Posted by: Kara Luker | February 8, 2019

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (& God)

Like most everyone everywhere, I have been watching
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. It seems slightly bizarre to me that a show on decluttering your home could gain such a wide audience. But it has clearly met a need because people aren’t just watching other people walk through the process (like those of us who watched The Biggest Loser with a box of cookies in hand), but participating – to such a degree that there has been a documented increase in donations to second-hand stores (my husband can testify that I have been a significant contributor to that statistic).

Each episode focuses on a home whose occupants have been overrun by their belongings. They know a change needs to happen – and want it – but have no idea where to begin or how to accomplish it. Enter Marie Kondo, a delightful, child-sized Japanese woman with zero judgment and a love of helping people restore a right relationship with their stuff. The things that “spark joy” or that “you would like to bring into your future” are kept. The rest goes. Orderly spaces are created for what remains so it can be easily seen, accessed and enjoyed.

Some of the owners who really do want the freedom that results from decluttering come to see how very attached they are to the clutter. In one episode during Marie’s first visit to a home, the wife excitedly declares, “I can’t wait to see you work your magic!” It didn’t take her long to figure out that there was no magic; just guidance and encouragement to empower the hard decisions she was going to have to make. Her process was painful to watch because it had a lot more to do with a fear of letting go than anything related to joy, so almost everything went into the keep pile. But at some point, she caught a vision of freedom (I’d love to know what happened in between), and finally stepped into the joy of releasing what she didn’t need. It was a significant change in her mindset that paved the way for a better relationship not only with her belongings, but with herself and her family (including the future baby they will now try to have because of the restored space and function of their home).

I can’t help but see the spiritual implications here. So many of us are overrun by emotions and behaviors that are not only cluttering up our lives, but enslaving us. Things like fear, bitterness, depression, anxiety, shame, addiction. Maybe they are so familiar that we don’t even notice the junk piled up all around, or maybe we do but have no idea how to clean it up. Enter God, a gentle giant who delights in helping people restore a right relationship with the stuff inside.

He shares the most effective program ever through the His word and gives individual help through whatever visits we will allow, always entering our mess without judgment and giving the wisdom we need to accomplish the end goal. Remember that transformation that happened in the “in between” for that the woman on the show? You can pretty much expect that along the way, thanks to the Holy Spirit. The result is that instead of our emotions and behaviors dominating and overwhelming us, they will become servants of our best interest and enable us to fulfill our purpose. But it is a process and we have a part to play.

When I was ready to address my internal mess, the whole thing was so deep and wide and disastrous, it seemed impossible. My insides looked like the house of a hoarder and while I couldn’t bear to let anything go, there was no spark of joy in any of it. Since abandoning my “house” and starting fresh with another wasn’t an option, I found myself hoping that God would just tidy me up, saying things like “Do your magic, Lord, and remove these addictions!” Like the woman in that episode, I came to realize there would be no magic and I think the reason is important.

If God had cleaned up addiction for me, nothing would have changed in my relationship with the mindset that allowed it room in the first place. It was a scarcity mindset that said “I don’t have enough. I’m not enough. God isn’t enough.” So the space that had been cleared out would have ended up with the same mess I started with. Maybe worse. Instead, God allowed the disorder of addiction as something nagging and visible that would point to the bigger issue that was driving it. Only when that was addressed would I be able to hold up each vestige of addiction and say, “Nope. This isn’t serving me well or bringing me joy, and I don’t want it in my future.” And then freely toss it in the discard pile.

When that happened, I owned that cleared out space, even if it was just a square inch. And you’d better believe that anything new wanting to fill it would have to line up with the new mindset that had created it. Bit by bit, this is how my life has been transformed. A realization of need, help from Someone who knows a lot more than I do, realization of a greater need, a whole lot of truth to shift my understanding and oodles of Holy Spirit empowerment along the way. Wouldn’t you know that underneath all that crap was a beautiful home with so much purpose and a deep connection with joy. It’s by no means completely decluttered, but it is hardly recognizable as the same place.

So what is it that is cluttering up your life? And what is the mindset that is allowing it to stay? If you don’t know, invite the Lord into your home. Read His word where all His methods are laid out. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you see. He will so gladly show you. But He’s not going to do it for you because He loves you more than that and He wants your freedom.

Isaiah 55-12


  1. Brilliant. Karen and I are in the process of downsizing, getting ready to move. Just yesterday Erikka came to help Karen with a cabinet of all kinds of things. Progress!! Thanks for sharing your gift. What a great analogy. You could sure preach this!



    • Doesn’t it feel amazing! We just bought a house on Friday so I’m feeling very grateful that I got a head start on this decluttering stuff. Hope your downsizing goes smoothly!

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