Cleaning Out the Clutter

My closet is cluttered and it’s starting to get to me!

I am so tired of clothes hanging off the shelves more than the hangers and tripping over shoes and things that need to go to Goodwill. I know it will take me a few hours to sort through it all and get rid of some stuff, but when I’m done I get to enjoy a clean closet! So that’s on my “must do” list this week.

I usually avoid cleaning my closet as long as I can because it’s no fun! But it never fails that the longer I neglect it, the worse things get, and the longer it takes to clean.

God recently reminded me that my heart can be the same way. It’s easy to let impatience, unforgiveness and my desire for things to go my way (I know that’s control but it sounds better described as desire). Anyway, it’s easy to let those things clutter up my heart. And the longer I let my heart stay cluttered with sin, the more of a mess I end up with in my thoughts and in my relationships.

I’ve been challenged about not letting clutter build up in my marriage while reading the book, “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emmerson Eggerich. Have you ever read it?

This book is about the love a woman most desires and the respect a man desperately needs. Inside the book, Dr. Emmerson shares this:

“I wrote this book out of desperation that was turned into inspiration. As a pastor, I counseled married couples and could not solve their problems. The major problem I heard from wives was, “He doesn’t love me.” Wive are made to love, want to love and expect love. Many husbands fail to deliver. But as I kept studying Scripture and counseling couples, I finally saw the other side of the equation. Husbandss weren’t saying it much, but they were thinking, She doesn’t respect me. Husbands are made to be respected, want respect and expect respect. Many wives fail to deliver. The result is that five out of ten marriages land in divorce court (and that includes evangelical Christians). As I wrestled with the problem, I finally saw a connection: without love from him, she reacts without respect; without respect from her, he reacts without love. Around and around it goes. I call it the Crazy Cycle of conflict. In my marriage conference and book I help men and women learn how to:

  • Stop the Crazy Cycle of conflict
  • Initiate the Energizing Cycle of Change
  • Enjoy the rewarded cycle of New Passion

Oh, I can so relate! As I shared in this post in December, showing my husband respect is something God has taught me the importance of over the past 15 years. I’ve had to work at it and find practical ways to show it. This book is a great reminder for me to ask God if there’s anything cluttering up my heart or my thoughts or my marriage. I don’t know about you, but I’m so thankful I don’t have to do this de-cluttering alone. Like King David, I can ask God for help, by asking Him to give me a clean heart and renew in me the desire to keep it clean along the way! Hmm, I wonder if He’ll help me with my closet, too!?

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

 

*******************************************
Today’s Give-Away


I’m giving away 2 copies of “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emmerson Eggerich and 2 tickets to this weekend’s Love and Respect Conference in Charlotte, NC.

 

Make plans now to attend the
Love & Respect Marriage Conference
at Calvary Church in Charlotte, NC
February 13 &14, 2009.

Click here to read what Dr. Eggerich wrote on his blog this week about the conference in Charlotte this weekend. And let me know if you’ll be there. My husband and I would love to meet you!

To be part of today’s give-away, click on “comments” below and indicate if you would like to win the book, the tickets to the conference or either one. PLEASE include your email so I can contact you if you win. Thank you Love and Respect Ministry for today’s great give-aways!

 

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. what a lightbulb moment and I can see how the cycle could easily spiral downward

  2. What a great point! It is so easy to get caught up in the attitude that “because I don’t feel loved, I won’t respect him”. I have to remind myself that God commanded me to respect and honor my husband and there is not a clause in there that says “respect him only when I feel properly loved”. Thanks for the reminder.

    susanlanthrip@knology.net

  3. That is so us! I can see that I act that way, and I’m trying SO hard to break that cycle, but it’s not an easy thing to do. I’d love to read that book! (I’d really love to go to the conference, but Jeromy Deibler from FFH is coming to our church this weekend to teach our ladies some praise music in prep for you and Charity! How awesome is that?!)

    lehrerin@charter.net

  4. I know that my husband and I could really benefit from this book! We have been dealing with some big issues and I think they probably boil down to those two simple words: love and respect. I would love to have a chance to win the book!
    ~Jessica
    mariposa5280@yahoo.com

  5. I would love to win the book.

  6. I don’t find it hard to respect my husband. He makes it easier by following his part… loving me. He shows me so much love that just comes natural to respect him.
    ladyverlina AT yahoo.com

  7. Lisa V - in NJ says:

    Thanks Renee. I’d love to win the book.

