Devotional–Too Much Stuff from The Struggle of Sanctification by Sonya Johnson
Last month, I decided that a couple of changes were needed to simplify my life. And after thinking for too long, I decided that I would declutter. What else did I need to get rid of? I did the Big Chop when I relocated to Florida. I am not a hoarder, but realized that I could never go to the extreme–is minimalism a learned behavior?
The battle of the mind started when I opened my closet, dressers, and cabinets. As I looked at my possessions, an internal war raged because everything I own is affectionately loved. No, I am not sentimental. The things that make my home cozy and my bohemian clothing were not impulsive purchases. I fell in love with every eclectic thing that I own while looking at them in the store.
Although my possessions would be of little monetary value to others, they were hand-picked and remain priceless to me. As a tsunami wave of sorrow passed through my mind, body, and soul, I decided to close the closet door and the kitchen cabinets. I did not have too much stuff. 95% of the items I own are for practical use. Yet, I knew that something was wrong. My mind was constantly working overtime.
“A large part of our brain is devoted to processing the sensory inputs that we receive from the world.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
Every day we face unavoidable sensory input. Staying current with our dynamic world requires a lot of time and mental energy. Whether we are employed, stay-at-home moms or dads, or retired, most of us strive to keep up with the current tech advancements, political and social issues, the news, and unexpected life events. Yet, many fail to realize the impact that the additional noise [from the busyness of our lives, continuous stimuli of social media and electronic devices] has on our minds and bodies.
The endless streaming of daily newsworthy events, online games, social issues, DIY programs, and research on the chemicals in our foods and skin products resulted in a cluttered mind that robbed me of a peaceful existence. My sleep pattern changed and I began suffering from insomnia again–a condition known to accelerate premature aging and weaken the Immune system.
After many sleepless nights of staying awake until 6 am, I prayed for God’s help. God always answers prayers immediately when we are in harm’s way. Later that evening, a sermon appeared in my YouTube recommendations and the pastor spoke on the things that clutter our minds, leaving us exhausted and eventually separating us from God.
When the activities of daily living leave us feeling overwhelmed, it is difficult to determine the root of the problem. Societal norms force us to embrace the advancements of technology and electronics, the daily updates of social media, and the news which negatively impacts our health by leaving our brains cluttered. Most people utilize electronic apps to relax and fall asleep.
Our brains were not created to absorb the excessive screen time of daily electronic usage.
Even more devastating, the never-ending stimuli interrupt our spiritual connection with God. We are so bombarded that we [unintentionally] place God last on our list of priorities. At the end of the day, mental and physical exhaustion prevents us from having meaningful worship with our Heavenly Father. Our concentration is weakened and we cannot focus to study the Bible or communicate with God through prayer. Often though the trade-off is watching the nightly news and then falling asleep.
Too much stuff will always be the norm of today’s lifestyle. Yet, we can decide to identify, prioritize, and eliminate the over-stimuli, especially if it keeps us from a meaningful relationship with our Heavenly Father. Go ahead and change your habits and life by decluttering the stimuli you love.
Prayer: God, we pray for Your Divine Intervention. Please reveal the stuff that is keeping us mentally and physically exhausted and from experiencing daily spiritual growth. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.