If you’re anything like me (and by anything like me, I mean have had access to social media in the last month) you’re familiar with Marie Kondo and her KonMari tidying method. If you haven’t, like, maybe get out once in awhile, because it’s taking over the world.
The idea is relatively simple: start by taking a look at everything you own and then dump it somewhere really inconvenient so that you’re forced to either go through it and decide what “sparks joy” or just burn your house down because you can’t handle the pressure and you miss sleeping on your bed.
The people in the show usually look much happier.
Why does KonMari work? It forces you to get rid of the pesky things you leave hanging around. By laying it all out there, you absolutely have to deal with the issue if you want to progress.
You see, as human beings (there’s a good chance you’re included in that, if you’re reading this. Except my fourth grade teacher. I’m still not convinced she wasn’t an alien sent here to torment me. I’m on to you, Ms. Nash…) anyway, as humans it’s so easy to leave the junk for another day. We don’t really need to get rid of it. How bad could it be? As long as it’s out of sight, it can be out of mind and then it’s just future-Cameron’s problem. Future-Cameron is a champ, because he handles a lot of present-Cameron’s problems. Future-Cameron may also hate present-Cameron.
You know who else had similar thoughts?
The entire nation of Israel for like, a few hundred years.
Should’ve Watched “Tidying Up”
You see, King Solomon—you know, the wisest man who ever lived—managed to do some very unwise things in his lifetime. [insert stale joke about one wife is hard enough, how did he manage hundreds] Beyond the obvious, he also disobeyed a very direct command from the Lord. To not commingle and marry foreign women. Why? Because they'd bring their false gods and pagan religions into the Lord’s holy land.
So what did Solomon do? He commingled with and married hundreds of foreign women.
Long story short, what the Lord predicted would happen is exactly what happened. Turns out He’s pretty good at that. Solomon even approved the construction of a bunch of “high places” around the country for his pagan wives to worship their gods at.
The next few hundred years are fascinating.
A phrase repeated some seven times in the books of 1st and 2nd Kings is a variation on “Nevertheless, the high places were not removed.”
This phrase always follows a king who was by all accounts a good and godly king. He pursued the Lord, directed his people to do so, and led the nation in a God-honoring way. But despite all of that, the high places were not removed.
Don’t let the significance of that pass you by.
It’s so easy to leave totems and altars to these minor gods hiding in the remote corners of our lives. We can be wholly chasing the Lord, leading our families and ministries to do the same, and still leave these altars as they stand.
You know what happened after these good kings passed their reign down? The nation fell into the worship of false gods and pagan idols. They rekindled their love for the high places and worshiped there rather than God’s temple. Their willingness to leave issues tucked away led them into ruin.
We are no different.
It seems like the entire country is on a roll cleaning out and tidying up our homes. It feels amazing to absolutely crush this new organization thing. The idea spread like wildfire. Though it’s painful and inconvenient, we end up better for it because our lives are less cluttered and filled with junk that we’ve tucked away in the corners of our closets. We are all sharing our progress with anyone we can. But I propose the next step. KonMari 2.0, maybe.
I propose that it’s time for a Spiritual KonMari. Spend some time in prayer. A heart-wrenching prayer of anguish for the Lord to show you the things you’ve kept tucked away. The “high places” you’ve allowed to remain as altars to the idols we chase every day. Pride, status, money, food, things, passions.
Lay these things bare before the Lord and before yourself. Write them down. Make a list and place it somewhere you have to see every day so that you can’t ignore it anymore. Make it inconvenient. Make it uncomfortable. Marie Kondo showed us that’s what it takes. The Kings of Israel showed us that it’s imperative.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” - 1 John 1:9
When you’ve dealt with it, get rid of it. Never look back. Tell that list that it could never spark the same joy that putting our everything into our Savior can spark. That is the joy that lasts. The living water that quenches our every thirst.
It’s easy, in comparison, to get rid of a few old shirts and that phone cable you’ve been hanging onto for years. It’s so much harder to declutter the soul, but so much more necessary. You’ve cleaned out your house. Now the important work begins.
A Bonus Help
It’s sometimes hard for me to remember things like this. I need daily reminders to not let myself fall into traps. So here’s a little graphic I would encourage you to save and set as your lock screen on your phone as a reminder. Every time you check the time or unlock your phone, you’ll be reminded that the “high places” were not removed from Israel, but you’re going to do better. You’re not going to let things linger any longer.