Just like bacon grease poured down the kitchen drain, clutter gunks up the works and keeps life from working well.

(Nancy Twigg)

On Sunday I challenged the people of The Belfrey to use Lent to take stock and to simplify. As I do that for myself I know there’s some de-cluttering to do. It will involve clearing some physical space at home and work. The environment in which we live is more important than most of us realise, as was made clear in a really simple and helpful article in Saturday’s Telegraph (that you can read here). But de-cluttering is also about making space in the mind, heart and soul. And that can only happen by intentionally slowing down.

As I slow down I need guidance and inspiration. So I’m reading various helpful things, and have made some recommendations that I’ve found useful (see 10 Books to Help you Slow Down). But I know my main text needs to be the bible. Particularly Psalms and Proverbs. They’re especially helpful because of their clarity and simplicity. Psalms is particularly good for de-cluttering the soul, and Proverbs for the mind.

Psalms are hymns and prayers to God that emerge out from the ups and downs of life. Sometimes crying out to God, sometimes praising him, they are real, honest and gutsy. In the end there is one focus: God.

Proverbs are wise nuggets of teaching. They are pretty black and white and show what normally happens if we live a certain way. They’re written in such a way as to push you off the fence, making you decide how you’re going to live. That’s no bad thing. (I especially like the Good News translation which I often read with my children, where the no-nonsense approach comes through really clearly!)

So here’s a few words from a Psalm and a Proverb that I’ve been focussing on today. You might like to slow down with me and take a moment to reflect on them for your life.

I waited patiently for The Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire.
He put my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. (Psalm 40:1-2 NIV)

You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say.
What you say can preserve life or destroy it;
So you must accept the consequences of your words. (Proverbs 18:20-21 GNB)

It’s time for some de-cluttering. Let’s slow down. And let’s keep it simple.