Tidying up this Lent

FJ March

A few years ago, Marie Kondo became a household name. If you’ve not heard of her, she’s famous for her passion for keeping things tidy, especially the home. Her website states:

“Through tidying, you can reset your life and spend the rest of your life surrounded by the people and things you love the most.”

Her method involves keeping those items that “spark joy” and discarding those that don’t. Marie has an endearing personality, even if her claim that decluttering your home will be the source of your future joy is somewhat exaggerated.

But there is some truth in what she promotes – that is, the need to set aside time and to consciously take stock of those things in your life that bring joy and those that don’t. My guess is that those “things” are not household items but, rather, your own habits, your relationships, your priorities.

And herein lies the beauty of the season of Lent. This season begins with Ash Wednesday (2 March this year) and continues for about 40 days, until the Thursday before Easter Sunday. Catholics are called to make an extra effort to pray, fast and give to those in need during this time. It is an opportunity for Catholics to make a conscious effort to look at their interior lives and declutter – to unburden themselves from those things that do not “spark joy”.

Now, if you are a Catholic reading this, you might have spent most of your Lents giving up things that do “spark joy”, for example alcohol and chocolate! However, if you are going to take Lent seriously, dig a little deeper. Take an honest look at the way you live your life. Are you unkind to family, friends or work colleagues? Do you waste inordinate amounts of time on social media? Do you buy stuff you don’t need? Are you able to forgive others?

This is what Lent is about. It’s an opportunity for you to tidy up things in your life. And if you struggle to unravel the mess you find, then pray. Keep the prayer simple and try to do it every day during Lent. And, even if you aren’t Catholic, don’t let this be a barrier. Give prayer a go.

Let God help you with the internal tidying up that needs to be done, to spark the real joy your heart desires.

Further reading

More about Marie Kondo

What is Ash Wednesday?

Information about fasting

Lenten prayer ideas from Catholic Online


Words: Sharon Brewer
Image: Lightstock

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