Spring is in the air and with that comes a desire to clean the space in which we've occupied during the cold winter months. The new Netflix series, Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, has been on many of our television screens encouraging us to de-clutter our homes, only leaving behind the items that "spark joy." Although I don't agree with all of Marie's methods, I have to admit it has inspired me to go digging through drawers and closets in my home that have fallen into disarray over time. Sorting through this de-cluttering process in my own home has caused me to take inventory in other areas of my life as well.
For those who aren't aware of this Netflix series, it’s about an expert organizer who enters into people's homes and gives them practical methods of tidying, such as folding clothes, organizing drawers, and simplifying spaces—making them more efficient and aesthetically pleasing. One of the most well-known takeaways from the series is the “Spark Joy” method where you are to hold each item of clothing in your hands and observe whether that item "sparks joy" inside of you or not; and if it doesn't, it's time to say goodbye to said item.
A few days ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and a post ignited a sinking feeling in my stomach. Let's just say it didn't spark joy. It wasn't directed toward me nor was it an overly offensive or obscene post; it was just negative that ignited negative feelings within me. I put my phone down and looked at the pile of clothes I was giving away from my recent closet purge and the thought came to me:
Sometimes, I think we need to clean out our social media like we do our closets.
Everything you read feeds you in one way or another, igniting a reaction whether positive or negative. Input = Output. Negativity breeds Negativity. Anxiety feeds Anxiety while words of Life breed Life. What we allow in the environment around us can directly feed into our moods and emotions without us even recognizing it. Spring cleaning in 2019 for me has now spilled over into my social media, re-evaluating and unfollowing certain pages or people that detract from the atmosphere I am creating for my life with God.
If another person's words are invoking responses in you like anger, anxiety, or negativity, you have given them your attention and the time to do so. Let's be more selective about whom we allow to speak into our lives and influence our emotions this year—even via social media. I had been in the "spark joy" mode having just come out of cleaning my closet that I was able to immediately recognize the emotions that a certain person's post evoked did not fit into the joy category, causing me to wonder why I had allowed their thoughts to take residence in my mind, even for a moment. I had a choice to allow that to occupy space in my life and so do you.
Now hear me out— I'm not saying to cut off everyone who doesn't have the same beliefs, political views or perspective of life as you do, because being Christ-likes calls us to interact and show love to everyone. But we are called to influence the world, not to be influenced by the world. By guarding our hearts and being mindful of the thought space, time and emotions we are giving to other people simply by following them on our feeds can help us recognize what is beneficial to our overall well-being.
As a worship leader, I am ever-conscious of my personal atmosphere as well as the atmospheres of the rooms I enter because my calling—as is the calling of all Christians—is to shift them toward the place of reverence and peace in which God is glorified. So because of that, we must learn to guard our hearts and recognize what is of Him and what is not, so that we can better accomplish that call.
This spring, I encourage you to take inventory. What is taking up unnecessary space? Not just in your closet but in your life. What measures can be taken in order for you to have a spiritually-rich existence? Are you giving your mind and emotions to others who are siphoning joy from you little-by-little, leaving you depleted and depressed?
It's time for some spring cleaning.
If you read and feed off of your “feed”, start being more selective about what you’re ingesting; it can make all the difference. Learn to steward an atmosphere of peace with God and as peace becomes your priority, you will guard it by recognizing its adversary in all aspects of life.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.