Out of Sync

Just over a year ago, I became a first-time-homeowner. That may not sound like a spiritual experience … but, I assure you, it is.

My most recent confirmation of this began last month, when I declared war on clutter.

After moving into my new (old) house – which required cleaning out at least two storage units and the attic of my parents house – I discovered that I was up to my ears in clutter.

My first attempt was to try to manage the clutter.


Clutter refuses to be managed.

I engaged in attempt after failed attempt. Finally, the time came to launch an all-out assault against the clutter.

I gave away furniture and linens and kitchen items and clothes. I recycled and organized and discarded. I spent a portion of each of the 28 days of February working my way through boxes and drawers and closets.

I would love to say that I’ve finished (we all know better than that, don’t we?) but the extraordinary thing about this project is not the completion of it  … it’s the reflection that occurred along the way.

Like an archaeologist, I sifted through the remains of my previous lives: piecing together histories, wondering at riddles, and trying to understand someone who lived a (seemingly) long time ago.

Like an anthropologist, I used the evidence in front of me to trace the development of someone I (almost) don’t recognize: the child who hid, the girl who obeyed, the woman who sought.

The experience was both strange and profound.

After a month of clearing clutter, I have recently found myself sneaking quiet moments with seed catalogs, planning this year’s garden. This yearning points me toward a timeless truth: once space is cleared, things begin to germinate and grow.

Though the season of Lent doesn’t start until next week, I’ve already been on a journey through the wilderness. (I guess you could say that I’m a bit out of sync with the liturgical calendar.)

Lent is the time when we engage in disciplines that help us clear away the clutter and cultivate space for God to be at work in us, the time when we take a closer look at who we are and who we’ve been along the way.

Lent, too, is a strange and profound experience: one that can easily be minimized by convincing ourselves that the focus of the season is on giving up soda or chocolate.

Instead … clear the clutter; make space; wonder; investigate;examine; remember. Give yourself the time to listen for the quickening of seeds within you that God is germinating.


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About MargaretAnne

Preacher, Writer, Aunt, Composter, Sew-er, Crafter, Dog-lover, World-traveler, Artist, Canner, Cook, Pray-er, Sister, Retreat-leader, Reader, Daughter.

6 responses to “Out of Sync”

  1. Trey Dockery says :

    Great insight, Meg. We are doing the same thing here. Over the years we have accumulated so much (junk/clutter/stuff) that we dont have room for God to bring anything new to come into our lives. So the Dockery family is clearing out and opening the door for new things to come in.

    Hope you are doing great!

    Trey & Deb

    • MargaretAnne says :

      Trey! So good to hear from you. Glad to hear the Dockery clan is doing well … and that you all are opening yourself to new things. Thanks for your post … and say “hi” to the family for me.

  2. Ann B. Howerton says :


    Great writing and insight!

    Resistance to management is in the DNA of CLUTTER. Somewhere along the way I came to the realization “If you don’t know where it is, it is the same thing as not having it”. I am WAY to attention deficit disordered to acquire more than is absolutely necessary. That, however, was not always true for me.

    Your friend and sister in Christ

    • MargaretAnne says :

      “If you don’t know where it is, it’s the same thing as not having it.” I love that! I’m going to have to remember that, Annie! Hope you’re doing well. It feels like forever since I’ve seen you!

  3. Alice Thodoropoulos says :

    Clutter—one of my greatest enemies; however, I did appreciate your analogy of God de-cluttering our lives iin order to bring in new things. That gave fresh meaning to my efforts and also helped me see beyond the ‘mountain of messiness’ that threatens to overtake my life at any given time.
    Thanks for your insight,

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