Decluttering can be hard, especially when you have kids. As a mother, you understand the benefits of decluttering your rooms and surfaces, but your kids might not understand as clearly. As Christian parents, we can teach our children spiritual truths and lessons in the midst of decluttering.
It teaches them the value of stewardship
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”
1 Peter 4:10
Stewardship is a fairly misunderstood word in the church today; It’s most basic definition is the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as property. Considering matters of faith, it also means “utilizing and managing all the resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.”
When we come to this word with the goal of decluttering as a person of faith, a new layer appears: seeing our items (toys, books, clothes, etc) as resources belonging to God. We can then teach this definition to our kids by explaining that everything we have is by God’s grace bestowed to us, although mom, dad, or a grandparent may have bought it, once it becomes ours, it is up to us to take good care of it. We are called to be good stewards of our gifts and resources. So the doll or fire truck that you haven’t played with in six months, which has been collecting dust under the bed? It’s a good idea to give it a new home.
It emphasizes the importance of self-reflection
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?” Matthew 7:4
Each time we lay hands on an item in our home, we make a decision: where to put it next. It may sound so simple, but it’s true! In that moment we are internally thinking about what the toy or object is, why it is in that spot, and where it needs to be. We are actively reflecting on what we are doing, whether we realize this or not.
Our children, in this, are learning to heed to their own thought processes, how to make decisions, and what to do with those decisions. Whether you realize it or not, we are constantly self-reflecting on what is going on right in front of us.
Decluttering is an intentional way to do just that – self-reflect.
Do our actions line up with God’s word, or should we change a thought process or take a different path of action? Does this item (or situation, or decision, etc) bring me joy or cause me chaos – and what can I do about that? These are lessons we can teach to our children.
It cultivates an intentional heart
“The Lord teaches us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Numbering our days isn’t something we like to think about, but it’s true. When we pause to reflect on our lives and decisions, we tend to think about how we spend our time. Regular self-reflection leads to becoming intentional in our daily decisions.
Another phrase for being intentional is with purpose – and that is exactly what decluttering is – choosing what you will keep and will not keep, with purpose. And as we all know, time is measured in numbers; Decluttering teaches your kids to quite literally number her items, and make a choice that will lead to a beneficial outcome. Coaching our kids through making these decisions in decluttering cultivates an international heart in them, as they learn how to number and reflect on their decisions and how they spend their time.
It underscores the reasons for pause
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Pause may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we declutter, but it is quite literally what we do when we make decisions.
Think about it – you have a choice to make. You then interrupt what you are doing and temporarily stop your action or speech to reflect (point #2) and make a decision. Then, you stop and seek wisdom in what to do next. You pause and seek God in order to make a wise decision.
Our kids are also making decisions all-the-day long, while they may not have the self-awareness yet to realize it. We can come alongside them in this and teach them how important it is to pause – take a step back and reflect on what to do next. In this we can teach them to seek God in order to make wise decisions.
This may be done out loud, in prayer, by remembering Scriptures, by song – these are the tools we are teaching our kids each day as Christian parents; seek God first, in all the decision you make. Pause, and pray. Pause, then decide.
See also: Mom, God promises you sleep
It molds their lives toward Christ
“He must increase, but I must decrease”
As Christian parents, our goal is to raise independent, self-aware, children in God’s image who yearn to seek God and live by faith in all they do. We long to see our kids emulating Christ in what they do and how they live.
Every day as parents we have a decision to make: How will we teach our kids the love of Christ in the mundane? By teaching our kids to declutter we are actively showing them stewardship, self-reflection, intentionality, and the act of pausing.
We are teaching our kids to live in a way that seeks purpose in each step; Walking by faith, in the mundane everyday decisions. Because Jesus is there, in the midst of the toys, in the midst of the messy rooms, in the midst of learning how to be human. And He is always walking alongside us – and our children – picking up the pieces, decluttering our world-stained hearts, and giving us His peace.
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