the things that matter most, the treasures? Family, friends, our own mental and physical health, a dream that God placed deep in our hearts that we have been too busy to make time for?
I grew up in chaos.
The house I grew up in was filled with fussing, fighting, and fear. Most of my young life and into my twenties I felt unimportant. It took me a long time to even be able to say that word to describe how I felt. UNIMPORTANT.
The day I became a mother I vowed to pour out unconditional love, comfort and stability to ensure that my children always felt important.
For my first several years as a parent I thought that struggling to give my boys everything I hadn't had as a child would not only ensure that they grew up into confident adults but that it would also fill the holes that were burned deep into my own heart.
One thing I craved most was to buy a house in the type of neighborhood where families walked their dogs together in the evenings, groups of families planned block parties during football season, and kids crawled the streets trick or treating on Halloween night.
I wanted a home where the front door swung open all day with my boys' friends running in and out. A safe place, a place where all the neighborhood kids gathered.
I was determined to fill the holes in my heart with contentment and security. I had a loving husband. I had two amazingly awesome kids. And I finally had my dream house. Surely I would begin to feel IMPORTANT.
Four years ago my husband and I bought that house. It was in just the right neighborhood. It was larger than life. It was perfect. I was about to make this house into a home.
I decorated that house, invited all my boys' friends over, and waited for the peace and security to set in.
It didn't come. Not really. Not like I was expecting. I loved the house, the four walls. But security didn't come. Even though I had the one last thing I thought would make me happy, I still felt unsatisfied.
So I filled my days with work, volunteering at the boys' school, bible study and coffee dates with my friends.
I kept trucking along, silently falling deeper into sadness. Something was wrong and I couldn't figure out what. I had everything I had ever wanted for me life. The lost, unimportant little girl wasn't around anymore. Or was she?
Two years later we had the opportunity to move for my husband's job. With lots of prayer we decided to sell that house and move to a city four hours away.
The day we were packing up the final boxes I became almost physically ill. I crouched on the bedroom floor, propped myself up against the wall, and sobbed. I was losing the thing that I thought would make me finally feel secure. I felt like a piece of me was being ripped out.
If I didn't have this house to hold on to, my dream of the perfect family life would shatter and then who would I be?
But at the same time, I had this sense that it was what God was asking me to do. To let it go.
It was through the experience of having to sell and move out of that house that God began to reveal some painful but life changing things to me.
I was striving to find my security in stuff, a house, a car, the right neighborhood and all that silly clutter. Not in God or my family.
I was putting material things before my relationship with God or my family. I was looking for security in the wrong place.
My life was filled with clutter, stuff and tasks that kept me from focusing on what mattered to me the most, my treasures. My worth was tied up in filling the holes in my heart with stuff and a pretend secure life that looked really good from the outside. But inside my heart I was a complete wreck.
God forced that time of sifting. He forced that move on us so I would have to let go of that house that I had put up on a pedestal.
I went to work on myself right then and there. Three years later and I am still working on myself. The road is long but full of adventure.
The work I do is to learn to focus on the things, the treasures in my life that matter most. I thought that a "house" would fill the holes. But I have found that what fills the holes in my heart are extra time with my family, the freedom to give to others both in my time and finances, and living out my calling of helping other women to know their worth and to go after the dreams that God has placed on them.
We own another home now. This time we made our decision not based on what others would think but the type of home and community that serves our family's current needs.
I enjoy fixing it up and decorating it and making it our home. Not to find my security in, because that now comes from God and who He created me to be. My purpose is to make it a home, a safe and welcoming place. But also a place that doesn't mask where my security resides.
I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for sifting out the things that aren't important and seeing what treasures are really the most important.
Is it time for you to do some sifting of your own?
Maybe you have such a jam packed schedule that you have no time left over to do anything for yourself. Perhaps your family is missing out on a relaxed and content version of you. It might be time to say no to some things to clear your schedule so you can say yes to the right things, your treasures.
Perhaps there are some relationships in your life that need sifting. Are you surrounding yourself with people that lift you up and encourage you? Or do the people in your life speak negatively and see only the bad in things?
My definition of sifting is asking yourself what is most important in life and having the courage and wisdom to build your life around that.
Ask yourself the following questions, recognize what things from your life are unimportant and let those things sift out. Take notice of the treasures that are remaining. Finally, be brave and get to work building your life around those things.
#1 WHAT IS YOUR MOST CHERISHED/IMPORTANT ROLE?
Stop and grab a pen and paper. Start brain dumping. List out every role you hold. Are you a worker, sister, friend, mom, wife, daughter, car pooler, Jesus-follower? You get the idea. List them out. All of them!
Now list them out in the order of importance. Recognizing our most important roles helps us to sift through the things that can be let go of and focus on the treasures that are most precious to us.
#2 WHAT ABOUT THESE ROLES SETS YOUR SOUL ON FIRE? WHAT DO YOU MOST WANT TO ACCOMPLISH?
As a mom, I want to raise men that are respectful, hard working, compassionate and love the Lord.
As a business owner I want to serve others well, inspire them to believe they can accomplish their goals, and help them to change their lives.
#3 HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBER?
Setting the course for our lives and legacy requires intentional choices to say "no" to those items further down the list so we can "yes" to our most important treasures.
Again...the sifting process is so important. Otherwise we are buried in clutter.
I am going to end with a challenge for you. Have the courage and wisdom to ask yourself these three questions. And then get to work sifting out the clutter so you can dig deep into your treasures. You dream life is waiting!
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