Image "My Friend" by Helen Thomas Robson (Used by Permission)
Minimalism from a Biblical Point of View —

Biblical Minimalism is "a complete, whole-person release of anything unlike Jesus, a letting go of everything that hinders us from following Him wholeheartedly and single-mindedly, and a relinquishing of all that brings us under bondage to this earthly, very temporary life." Cheryl E. Smith

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Minimizing Emotional Clutter

There is a fine line between mental clutter and emotional clutter.  Since the mental and emotional parts of us are so closely related, and they even overlap in different ways, we will move right on from the mental slice of the "Whole-Person Pie©" and delve into the emotional.

Following Jesus does not mean that we will no longer feel or be excused from the human condition. As human beings, we will experience the full gamut of all emotions on a regular basis.   Jesus lived on this earth for 33 years to show us what God in the flesh looked like.  He felt every emotion we will ever feel.  His circumstances may have been different from the exact situations we find ourselves in, but the emotions, the hurt, the betrayal, the pain—it was the same for Him as it is for you and me.

If we are experiencing it or facing it, we can be 100% certain that Jesus faced it first.  If we are going through it, Jesus has already been there, yes, in a human form.  Just like you.  Just like me.  How do I know that with an absolute certainty?  Because His Word tells us the truth.

"For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."  Hebrews 4:15  (KJV)

Truth is the thing satan does not want us to know about—he hates truth.  Truth releases the chains that satan takes delight in wrapping around our spirit and emotions.  Truth is what sets us free.

Jesus said, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  John 8:32  (KJV)

Jesus IS the truth.  "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."  John 14:6  (KJV)

Jesus came to not only tell us the truth but to show us the truth, lived out in a body of flesh with a human mind that was susceptible to every single emotion known to man.  Jesus experienced them all, and through each one of those emotions, He never sinned.  He didn't allow His emotions to control Him, nor did He allow them to consume His life or deter Him from His purpose.

Emotions are real.  They are a part of us.  As long as we are in a human body, we will experience them.  It is what we allow our emotions to lead us to do that matters.  Reining in our own reactions to our emotions is a lifelong battle, but one that we can overcome daily, through following Jesus and yielding control to the power of His Spirit dwelling within us.  

Each one of us bears scars from the wounds of our past.  There isn't a person alive who has not felt the sting of hurt, heartache, grief, and suffering.  None of us possess the capability of completely shutting off our feelings or coming to a place of such resolve that we are left unaffected by the things that touch our lives.  Each hard thing we go through in this life leaves its mark, and the deeper the hurt, the longer it takes to heal.  But, just as too many physical possessions creates chaotic stress and clutter—long-term accumulation of rampant, undealt-with emotions take over and become deeply detrimental to our well-being.  Emotional baggage is a heavy weight to carry.  Even if we have found the rare peace that comes from the release of excess physical possessions, out of control emotions can overwhelm and steal every bit of that peace and pull a cloud over an otherwise serene life.

Just as none of our physical possession minimizing journeys look quite the same, the contents that fill up the suitcases that hold our emotional baggage are also very different.

So, let's open those suitcases and take a look inside, shall we?  Do we dare?  It is one thing to peel back the layers of physical possessions in search of excess and unnecessary things that need to be released, but digging into and disturbing emotions presents a whole new ballgame and challenge.  It can get real ugly real quick because who wants to face and deal with this stuff?  It is much easier to just shove it farther to the backs of our minds and try to convince ourselves it doesn't exist than to acknowledge and embrace reality and shine the light of God's Word into all those darkened corners.

You can do this!  Take courage, and know that you are definitely not alone.  If each one of us is brutally honest, we will have to admit that this is a level playing field.  So, go ahead—unlock your suitcase, and lift the lid.  What do you see?  What's in there?  Chances are it has been in there for so long and become such a part of you that you have forgotten it is even there.  What does your emotional baggage look like?  There are only two people who will ever know—God and you.  He's known all along, and He loves you so much!  He is so pleased that you are taking this audacious first step toward letting go of all the "junk" in that suitcase.  It has weighed you down and made you unhappy for so long.  Today, you are going to start your emotional minimizing journey, and you are soon going to be set free!

Shh!  Just between you and God, do you happen to see any bitterness in there?

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:  looking diligently lest any man fails of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."  Hebrews 12:14-15  (KJV)

"Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth."  James 3:13,14  (NIV)

Do you see any grudges?  Look close.  Are you unable to forgive someone who has wronged you?  I know it hurts.  I know that what they did to you is incomprehensible.  I know they may or may not have apologized or admitted to their own guilt and wrongdoing.  I totally understand that you are 100%  justified in feeling the way you do.  Your feelings are real.  They matter.  They deserve validation.  But, friend!  Carrying this unforgiveness is making your suitcase really, really heavy and hard to carry.  Imagine how much lighter it would be if you just decided today to forgive, bury that hatchet once and for all, and lighten your load!  You are the one who will benefit most from letting it go.

