Reflect, Re-use, Recycle, Repurpose, Reject, or Refuse
By Commissioner Debi Bell
Sun Cities West Valley, AZ Corps

If you are anything like me, you have a lot of clutter in your life. Small things and large things, which have accumulated, can be overwhelming.

As I write this devotion, I look at my Knickknack shelves. Carefully arranged clutter with memories attached include collections of angels, miniature shoes, sheep, and shells. They all tell a story, to me at least. Someone else looking at the shelves may only see organized clutter that needs dusting.

As I consider other rooms in my house, I think of the areas where I store my craft supplies. They are organized, but they contain a lot of clutter. I love to craft and create and that need requires a certain amount of supplies. Glue guns, glue sticks, paint, paintbrushes, rocks, beads, wire, silk flowers, ribbon, material, thread… so I challenged myself to avoid buying anything new until I have used the supplies I have. No new projects until I finish off some of the old ones that are still on my “to do” list. Will I finally get that new spring wreath made? How can I use some of the 40-year-old fabric remnants that I have been saving because they are too good to throw away? Is it time to throw away the 30-year-old dried baby’s breath and Spanish moss? Stay tuned for some ideas and pictures of my progress.

It occurs to me that while I consider simplifying my craft collection, I should also take and inventory of my life as it pertains to my mind, spirit, and body. Therefore, I pause to reflect and ask, “What are the important things in life?”

Abraham Maslow is famous for his charting of the five levels of human needs. The first level is physiological and includes things like food, clothing, and shelter. It is hard for humans to think past their basic survival needs if they are hungry, cold, sick, and without shelter. When these needs are met, we should feel a sense of safety. Safety is the second level. After safety, comes the need to belong and feel loved at the third level. When we really feel loved, we achieve the fourth level knowing that our lives matter. The last level is having a purpose. It is good to understand this chart.

In light of Scripture and Christian practice, we learn that our first purpose is to love, serve, and obey God. Our second purpose is to love and live in community with others.

“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’”
Mark 12:28-31 (NIV)

The word count of the New International Version of the Bible is 727,969. That is a ton of words. We learn from reading It and none of it can be classified as “word clutter.” At times, we can get lost in the genealogical lists, the gory battles, or the geological descriptions. However, if we only learn the two requirements Jesus gave, we will have a head start on clearing the clutter of our lives.

Reflect on priority one, (love God) and ask, “How does my life show that I love and serve God, and put Him first?” When I stop and think about that question, I realize how many “things” clutter my spiritual life.

Reflect on priority two, (love others) and ask, “How does my life shows that I love others?” I once again discover many things that clutter my social life.

Now, let us ask the next questions, “What are the good and right things of my life that I need to keep, (Reuse) and teach others, (Recycle) to use in their lives? What are the things I get rid of, (Rubbish/Refuse) and keep them from cluttering my life? What are the good things that need to be tweaked, (Repurpose) so that they do not detract or distract me from loving God and others?”

I made my list and I hope that you will make your list of thoughts, intentions, habits, and practices that detract or distract you.

Priority number one is to love God and spend time with Him. I need to refuse the rubbish that detracts me like negative emotions such as fear, pride, or anger. It is amazing how cluttered my emotions can get if I do not pay attention. Other rubbish I must reject are the words, practices, and unbiblical propaganda that infiltrate my mind through books, movies, and conversations.

Next, I ask, “What do I need to repurpose the ‘good things,’ which distract me such as activities or habits I enjoy but consume my time and attention? Reading is a good thing, but if I read instead of spending time with God, I am allowing a good thing to take God’s place in my life.

Priority number two is to love others. I must refuse the rubbish of gossip, hate talk, and fear of others perpetrated by the systems of this world. I must refuse the lies that tell me it is wrong to share Jesus as the ONLY way to be right with God. I must care enough to live my life in such a way that people want to know and love the God I know, love, and serve.

How can I repurpose some of my interests, and life skills to help others? Maybe I can recycle some of those craft supplies and make gifts to give away?

Please take a look at the beautiful box I created with recycled items on this website:  Crafts Made From Recycled Items (Repurposing them from Trash to Treasure)