Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Declutter More Than Your Closet!


I recently received an alert on my cell phone. Seems I had too many temp files consuming valuable space. The fix was simple: click on each app, select “storage and cache,” then select “clear cache.” Voila! Unnecessary files disappear, freeing more space for . . . hmmm, not sure yet. Unfortunately, a few weeks after I clear those unnecessary temp files, I have to do it again.

The problem is not limited to my phone. I’ve spent the last few months trying to declutter my home, but when I look around my house, I can barely identify a difference.

Has this happened to you? I bag stuff for donation. And sell more stuff at a garage sale. Then bag even more stuff for trash. But a quick peek into my closets reveals they’re as packed as ever. Sigh. I’m beginning to think reproduction is occurring behind those closed doors!

Phones. Closets. Decluttering my physical life reminds me of the need to declutter my emotional and spiritual life, too. Yup, not proud of the unnecessary baggage there either.

Buried fears.

Lingering doubts.

Multiplying worries.

Piles of discouragement.

Concerns regarding my personal future. The ministry I lead. The writing goals I have.

Burdensome baggage I’ve been carrying for so long I’m almost oblivious to the added weight. Can you relate?

And if that isn’t enough, the news headlines add more crushing weight to what we carry. Pandemic. Terrorism. Persecution. Corruption. Blatant immorality.

It’s enough to make you want to curl up in a fetal position in your bedroom and never come out.

Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us to declutter on our own. His Holy Spirit reminds us of His Word, and then equips us to apply His wisdom as we step into the freedom Jesus purchased for us. Even when He doesn’t calm our circumstances, He calms us.

The following reminders speak to my heart. Perhaps they’ll speak to yours, too:

  • Matthew 6:25 – “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.”
  • John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
  • John 16:33 – “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.” In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
  • Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world,[c]but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 – “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
  • Philippians 3:13-14 – “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
  • Philippians 4:6-9 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
  • 1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”


The world appears to be falling apart, but as someone once said, it’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place. Our sovereign God still occupies His throne. Let’s learn from the apostle Peter’s mistake. He stepped out of the boat to walk on water . . . until he took his eyes off Jesus: “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30). Keep on “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2)!


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  1. Cindy Zuidema

    Thank you Ava! I needed this today. Only God can declutter my soul. Love that!

  2. Sharon Johnson

    Oh, I so needed this, Ava! Thank you. And you’re right. Only God can declutter me. I already tried. I’m a hoarder on so many levels! I think I’ll go and repent now.

  3. Mary Sayler

    Ava, you picked some of my most favorite Bible verses! Thanks for the reminders.

    Besides decluttering my closets, photos, computer files, and filing cabinet files, I’m trying to declutter and rearrange priorities. The willpower part didn’t work well as one distraction after another took away my focus, so I’m now PRAYING to declutter and rearrange priorities!

  4. Yvonne Morgan

    Wonderful post Ava. We do need to regularly evaluate and declutter our emotional and spiritual life. I try to do this at least once a year as part of my spring cleaning

  5. Jessica Brodie

    This is so convicting. Forget the stuff. What emotional baggage am I holding onto? What worries do I need to let go or toss in the trash so I can cling to Jesus instead?

  6. Melinda Viergever Inman

    I read recently that the impact on our brains of these past two years of pandemic and all of the other events that have swirled around this time — elections, war, family needs, loss of income, family matters, sickness, etc. have rendered most of our brains fatigued and unable to do many of the tasks we used to take for granted. Emotional baggage is heavy, and the longer we hold onto it, the heavier it becomes. What better person to give all of this to than Jesus himself. He’s the only one who can carry our burdens and us besides.

  7. Melissa Henderson

    I need this message. I love how God sends the messages we need at just the right time. Thank you God. Thank you Ava. 🙂

  8. Nancy E. Head

    A beautiful reminder in these crazy days that I must fear not. Thank you!

  9. Karen Friday

    Decluttering my heart, mind, and emotional being even sounds restful and comforting and freeing!

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