Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:12)
Recently, I watched an episode of the show “Tidying Up” on Netflix. The show follows Marie Kondo as she goes to people’s homes in an attempt to help them declutter their houses and their lives. Her goal is to help families remove unnecessary items from their homes in an attempt to free up more space and create more organization in their homes. She cleans out closets, pantries, garages, bedrooms, living rooms etc; and helps families learn to live with less.
In order to determine what items, need to stay and which items need to go, Kondo asks the homeowner whether a certain item brings the owner joy. If it does, they are supposed to keep it and if it doesn’t it can be discarded. Using this filter of what should be kept, families then choose to keep or discard items in their home, and in the process, declutter their homes of those things that do not give them joy. Joy is tied to the material possessions that we own.
I understand the reasoning that Marie Kondo uses to help her clients. All of us have more items than we need and much of what we have doesn’t bring us joy. Items clutter our home and can make us feel overwhelmed and crowded. (I was amazed at how many items we took to Goodwill, gave away to friends, or sold in a garage sale as we moved from Louisiana.) It’s not a bad filter to use to help us declutter. We all have items we can remove from our homes that we are no longer using and that could be of use to someone else.
As I have thought about Kondo’s method of decluttering, it’s made me aware that we often seek joy from the material possessions in our lives. We look to our houses to bring us joy. We look to new cars, boats and other vehicles to make us feel better. We look to new clothing, accessories and other items we store in our closets to make us joyful. We look to the things of this world to bring us contentment and the joy and satisfaction that is so often lacking in our hearts.
We are looking in the wrong places. The things of this world were never meant to bring us lasting joy, because they don’t last. Houses need repair, cars break down, our clothes deteriorate and fall out of style, and other items lose their value and use over time. The joy associated with each of these is temporary. Earthly joys have limited value and limited time.
Instead, we must look to the joy God wants to give us. His joy is eternal, and He freely offers it to us. David realizes this in Psalm 51. He attempted to find His joy in His power and position, earthly treasures and in the arms of a woman who was not His wife. Yet, he couldn’t find it, and his pursuit cost him dearly. He pleads with God to “restore the joy of my salvation”. He knows true joy can only be found in a relationship with God.
Where are you seeking your joy? Are you looking at the things in your home to bring you lasting joy? Are you looking at the things you own to bring you true satisfaction? Are you searching this world for the joy you are lacking?
You don’t need to look any further. Turn your eyes to God and allow Him to meet your needs and to give you joy. His joy is eternal. His joy is everlasting. His joy is for you. Accept His joy and let it change your heart and life.