Get rid of excess baggage, simplify, author advises

by Heather Johnston Wicks, posted Thursday, April 22, 1999 (19 years ago)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Some women find it difficult to concentrate if their lives are disorganized.

Kim Thomas, a poet, painter, songwriter and author from Nashville, Tenn., suggests they find some peace by getting rid of excess baggage. She's even written a Broadman & Holman book outlining how to do it.

In “Simplicity: Finding Peace by Uncluttering Your Life,” Thomas uses biblical principles that women -- or men -- can use to free up their physical (or material), emotional and spiritual lives.

"God so much focused my eyes on the interior clutter I'd been collecting," she said. "It was a shock to see how the Lord was revealing himself to me."

Thomas' gift for organization grew from spending her childhood moving from place to place, she said. Growing up, she lived in Japan, California and several southeastern states.

The frequent shuffles forced Thomas to keep personal possessions to a minimum. It also taught her how to apply the concept of simplicity to her life. Thomas said she now makes lists of tasks she needs to accomplish. Then she makes lists of her lists.

Because Thomas and her husband, Jim, form a contemporary Christian band, SaySo, she continues to travel, still using her skills at scaled-down travel.

Thomas' approach to simplification emphasizes making the mundane fun, managing time efficiently and detaching from worldly possessions.

She believes people should free themselves from items they haven't used in awhile -- from Christmas decorations to clothing.

"If you haven't used it or reached for it in a year, get rid of it," she said.

Once people relinquish unneeded material possessions, they should find it easier to move on to the next step, reducing emotional clutter, Thomas said.

Uncluttering emotionally took far more work for Thomas, she said. However, writing the book helped her clarify how to get rid of emotional disarray.

She suggests starting by taking inventory of both emotional surpluses and emotional drains.

Thomas found relational conflicts drained her emotionally, while simple joys like gardening and painting were fulfilling.

Next, Thomas suggests in her book, after paring down physical and emotional clutter, it's time to focus on spiritual clutter.

The hardest part of uncluttering, Thomas said, was keeping her spirit "sin free and clutter free."

"I tend to complicate the spiritual side," she said. "While growing up, I cluttered my spiritual world with shoulds and musts so I could gain approval."

She believes the number one way for someone to remove spiritual clutter is to try to remove sin.

Thomas draws on what she calls the habits of holiness to achieve spiritual and emotional peace: forgiveness, meditation, prayer, fasting and worship. Through these habits, Thomas said she finds peace through God.

Being at peace internally is vital for the body, soul and spirit, she said.

"These are not unconnected rooms in a house. They all affect each other. What we do in our physical body relates to our soul and spirit. You'd be amazed how free you will become if you get rid of those things that are taking up space in your soul, body and spirit," Thomas said.

Simplicity: Finding Peace by Uncluttering Your Life can be found in LifeWay Christian Stores and other bookstores. It may also be ordered on-line at www.lifewaystores.com. Broadman & Holman is the publishing arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Wicks is a freelance writer from Nashville.

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