Christianity & the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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I distinctly remember sitting in my Christianity and Culture class during my junior year of undergrad, eager to discuss the book assigned to us, “Life Together” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I had notes scribbled throughout my book. Underlines, smiley faces, boxes, arrows, and random phrases jotted in the margin-I couldn’t wait for class discussion. The professor opened the room for discussion. Approximately three minutes of discussion ensued and we moved on to the next topic for the day. I was dumbfounded and disappointed. I was looking forward to riveting dialogue and an exchange of ideas for application. Boo!

I should have known then I was destined to be in book clubs.

I love discussing books with people, sharing books with people, and you guessed it-reading. All my book club experiences thus far have been within the community and believers and it has always been a good experience. However, a new opportunity has shown itself to me, and I am now part of a book club outside of the church, and I am thrilled!

The first book assigned was “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.  It’s a New York Times bestseller, and I can see why. When I picked up the book this morning to begin reading, I didn’t think I would finish it in one sitting. It is a book on de-cluttering after all. How interesting could it be? BUT it was an easy and engaging read. It wasn’t monotonous or redundant. Kondo had an arsenal of anecdotal experiences that kept the pages moving. And I was surprised at how often I found myself comforted by her experiences, realizing that I’m “not alone” in the battle against clutter.

But I’m not here to talk about her methodology and helpful tips-though I found them to be both inspiration and helpful. (I’ll do that in the book club!) I can’t wait to implement some of her strategies (though I can’t BEAR to implement her ideas about book de-cluttering).

I’m here to talk about how my faith influences how I read this book. Our faith should influence everything we do, permeate every circumstance we encounter, and alter every perspective we have. Marie Kondo’s faith clearly permeates her life passion of tidying and organizing. She talks of tidying being a spiritual experience for her-a place of meditation, fulfillment, and peace. She speaks to the items she owns and thanks them for her investment in her life.

How do I, as an evangelical Christian, read this and infuse my faith into its pages? I have a few ideas:

  • I recognize that my worth is not in how organized or disorganized my house is. My worth is found completely in being a loved child of the Perfect King.
  • I realize that true inner peace will NOT come with a purged home or properly folded clothes. Abiding peace comes when I fully understand who God is and apply those truths to my life
  • I do not need to thank the things I own. Instead, I can thank the Giver of every good thing.

I’m thankful for Marie Kondo’s life work, her passion for her craft, and the excellence in which she wrote this book. Since we differ in worldview, however, there are things that I cannot agree with nor apply to my life. Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you have any questions or comments about the book in general?