Recently, Hope for Women magazine invited Declutter Now! to contribute to their ‘Best of You’ Fall issue. While the magazine is for women, the article I submitted is for everyone, so I’m delighted to share it with ALL of you today.
The Compassion in Decluttering People
If there is any area Declutter Now! is questioned, challenged, or otherwise grilled on most, it’s decluttering people.
Just saying it sounds so… well… it sounds so ‘un-Christian’.
Decluttering unnecessary material things is applauded. Decluttering excessive financial debt is celebrated. Decluttering unhealthy eating habits is praised. But decluttering a person? It’s just cruel.
Or is it?
Who would do such a thing?
Me. That’s who.
And guess what? Many of you have done it as well, or at least have threatened to. How many times, in the heat of battle, will someone cry two simple but devastating words, “I’m done!” What about, “I hate you and I never want to see you again!” This is decluttering at its worst.
I propose there are not only legitimate reasons to declutter, but also a loving, compassionate way to carry it out.
In the book, Declutter Now! Uncovering the Hidden Joy and Freedom in Your Life, which I co-authored with my husband, we share instances where God calls us to declutter relationships. God warns us about being in the ‘companion of fools’ and clearly states that ‘the way of the wicked will lead us astray.’ God has no problem asking us cut ties with people who are detrimental to our well-being.
Oftentimes we know that a relationship is destructive and should be severed, but we sit on the fence of indecision and inaction.
If we are called to declutter out of obedience, and we know what we should do, why are we frequently paralyzed? Our emotions, insecurities, and brokenness overtake our judgment and undermine our efforts. Here are some of the most common excuses we’ve encountered:
- “This person is my mother, brother, cousin, etc.”
- “I feel sorry for them.”
- “The last thing I want to do is hurt their feelings.”
- “In spite of the ongoing drama, I’ll miss my friend too much.”
- “This person has done so much for me and I feel indebted to them.”
- “I’m going to see this person often and I don’t want it to be awkward.”
I can’t fault anyone for these sentiments because I’ve personally experienced all of them at one point or another. I struggle with the same guilt, obligation, pity, and misguided logic, but no good comes from it.
So, ladies, what are we to do?
Here are 5 steps to shift from Decluttering Stress to Success!
1. Don’t declutter when you’re angry or upset. We are called, regardless of the circumstance, to speak truth in love. Don’t sabotage the right decision with the wrong approach. Avoid impulsivity and a result you may regret.
2. Base your decision on firsthand facts. Don’t rely on a third party’s word or story, despite how trustworthy they appear.
3. Insist on face to face communication. In today’s world of technology, truth easily gets lost in translation. Don’t make critical decisions based solely on a text, email, or social media post.
4. Make certain that this person should be decluttered. Sometimes an honest conversation is in order. Other times a shift in relationship status by changing the type and frequency of interaction is enough to do the trick. Have you addressed your contribution to the problem? Prayerfully and thoughtfully consider all options before taking action.
5. Set healthy boundaries and know when it’s time to pull the trigger and declutter. Is the relationship unhealthy, negative, hurtful, painful, or toxic? Is there ongoing strife and drama? Were previous attempts to resolve the conflict unsuccessful? Are you maintaining the relationship out of guilt or obligation? When it’s time to protect yourself, it’s time, and there’s no reason to procrastinate.
Which leads to the heart of my message. Don’t procrastinate!
Not only will dragging your feet cause you more harm than good, there is zero compassion in delaying the inevitable for the other person.
Let’s say, after the fact, you found out that someone didn’t want to associate with you, but they did so under duress, self-imposed or otherwise. How would you feel? Like a charity case? Embarrassed and ashamed? Hurt, angry, strung along? Deceived? Betrayed? Aggravated and frustrated? Devastated?
Furious that you wasted finite personal resources, such as your time, emotions, and energy, on someone who had no interest in a friendship with you?
Where is the compassion in this?
There is none.
When decluttering is necessary, take action. Speak truth bathed in love. Demonstrate honesty and strength. Shine your light and witness warmly in spite of the turmoil. Take responsibility and kindly let them off the hook.
THAT, my friends, is true compassion!
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If you’ve never checked ‘Hope’ out before, now’s your opportunity to receive your first digital issue FREE by clicking here. This issue is loaded with great stories, tips, advice, fashion, and holiday helps! You can also find Hope on Facebook.
 Proverbs 13:20
 Proverbs 12:26