"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."  Colossians 3:13  (KJV)

"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  neither give place to the devil.  And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice:  and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."  Ephesians 4:26-27,30-32  (KJV)

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is Mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord.  On the contrary:  If your enemy is hungry, feed him;  if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."  Romans 12:17-21  (NIV)

Is there any guilt in there?  Any shame for past, already-forgiven sins?  God already forgot about them.  Why can't you?  Why carry the weight of them any longer?  Oh, look!  He already took them from you.  If you look just a bit closer, you will see that they aren't in the suitcase at all.  Memories of what you did and the shame and guilt are all that linger—mere illusions of what used to be.  You are not that person anymore, remember?  Don't you want to walk forward, from this moment, with only what is real?

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."  Romans 8:1-2  (KJV~emphasis added)

"He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities, and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."  Micah 7:19  (KJV)

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."  John 3:17  (KJV)

"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.  He will not always chide: neither will He keep his anger forever.  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us."  Psalm 103:8-12  (KJV)

Those sins are gone, my friend!  Now, go—forgive yourself and extend to yourself the same grace God has bestowed upon you!

Do you see any hatred in your suitcase?

"If a man says, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."  I John 4:20,21  (KJV)

"He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.  He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.  But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes."  I John 2:9-11  (KJV)

How about self-loathing?

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."  Ephesians 2:10  (KJV)

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16  (KJV)

"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."  Jeremiah 31:3  (KJV)

"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."  I Corinthians 6:20  (KJV)

What else are you finding in there?  It is time to minimize.  Release everything negative.  Let go of all that drags you down.  Purge the excess.  Open your heart and mind to the unconditional love God has in His heart for you.  Stop nursing old wounds, and allow yourself to heal.

Are you feeling lighter?  Hey, maybe you no longer need that suitcase at all.


  1. So good.
    We just picked my youngest son up from camp and inquired about different campers we know from previous years. One of his responses surprised me, but I was thankful, for he said of one camper, "There's just too much drama there." So he chose not to engage, and I thought that was a pretty good decision for a 16 year old.

    1. Wow, that truly IS a lot of wisdom for a 16 year old! God bless him for not falling into the trap of enabling someone else's drama. Wise boy ~ just like his mama! God bless you, Michele!

  2. Very thought provoking piece, dear Cheryl. It is very true that letting go of grudges and hurts that have been plaguing "me" frees my mind and spirit. Holding onto grudges and hurts only hurts myself because the person who has hurt me or wronged me is going along with their life not even giving thought to what they said or did. What a freeing feeling to let those hurts go.

    1. You are SO right. Your words reminded me of that quote that says something like, "unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." I am not quoting that just right, but that is the gist of it. YES, it is so freeing to just let it go! We are truly the one who benefits. God bless you for your faithfulness and encouragement, sweet friend.

  3. WOW! THIS WAS AWESOME Cheryl! So well said. Everything you said is so very true. If only we would take out that suitcase! Years and years ago I had to to deal with such topics as you mentioned. Through the Bible Study called Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby, I was free from so many of those things that needed to come out the suit case. Getting rid of emotional clutter is never easy and we cannot do it without Jesus Christ. Thanks for sharing this Cheryl. You are precious. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    1. Oh, Cindy! Your encouragement means so much to me! Thank you ever so much for sharing your precious comment and being such a blessing. That Bible Study sounds really beneficial. I am so glad God helped you to find such victory. Sending many hugs and blessings back to you, my friend!

  4. Cheryl, I am so enjoying unpacking these wonderful lessons that involve our total being. There are so many emotions that can cripple us in relationship to others and to Our Savior. He knows all of our hurts, a truth that satan does not want us to believe. Thank you sweet friend!

    1. Dear Pam! Thank you so very much for your dear words of encouragement. They are such a blessing to me! I so agree with all you said. May the Lord bless you for your kindness and faithful support, my friend!

  5. Loved this! Emotions are tough to corral, but I love all these verses you gave us! Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much, Alyson! How encouraging your words were to me today! God bless you. :)

  6. You post was so rich with Godly wisdom. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Maree Dee. I so appreciate your support and encouragement. God bless you!

  7. Hi Cheryl, Thank you so much for this sweet encouragement from the Lord Himself. For every emotional baggage we have packed, there is a Scripture verse that can empty that baggage once and for all.

    The Lord has been teaching me a lesson in the last 24 hours about His Truth as a means to combat Satan's lies. It did not surprise me that I chose today to read this post, for God's timing is perfect. Indeed, His Truth does set us free!

    You are such a faithful servant of Christ ministering to fellow Believers in such a humble and edifying way.

    You are a treasure to us all. Thank you sweet friend.

    1. Wow, you would not even believe that as the dear Lord was speaking to you about Satan's lies, I was in the midst of completing a post concerning that very thing! God often does that with you and me, doesn't He? He reinforces truth He is revealing to us through each other's blog posts. Just amazing. Your kind, loving words and support are invaluable to me, sweet friend. Sending much love and gratitude to you!

  8. This is a great article. Its hard to not let emotions get the best of us. Which is when i must remind myself to have understanding that when others hurt us it is because issues within

    1. That is an excellent point—God, help me to remember this when I need it most. I am so grateful for your visit and encouragement! God bless you!


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