Welcome the New Year with a Decluttered Heart

The tall, imposing cabinet would make a wonderful wardrobe passage to Narnia in a stage play of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Our huge cherry entertainment center fought for space with the new sofas we added to the living room; it demanded notice and changed comfortable into crowded.

After donating our past-its-prime monstrosity, we purchased another entertainment center. The shorter, light-colored piece creates a new look and magically enlarges the space—now cozy but not crowded.

The room is prettier, more spacious, and it makes me happy.

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Removing what hinders and adding what refreshes can bring a smile, a deep breath, or a fresh view that somehow lightens our step. New renews.

Simply exchanging an on-its-deathbed plant for a shiny green one or replacing uneaten holiday leftovers in the fridge with crisp salad fixings delights us.

What about a new year? Replacing the 2019 calendar with a 2020 version offers a clean slate, a deep breath moment, a fresh start.

Heart, Sylvester, Fireworks

How would you like 2020 to be different from 2019? Attempting to remodel our entire life at once is overwhelming and usually results in failure. What if we start with decluttering one room—the room of our heart?

Are there negative attitudes looming large and crowding out godly ones? Is there room for joy, patience, and kindness instead? (I’m answering the questions along with you.)

Negative attitudes about people or situations encroach on our peace and crowd the fun out of life. These insidious invaders slip under the gate when we don’t guard our thoughts. Then, the scoundrels can fester and grow until their poison seeps out to taint those around us.

These pests, called sin by God, become our “pets” when we refuse to give them up and instead protect and nourish them, insisting that we’re justified in “feeling this way” (James 4:17).

I mean…seriously, look how THEY act!

I just don’t FEEL like forgiving her. SHE’S the one who was rude.

Why is her life SO easy while mine is SO hard? It’s not fair.

I could accept her IF she would just…

These negative attitudes crowd our minds like oversized furniture commandeering center stage. They refuse to share space with thoughts of forgiveness, gratitude, contentment, and the needs of others.

Negative attitudes also thwart the work of God in our hearts. When I consider sinful attitudes that creep into my mind, I’m thankful for the following truth:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

Removing the clutter of negative attitudes by confessing them opens our heart space for God’s forgiveness and His transforming work in us.

In the heart of believers, the Holy Spirit cultivates new attitudes and produces the refreshing fruit of the Spirit that honors God and blesses those around us (Galatians 5:22-23). With clean hearts focused on our heavenly Father, we can learn to say with Paul, “for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (1 Timothy 6:6).

Welcome Sign, Garden Decoration, Welcome, Home

A clean heart filled with contentment and gratitude welcomes a new year of God’s work in our lives. Would you agree?

As we prepare our hearts for 2020, what changes will we make? Which old “pieces” need to be removed from our hearts? Which new “pieces” will we ask God to produce in us?

How refreshing it will be to welcome the new year with a decluttered heart!

I’m praying for you, dear reader, as I pray for myself, that God will guide us through a purposeful and peaceful year as we seek to know Him better and allow Him to remove negative attitudes and refresh our hearts.

I hope you’ll share strategies that help you develop biblical attitudes because we all need encouragement on this first day of 2020. Happy New Year, friends.

Please feel free to share this post!

34 thoughts on “Welcome the New Year with a Decluttered Heart

  1. Well said Ms. Jeannie. It’s less a “declutter” issue (I think), and more a “Surrender” issue, but my 2020 goal is to reach a faster “Yes Lord” when His urging comes. There’s clutter all around me, none moreso than the past couple of weeks when we have three children in our normally quiet, organized home. 🙂 Dealing with it, as you point out so well, is best handled one room, one task, at the time. God’s blessings for a tremendous 2020 ma’am.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      J. D., you are absolutely right that “decluttering” our heart is a “surrender issue.” Sometimes it’s hard to let go of negative feelings, but God enables us when we surrender to His ways. Thank you for pointing out the main issue. Blessings to you and the Mrs. in 2020.

  2. This is a powerful post, Jeannie. There are many areas to declutter- not just piling up in a neat stack or rearranging, but real removal and replacement wit God’s choice of decor. Thanks for starting the year with much to ponder. Happy New Year.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Marilyn, I appreciate your comments more than you know. Your phrase “not just piling up in a neat stack or rearranging, but real removal and replacement wit God’s choice of decor” reminds us that without total repentance and acceptance of God’s ways, we’ll find our hearts cluttered with our own will rather than His. Thank you for a powerful reminder!

  3. SO powerful, Jeannie. This is exactly what I needed to hear to start my day and my year!! As I throw out the old leftovers from my fridge today, I’m going to be praying for God to expose what needs to be thrown out of my heart to make room for His gracious work. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Jean, thank you for adding a practical way to form our prayers as we seek God’s conviction and forgiveness. His work is indeed gracious!

