In case you haven’t heard of her, Marie Kondo is a Japanese lady who wants to “spark joy” through tidying up! She has a new TV series on Netflix called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, which is proving surprisingly popular for a programme about tidying up! Her method involves dividing everything in your house into five categories, then taking everything in a category and putting it all together in one pile. Then you pick up one item at a time, hold it and see whether or not it sparks joy. If it does, you keep it, if it doesn’t you thank it, and get rid of it (either give it away or throw it away).
It’s a great idea, in many ways, and I’m finding it useful myself! It has really challenged me to think about how much stuff I have. How easy it is for me to become too materialistic, or to hoard things that I don’t need, use or enjoy. It does highlight how easy it is for us to get more stuff, and how we take it for granted. When I look at my favourite dress, do I thank God for providing it for me? Not really. Should I? Of course. Jesus draws our attention to the fact that God provides all that we eat, drink and wear in Matthew chapter 6. Although where the original hearers may have been worrying about having enough, the problems we seem to face surround having too much!
But – and it’s a big but – Marie Kondo is not Jesus! The Konmarie method is not the gospel. It will not save us! Yes, having a good tidy up can make us feel better. It can help us to prioritise and shift our focus onto where it ought to be. But it will not solve our problems (other than the problem that I can’t close my wardrobe door – true story). At best, it will give us a clearer mind or provide a distraction from the real issues in our lives. At worst it will encourage us to be even more self-centred and judge everything based on whether it brings me joy – which is pretty much the essence of sin!
I spend a lot of time pushing a pushchair with my one-year-old sitting in it, and my three-year-old standing on the buggy board. As you can imagine, it weighs a fair amount, and is quite difficult to manoeuvre at times. This morning as I was pushing it up the hill, I realised that it had a tendency to veer towards the direction I was looking in. If I was looking over my shoulder at the trees, it veered to the right, and I got stuck in a bit of a ditch (also a true story). I think our lives are a lot like this. What we spend our time looking at is what our lives will veer towards. So looking to Marie Kondo may well make our lives tidier, but it won’t make us right with God.
Instead, look to Jesus. He willingly died on the cross and defeated death by rising from the grave, all to make us right with God. Oh how quickly we forget that simple but astounding truth! But don’t! Hold fast to it. Gaze at Jesus, remember what he has done for you, and your life will start to look like his. By all means tidy up if you want to (I certainly need to!) but don’t make the latest lifestyle trend – whether it’s tidying up, mindfulness or hygge sidetrack you from what’s really important. Instead, keep spending time in God’s word, reflect on it, chew it over, pray it through, and the rest of your life will fall into line. Proverbs 3:6 reminds us, “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”