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Women's Conference - March 2009


The theme of the conference was de-cluttering. That is de-cluttering our lives, both physically and spiritually. This was an appropriate topic as we move from winter into spring. A season of change with daffodils out, birds chirping and we even change our clothes into bright colours. In the same way we want to clean out our homes.
As an icebreaker, three groups of four were given a carpet each with ketchup stain and given an array of cleaning materials to choose from. After two minutes of cleaning they were judged to see which group had the cleanest carpet. To the naked eye, the one cleaned with proprietary products seemed cleanest, but looking through a camera lens, it was seen that the cleanest was the one cleaned with bicarbonate of soda - an inexpensive natural product.


Moving on to the theme proper, we had several contributions as to why people end up with so much clutter and how the process can be reversed. The consensus was that clutter is a mind set thing, dependent on childhood background, culture of want or the feeling of not wanting to be wasteful.  This is why some people will receive letters, packages or presents and save the envelopes and wrappings with the intention of making use of it sometime. That time never comes!
Most people expressed how clutter affects them: some are unable to sleep or even function in the presence of clutter. Some go to the extreme of ensuring that everywhere is perfectly clean and will not even allow children to play or sleep on beds during the day for fear of them messing up the house. On the contrary some people do not even seem to notice clutter and can live and function normally whatever the state of the house.

It was agreed that neither extreme is good. There is need to strike a balance: allow children to play, but teach them to clean up after, thus teaching them right from a young age the need to live in a tidy environment.

In the course of discussion, some participants said there are some homes in which they would not eat or drink because of the state of the house. We were advised that friends of such women must help them by pointing out the need to clean up. If this cannot be expressed in words, then starting the clean up would be a sufficient indicator of that need. We were advised to be humble enough to pick up good de-cluttering habits from those we come in contact with. For example, clean light switches, skirting boards and fold and put away laundry.


Tips

1.    Clean up cupboards regularly.
2.    Rotate stock in order to reduce wastage.
3.    Train children to pack away and clean toys after playing.
4.    Put up schedules of things to do each day.
5.    File away important documents.
6.    Regularly get rid of unwanted stuff e.g. car boot sales, charity, recycling banks or local dumps.

Spiritual De-cluttering


In order to start de-cluttering spiritually, it is important to ensure that our experiences are intact. We then check that we do not have any junk such as anger malice, gossip or any other bad habits. We should be careful not to allow our ears to become dustbins with which we readily receive destructive information. Rather, we should only keep those things which conform to Philippians 4:8.
It is important to ask God to remove cultural or background issues, which we have harboured for a long time and may be detrimental to our spiritual well being. Also we should not allow disappointments to drive us away from the fellowship we share with brethren or make us retreat into a shell.
Spiritual de-cluttering is not as easy as the physical equivalent. We must realise that it is not mental changes, but changes that can only be brought about by fasting and fervent prayers. We need to analyse the junk in our lives by using Galatians 5:9-21.

Physical clutter is related to our spiritual well being: if one lives in a cluttered house, it will be difficult to obey God’s injunction that we should be fervent in hospitality as the state of our homes may prevent people from accepting our hospitality. As we strive to prevent the build up of physical clutter, so we should regularly de-clutter our spiritual lives.
Tips

1.    Read and meditate on God’s word.
2.    Pray.
3.    Be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
4.    Avail ourselves of our sources.
5.    Fellowship with God’s children regularly.
6.    Check with friends that we have not offended them.

The auditorium was set up as a show home depicting clean and uncluttered rooms. There were bed making and other demonstrations with time saving tips and novel and fun ways of folding clothes, and putting them away neatly; even when space it at a premium. It was a wonderful day of fellowship. There were many prizes given with the first going to the winning group of carpet cleaners. In the course of setting up the auditorium, some litter was deliberately left on the floor and the sister that picked them up also received a prize.
There was a short run through of personal hygiene after which the Pastor popped in with a word of encouragement and the day was rounded up with a gift, of either a cleaning product or clutter reducing implements, for each delegate.
 
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