  4. Jeannie,
    This is my favorite line in your whole blog post: “These negative attitudes crowd our minds like oversized furniture commandeering center stage.” When you drew such a great word picture of your giant entertainment center, you gave me the biblical perspective on how much space negative thoughts, actions, and attitudes take up in my heart. I can practically see them, sitting there, looming over everything good and squishing it to the side.
    No way! Uh-uh! Not any more. Out you go. I’m making room for something beautiful!

    Thanks for this practical yet inspired challenge today.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Lori, I love your description of the negatives. Your phrase “making room for something beautiful” encourages us to confess, submit to God’s plans, and later rejoice at His work in our hearts. I appreciate you stopping by.

  5. “Negative attitudes thwart the work of God in our hearts.” How true this is and a great way to start the the New Year is with new attitudes!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your thoughts. Yes, focusing on the Lord and confessing bad attitudes is indeed a great way to start the year.

  6. Thank you Jeannie for the great picture of how allowing Jesus to be the center piece in our lives brings His peace in any circumstance.
    I also thank the Lord for intertwining you into my life. You are a joy!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Kathy, it’s great to hear from you! I appreciate you reading and taking time to comment. I’m thankful we met, also. 🙂

  7. Love this post, Jeannie! Declutter is my word for 2020. This hits so many of my thoughts with decluttering my mind and home for this next year.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Tammy, I can’t believe declutter is your word for 2020! What a great one! I appreciate you reading and commenting.

  8. Evelyn Venable Wells

    Spot on, as usual. I enjoyed reading this blog. It really resonated with the fact that I need to reevaluate my “stuff” and to replace some of it.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Evelyn, we all need to reevaluate as you pointed out. I appreciate you sharing that. I’m thankful for the truth of 1 John 1:9.

  9. Jeannie, what beautiful and powerful words! I love Lori’s favorite line, mentioned above, and I also really like this visual image: “A clean heart filled with contentment and gratitude welcomes a new year of God’s work in our lives. ” God has big plans for his children in 2020, I”m sure, and I need to declutter the “junk” and make room for his goodness! Thanks for sharing.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Julie, I like the way you said “and make room for His goodness.” That should encourage all of us to confess our sin and allow the Lord to fill our heart with the good things He has for us.

  10. Just what I needed to read tonight ! My mind today has been “cluttered ” with so many “things”. Your words are a great encouragement to me! I am thankful for your God given talent of writing just the things I need to hear!

  11. “Removing what hinders and adding what refreshes…”.
    What a beautiful assignment for our spirits and our souls!
    Thank you once again, Jeannie, for sharing from your pure heart
    Happy New Year!

  12. Perfect reading for tonight on January 1, 2020. Thank you for this devotion. Luv and prayers!!

  13. “Removing what hinders and adding what refreshes can bring a smile, a deep breath, or a fresh view that somehow lightens our step.” Indeed, it does. How often do we stay with what we currently have because it’s familiar? Thank you for the invitation to “clean out” our hearts.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you for reading and commenting. The familiar often becomes comfortable, doesn’t it? Enjoy the rest of January as we continue our journey.

  14. What a wonderful message to encourage us to unclutter our lives of those negative traits and replace them with those characteristics Jesus teaches. And, the good news is–He will bless our efforts. It’s one of those things that we try, and we fall back into some bad habits, and we try again. Maybe 2020 can be our year to “try and try again!” I know that I move forward a few paces and slip back. I’m so glad we have a Savior that helps us not to give up and loves us, even with our imperfections. Thank you for an inspiring message.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Katherine, I join you in gratitude for this: “I’m so glad we have a Savior that helps us not to give up and loves us, even with our imperfections.” I, too, slip backward, but you’re right that we can “try and try again” as God changes us to make us more Christlike. Thank you for commenting.

  15. Yes! He shows me things when I ask and I ask a great deal to be more like Him. He gives me freedom when I clear the junk.
    My husband and I just finished teaching, The Bait of Satan by John Bevere, and during the study I asked the LORD to reveal people I have not forgiven or the bait of offense to me. Over the time that we were teaching God brought so many examples of both to my mind that I could deal with them one at a time and leave them at the Alter.
    Thank you, Jeannie!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Cassandra, thank you for a personal example of how God declutters our heart when we listen to Him. I appreciate your comment.

  16. Jeannie, rereading after getting sidetracked!
    This is really on target. Especially removing instead of just ” stacking,” maybe for ” later”.
    Reminds me of our learning I John 1:9 Fifty years ago 2-4-70….for me ,from our great early ” mentor” 💞

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I John 1:9 is comforting and helps us over that hump when we have trouble forgiving ourselves. He is faithful and just to forgive us. Our mentor was indeed a blessing to us!

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