In the “mess” of life, the stuff inside is sometimes the most difficult to clear away, but when we do, the rewards are bountiful. I wish I could say once we’ve done the job that our lives continue, free of clutter from then on, but just like external clutter keeps replenishing itself, so does internal clutter. The good news is, once we learn healthy ways of dealing with it, it no longer has the power to take over. Regular maintenance can help us feel more comfortable in our own skin. 

Get it out of your head

The first step to organizing your internal self is to gather whatever is rattling around in your head and bring it to the surface. Once it’s on the outside it’s easier to see what to do next – act, forgive, seek healing, repent, let go, or move ahead.

Jot a list on paper or your cell phone of things you need to remember as they surface. These stray thoughts especially plague me when I’m trying to sleep or spend time in prayer and Bible reading. Rather than fight it, I write them down. Once they’re “off my plate” I can rest or worship freely.

Another help is to record your thoughts and emotions in a journal or computer file. You can make your own rules about what and how you say it. This is purely for your benefit – to discover who you are and track where you’re headed.

Thirdly, process grief, pain, confusion, or other emotions cluttering your inner self by talking to a trusted friend, mentor, counselor, or support group. It’s healthy and helpful to share with others who love and accept you. So often, we find out we’re not alone in our thoughts and feelings.

Finally, don’t forget the benefit of a good cry. Go somewhere private and let it all out; cry out to God until you feel spent and clean. He gave us tears to cleanse our system of toxins that build up in times of stress (literally), even stress from happy things like weddings and new babies.

Evaluate use of technology

You’ve heard it before and it’s true – technology is both a blessing and a curse. All these wonderful gadgets we have to stay connected and get things done faster (theoretically) can fill our insides with unnecessary clutter. Have you ever panicked because you left your cell phone at home or set it down somewhere in your travels? Do you feel edgy and uncomfortable sitting for a moment in your car or a restaurant if you’re not texting, checking email, or Facebook? Are you comfortable going for a walk or outing without headphones or music?

Too much technology can overload our lives with useless information, interruptions, and distractions. If we allow our gadgets to control us they will steal our ability to think clearly, focus on the people we’re with, and enjoy the beauty of silence. So, when you feel a growing inner chaos, consider unplugging for an hour or so to rejuvenate your brain and frazzled emotions. You’ll be amazed how refreshing it is.

Refuel and meditate

This can be a significant challenge for new mommies, but it can be done! So many times we think we have to spend great wads of time reading the Bible in order to get anything out of it, but that underestimates the power of our God.

The best way to fill up when we’re depleted is to schedule a time to read and pray. But sometimes life is full of interruptions and there are surprises along the way. So learn to take advantage of brief moments as well.

Read a short devotional or chapter of the Bible in the bathroom. Work on a memory verse that feeds your soul while you walk the treadmill, sit in traffic, or stand in line at the grocery store. Park a little farther from destinations to allow time to connect with God, thanking Him for everything that comes to mind. Keep it simple; make it fun. Let God fill you with His truth, His light, His glorious life.

Glean from others

This final tip works for both external and internal organization. Talk about your biggest challenges with others and pick up new ideas. Some may not work for your lifestyle right now, but some will. And share what you’re learning with them.

As we wrap up this series, I leave you with the question I asked the Tillamook MOPS group: What one thing will you work on? You may feel like your life is out of control right now and be tempted to think you need a complete overhaul, but that can be more discouraging than productive. So pick one that sounds fun, do-able; something that you feel a deep need to incorporate in your life. Talk about it with God and a friend to get support, and then go to it.

We’re all a mess in some way or another, but our beauty is in our ability to learn, adapt, and grow with each new day.