The Little Things: Cleaning out the Junk in your Life

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By Kelly Preston, Special to The Paper

“Come on … just work!”

This was what I kept saying to myself while recently vacuuming.  I started getting really frustrated because our vacuum wasn’t working properly … again.  It wasn’t sucking up any of the dog hair and other dirt from the carpet, rugs, or wood floors in our house.

So like usual, I emptied the top canister and got rid of some junk from previous vacuuming sessions.  But when I looked at the little hole that feeds into the canister, it was overflowing with junk.  I’ll spare you the visual, but let’s suffice it to say there was A LOT of junk … probably because I hadn’t cleaned out that particular part in a while.

Now I’m no Martha Stewart, but I try to keep our house clean.  Therefore, I was determined to get rid of all the junk that had accumulated in the vacuum in order for it to work properly and get my floors clean.

And it was in that moment of emptying all the junk from the vacuum that God spoke to me loud and clear:

“Clean out the junk in your life!”

My life is like that little hole that can get clogged up and overflow with “junk” and if not cleaned out regularly, I won’t function the way I was created to function.

Sometimes cleaning out my life means saying “no” to things so I can be who God wants me to be and do what He wants me to do.  “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26) and I firmly believe in being intentional in serving others and living out my faith in a variety of ways.

However, that doesn’t mean God wants me to do everything or be involved in every activity under the sun.  And the same goes for my children … they won’t be in every extra-curricular activity that’s offered, no matter what they want or what they’re friends are doing.  Saying “no” is sometimes the healthiest thing I can do for myself and my family.

Sometimes cleaning out my life means saying “yes” to things that seem really challenging or even scary.  It is during these times that my faith has the opportunity to grow.  And it’s only when I clean out the “junk” that space is created so I can say “yes” and allow God to fill my life with His purposes.

Sometimes cleaning out my life means not comparing myself to others.  God gives each of us certain gifts and talents to be used for His glory, and I’m wasting time and energy when I compare myself to what others have or what others are doing.

Sometimes cleaning out my life means letting go of things, even things that seem good, like certain activities, relationships, ambitions, and “to do lists” in order to focus on what truly matters.

Now back to my lovely vacuum.  Once I cleaned out all the junk from the little hole, it was obvious that the vacuum was in working order once again.  It sucked up everything in sight, doing exactly what it was made to do.

It’s no wonder there’s a little “IMPORTANT” label on the vacuum about cleaning out the various parts so that the vacuum works properly.

How much more important it is for me to clean out the “junk” in my life.

Why?

So I can be the woman God created me to be and function in the way I was created to function … to love God and love people.

Perhaps I’m not alone.  Maybe you also have “junk” you’d like to get rid of so that you can be the person you are meant to be.  And perhaps the start of 2021 is the perfect time to begin vacuuming out the junk.  Because in the end, none of the “junk” we fill our lives with truly matters.

Happy cleaning!

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Kelly Preston is a nurse-turned-stay-at-home-mom to four amazing and energetic children. Though she sometimes forgets to buy toilet paper amidst their busy schedules, Kelly finds time to run RACE for the Orphans, a non-profit focused on supporting adoptive families. She loves Jesus, people, a really good book, and pondering the little things.

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