A new year begins: it’s decluttering season! Just ask every magazine on the newsstand.
Magically, purging my possessions is supposed to make me feel– What? Free? Peaceful? Renewed?
Except for one thing. It doesn’t work that way.
Even The Minimalists admit, “It is possible to get rid of everything you own and still be utterly miserable, to come home to your empty house and sulk after removing all your pacifiers.”
Pacifiers? What lurks in me that requires pacifying?
Those Minimalist guys explain, “When you get rid of the vast majority of your possessions, you’re forced to confront your darker side.”
I Have a Dark Side?
There’s more that needs cleaning out than my closet.
I need to declutter myself.
I need to deal with my dark side—the side I cannot see through clouded eyes.
Pride, like a dark fog, can obscure my view of my own failings. A black past can shroud me in self-loathing. Fear can paint a shadow over my entire world. Blinded, I grope through my present, clueless about my future.
I’m not seeing myself as I really am. I’m not even seeing reality as it really is. I have no idea what’s wrong with me or my world, nor what to do about it. I only know I’m not at peace.
So I grab pacifiers.
What I really need is a pure light . . . and a perfect mirror.
I recently watched this story of a man forced to declutter. Everything was taken away from him.
Then something remarkable happened: reverse decluttering.
He got to take one thing back.
Watch and find out what he chose.
Light and a Mirror
Reduced to nothing, Bounchan chose the one thing that could bring light to his darkness. The Bible allowed him to see himself, his present circumstances, and his future as they really are. As God sees them.
I like how Blaise Pascal, the mathematician, scientist, and philosopher, explained this:
“Not only do we know God by Jesus Christ alone, but we know ourselves only by Jesus Christ.
We know life and death only through Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ, we do not know what is our life, nor our death, nor God, nor ourselves.
Thus, without Scripture, which has Jesus alone for its object, we know nothing, and see only darkness and confusion in the nature of God, and in our own nature.”
– Blaise Pascal, (Pensées, 547)
Were I Bounchan…
Bounchan made me think.
I do not live in imminent danger of losing everything. At least, not to my knowledge . . .
But life is unpredictable. One tornado, one war, one accident and it could all be gone.
Like Bounchan, I cannot be content with mere pacifiers. I want peace.
So I have decided to take one thing into this new year: God’s Word, the Bible. It’s the one thing I want in my hands, in my head, in my heart. It has proven to be the purest light to illuminate my path through life. It is the one flawless mirror that shows me who I really am.
Because in the Bible I see Jesus Christ. And through Him I can finally see everything else.
If your life were forcibly decluttered like Bounchan’s, what one thing would you bring back?