    Lisa V.
    lisa07110@yahoo.com

  8. Wrinkled Shirts says:

    How did Leah's tests go? Be sure to keep us posted.

    Great post today. There's a lot of de-cluttering going on around here in more ways than one.

    Paula G. <><

  9. That is just a good point. So, often we treat a stranger with more respect when we do the people we love. Thanks for the reminder.

    That book sound nice; and so does the conference but I live in Michigan.

    Thanks

    kawalker@cmsinter.net

  10. Thanks for the reminder. This book has been on my wish list for a long time and I would love to read it.

    Julie @ rjmnal@yahoo.com

  11. Good point in making about our own clutter and our marriage clutter. Many things seem to clutter our feelings toward our husband past sins, unforgiveness, unfaithfulness. We need to learn to clean out that clutter, take those thoughts captive, and ask to help His every step of the way.
    I’m sure asking him to help with our closets will be good too!
    Break free!!!
    junglegym@hotmail.com

  12. Would you believe that I am cleaning out my closet today? It’s been on my to-do list for WAY too long! As I do that, I now plan to pray about the clutter in my heart as well. After 29 years of marriage we still find ourselves on that love/respect cycle often. I find that when I pray for God’s help in showing respect, it works so much better! I would love to have the book…and after we read it I will pass it on to our married son and his wife, as well as our engaged daughter and her fiance. Thanks for a great post!

  13. tiggerdaisy says:

    Oh, Renee! I would LOVE the book! My husband and I went through marriage counseling where the pastor and his wife took us through Love and Respect dvd and workbook. I LOVED it! I never thought about getting the book???? 🙂

    Blessings,
    Rebecca

  14. Racquel Simone says:

    I would like to win the book. I’m not married, but in preperation mode, and just recently (Sunday night) asked the Lord to show me a book to read as I am on my journey of preperation for marriage. I clicked onto your blog from Lysa’s and at first the post didn’t seem like it would be about marriage. What do you know, it was. PLUS there’s a book reccommendation on marriage…hhhhmmmm I think He’s speaking!

    msmogul31@gmail.com

  15. what a lightbulb moment and I can see how the cycle could easily spiral downward

  16. www.fingerprintsfromhishand.webs.com says:

    It’s funny what you said about choosing the wording of your vows carefully. I remember doing that too with my vows to Eddie. I did want to be able to live up to them, but I also wanted people to understand what those words really mean.

    I am in the middle of learning this lesson, too. Maybe I’m still at the beginning??? GOD is trying to teach me this through both Created to Be His Helpmeet and The Love Dare.

    I’m trying to remember when you guys got married…Eddie and I were in November, April and Jerald were December. When did you guys get married?

  17. I am working on all kinds of clutter around here. I would love to win the book. The conference sounds awesome, but I live in Ohio.

    carlson2398@roadrunner.com

  18. My bible study just finished Love and Respect. What a tremendous book!

  19. Dear Renee ~

    I think we all struggle with “cluttering” our hearts…I know I have! I just had this realization a couple of days ago…knew that I needed to give it all to God and that He would help me to unclutter my heart. WOW, what a difference it makes. Just as much we need to not dwell on those things in life, the same goes with our marriages!

    I would love the opportunity to win the book…I don’t live in Charlotte, otherwise, either would be great. I hope you guys have a blast at the conference! 🙂

    So please put my name in the hat for the book…my husband and I just celebrated 12 years of marriage this past month…and even though our relationship has had its ups and downs, we are happier now than ever before! 🙂

    Sweet Blessings,
    Samina

    samina@kingwoodcable.net

  20. valerie in TX says:

    It seems that periodically God keeps bringing this book to my attention. You think He’s trying to tell me something? :o)

    I would love to attend the conference, but unfortunately, being so far away in Texas, I don’t think that’s possible. I would, however, LOVE a chance to win the book!

    Thanks for all you do, Renee.

  21. Just me~ Bobbie Jo says:

    I would love to win the book.

  22. Praying Mom says:

    I don’t find it hard to respect my husband. He makes it easier by following his part… loving me. He shows me so much love that just comes natural to respect him.
    ladyverlina AT yahoo.com

  23. I can’t get to a conference in North Carolina, but I sure could use that book!
    thepadens@cox.net

  24. Gods Student 4 Life says:

    Speaking for myself…I have tons of clutter that needs clearing!

    Thanks!

    Melissa
    mggb75@gmail.com

  25. We just finished a 2 week series on these same topics at church. I would love to read Dr. Emmerson’s book and go further. Thanks for offering them. It was eye opening to me to see the cycle that gets going if we let it!
    Bridget @ turnerbm@bellsouth.net

  26. His book has been on my to-read list for along time!!!! Thank you for the reminder that we need to un-clutter or hearts and minds!!!

