Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)
The internet blew up earlier this year with the arrival of the Netflix Series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. The show’s star, an organizational consultant both by passion and by profession, has sold over 40 million books in the last few years, but it’s the television series that has catapulted Kondo to the ranks of cultural juggernaut. The premise of her “KonMari” organizational theory is simple: if something “sparks joy” in your life, feel free to keep it. If not, thank the object for the joy it provided and then lovingly discard it. She effortlessly communicates the possibilities that come through learning to live with less and focusing on what matters.
While Kondo’s method is perhaps more closely aligned with Shinto spirituality, the way she meditatively folds laundry—taking time to “thank” the individual shirts and pants for the joy they provide—gently teaches her clients to be grateful for their many gifts (a practice Christians can easily adapt by thanking the God who provides the gift instead of the gift itself). Invariably, those who seek her help discover the truth of Jesus’ teaching: “life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15). Styled in the format of a home improvement show, Tidying Up feels more like therapy for a cluttered world.
The call to simplicity helps us turn away from the desire to acquire more and turn our attentiveness to the ways God has already met our needs.
SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Gratitude
Songs like “Count Your Blessings” or “10,000 Reasons” remind us to be grateful for the multitude of gifts God has provided. Taking a moment to add up the ways God’s goodness has been made manifest in your life also happens to be a powerful spiritual exercise that can help praise become an instinctual habit. Start small (10-20 things) and then take the time to express your gratitude in a time of quiet prayer.
• Make a list of all the things God has blessed you with—all the things that make life wonderful.
• Pay attention throughout your day. Try to notice the things you often overlook.
• Include the things God has done for you throughout your life.