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.
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.
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).
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.