  27. sweettea.n.ice says:

    It’s funny what you said about choosing the wording of your vows carefully. I remember doing that too with my vows to Eddie. I did want to be able to live up to them, but I also wanted people to understand what those words really mean.

    I am in the middle of learning this lesson, too. Maybe I’m still at the beginning??? GOD is trying to teach me this through both Created to Be His Helpmeet and The Love Dare.

    I’m trying to remember when you guys got married…Eddie and I were in November, April and Jerald were December. When did you guys get married?

  28. Becoming clutter can happen so quickly and too easily. My husband works tons of hours and odd hours it’s easy to get caught up in the “alone” feeling. Anything that can help in learning how to deal with these feelings would be great!

  29. I would love to be entered into the drawing for the book. I’m also looking for ideas to improve my marriage.

    thanks

    Kim / Ohio
    kimdillon@vernay.com

  30. My bible study just finished Love and Respect. What a tremendous book!

  31. Thanks Renee,
    This was a great reminder. The closet clutter was a fantastic illustration of the condition of our hearts at times. I would love to read the book.
    thefahys@gmail.com

    Any adoption update?
    Christine

  32. Mocha with Linda says:

    The book sounds great. So does the conference, but apparently you don’t have many in that state who are commenting today and can get there!

    And you and Lysa are ganging up on us with our wardrobes and closets today! No fair! LOL

  33. Tonya Ingram says:

    I certainly can relate!

  34. I’ve been on a real de-clutter kick! I’ve ALMOST gone through the entire house! Closets, cupboards – everything! In fact, earlier tonight I bagged 5 garbage bags full of clothes to donate to a charity. (Only one bag had my clothes in it!) My next job is the storage in the basement. What gets me is that it all looks perfect right now, but give it a few weeks, months, and it will be time to de-clutter again. Every time I make a ‘clean sweep’ I have good intentions to ALWAYS keep it looking like this, but somehow things get untidy again.

    Good intentions are never enough. Not in cleaning and certainly not in marriage. It takes work and effort. The results are so worthwhile.

    Thanks for always being such an encouragement here Renee.

    Love ya,
    Joy

  35. Wow, my husband and I were JUST in the middle of cleaning out our closets. I, of course, was thinking of the million and one things that I needed to do that were more important! That’s when I stopped to ask God to keep me focused and here I am… at your blog! Praise God! He is amazing!

    Anna Mc
    anna@lachlanfarm.com
    (Would love love love the book, but I recently won a prize through your blog).

  36. I would love to win tickets to see Love and Marriage conference in N.C. Thanks for considering us(my husband and I) for this Valentine conference. May God continue to use you for His honor and glory.
    Paula
    livin2servjc@hotmail.com

  37. Thanks so much for the insights, it is so easy to get caught up in the cycle. I tend to make comments “to help” my husband and what I am really doing is being critical, just in an underhanded way. I am at a point where I know I need to work on my marriage, but don’t even know where to start and am procrastinating because life with 4 kids is busy. I would love to win the book (unfortunately, the conference is too far from us here in CA) and start to be more of who God and my husband want me to be. Thanks so much for sharing Renee!

    Angela
    avjuarez@yahoo.com

  38. What a great post!! I ummmm have lots of clutter in my closet and some not so hidden that is driving me crazy!! I am also on a quest to read this book. Haven’t gotten it yet or started it yet but you are the third person in the last wmonth to recommend it to me! hmmmmm God speaking?!

    lisa@andrewsmithteam.com

  39. This is great. This is something I truely need to work on in my marriage. I would like to win the Love & Respect book. bubbie_boogie@cox.net

  40. Hey Renee,
    I am certain this conference will be amazing. Greg & I read the book and did the video series, twice! It not only helped our marraige, but it helped my husband better understand our teenage girls as well. Men will listen to this because it is another man telling it not a woman!Not to mention he is very animated. Enjoy the conference, we would love to see him in person sometime.
    Hugs,
    Margaret

  41. wow. my family is going through intense financial struggle. your message really blessed me in a time where i am having doubts about everything… especially my husband’s decisions. i would love to win the book…sign me up!

    dthomas@iconap.com

  42. Every marriage no matter how stable it may be could use some encouragement. I am interested in winning the Love and Respect book. I would love to go the conference also if there ever was one in my area.

    gems4him@bellsouth.net

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