Navigating our Cluttered Path

Sometimes our lives just feel cluttered.

We can bump along just fine, then suddenly it hits us out of nowhere. The one “thing” that makes navigating our cluttered path feel nigh impossible.

Take this closet for instance …

Yikes! The accumulation of collections and memories of generations.

You may or may not notice that the foundation of this mess is good. There are sturdy cantilevered shelves, complete with a chalkboard front for easy identification. There are boxes tagged with their contents and decorations grouped together on a shallow shelving unit.

Good plan, right?

But then something happens. Every. Single. Time.

I’ve tried to figure it out. How do things so quickly move from structure and order to a downward spiral of chaos? The system has been explained, so as not to nag, and logically labeled as a gentle reminder, so as not to nag … And yet ….


Planning is a good thing. Dreaming is good. Expectations can be good. Or not.

So frequently we make a plan – how to organize a closet, what to do after graduation or retirement, which dream to pursue, how to move past the pain of life … And oftentimes they are good plans.

And then life happens.

We clear a path, take the time to label it, fill everyone in on the plan, and then something comes up. Sometimes it’s our own baggage that we’ve drug along with us that clutters the path. Sometimes it’s those who join us, leaving their own sorts of marks and detours on the path. And then there are those times when the unexpected catches us off guard and all but barricades our well developed plan.

Whatever the case, it’s so very hard to see past the stuff. Ours, theirs, all of it.

It makes it hard to find the motivation to look the clutter square in the eye and find the fearlessness to tackle it, much less constructing a plan of attack and moving forward once the courage has been mustered.

And that’s what I’ve finally figured it out. The answer to, “What happened?”


Life happened.

Life with others happened.

And that is messy.

A glorious mess. One that shouldn’t be traded for all the tidy in the world.

But it’s still a mess.

And with that realization comes the pivotal conviction to bite the tongue, adjust the heart and carry on with grace enough for the whole lot of us. This is not something that comes naturally, save for a handful of you. Take note of  the use of the word you, not us.

I can be such a grumbler.

I’m a tidy person, living in a home with more than a few messies. They loosen me up a bit. I motivate them a bit. It’s a good thing. Most of the time. Until I’m not willing to bite my tongue, adjust my heart and carry on with enough grace for the lot of us. Then it gets ugly.

Yesterday was spent in this long narrow basement closet. Sorting through decades and generations of living.

It’s a task that can send many of us straight into a mental melt-down that makes us oh so very much fun to be around. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t even want to be around myself once I start down that dead end path.

But instead, yesterday served as a very clear reminder that …

…Yes, plans had been made
…They went awry
…It’s part of doing life together
…Making memories isn’t always tidy
…It’s more important to walk thru the clutter and cling to the good
…The rest can be recognized for what it is and sent packing
…My approach and heart make all the difference

What a timely reminder for me. In less than a handful of days our married daughter and her hubby move into our home for a few months. Into our basement. Our unfinished basement. The one we’re working frantically to complete for them. The one that is still far from done.

navigating clutter
How I choose to do this makes all the difference.

This reminder that life is about the journey and those we travel with along the way is one I need to carry in the forefront of my mind. It’s not about straight paths or a lack of clutter on those paths.

It’s the learning how to deal with the clutter. It’s the opportunity to offer grace in the mess. The opportunity to redeem the stressful, painful, regrettable situations into ones of redeeming grace.

The best part of all this? We get to choose.

Will we open it as the potential gift that it is? Or discard it as clutter making our path unnavigable?

So how do you deal with the clutter on your path?

What encouragement have you found to walk this gloriously messy path?

About Beth Moore

A Christ-follower, wife, mom to 4, lifestyle blogger, seamstress and seeker of daily glimpses of God's grace and redemption.

2 thoughts on “Navigating our Cluttered Path

  1. Boy oh boy Beth – I’m the pack rat in our relationship! The mess maker but also the cleaner upper. But my main clutter, if you will, happens to be the people in my life pulling me in a hundred different directions, sometimes all at once! Solve this problem, solve that problem, be here, be there. I need a clone. Yep! Maybe two. Still won’t make me less of a pack rat though. Sigh
    Give Katy a big ole smooch for me

    1. Yes Marcy! It has amazed me as I’m knee deep in the most extensive purge I’ve ever done to see how much easier it is to realign my priorities including time and relationships. Your servant heart makes the whole boundary thing hard! Love ya lady and I’ll be sure and give Katy a big hug from you

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