Faith, Forgiveness, Grace

Stuff: Renewing Our Hearts and Minds

Rocky doorway

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This is the final installment of a three-part series about creating white space in our homes and our lives. You can find the other posts here.


Purging a closet, much less a room, can feel overwhelming. When we do the work, a room is opened up . . . and so is something inside of us.

But what things do we need to purge from our internal closets? Last week, I shared a few thoughts on our schedules and fear. What else sits on the shelves of our closets? Here are a couple I’ve worked on purging from my heart.

Peek thru door



Last year, I faced some big-for-me disappointments, and I know I’ll deal with more this year. We need to give ourselves permission to feel the emotions that come with them, to acknowledge the disappointment. But, we mustn’t get stuck in that place. 

One of the hardest things in working through disappointment is that I blame myself. I look for all the things I did wrong that must have led to the disappointing outcome. I’m discovering, in those times, I need to re-direct my thoughts to God’s truth.

Walking bridge to beauty


One big truth I’m learning to embrace is that God’s plan and His timing are always better than mine.

When I lean into and rest in this truth, I’m better able to work through the feelings and realign my heart with God’s. This also helps me accept the grace God always offers.

Isaiah 55:8-9 ~ “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’”

Open door



Regrets are hard because sometimes, we can’t change terrible actions and choices from the past. There’s no way to right the wrongs we’ve created.

We need to acknowledge our regrets to God.

We need to ask for forgiveness.

And we need to forgive ourselves.

God assures us if we ask for His forgiveness, He’ll give it. Who are we to not forgive ourselves? To not accept His forgiveness is to tell Him we think we are God.



We can’t change the past. We can’t always make things right with those we’ve hurt. But, we can ask God for help to move forward. It takes time to work through the emotions connected with regret.

To acknowledge how far short we fell.

To bring it all before God.

And to accept God’s forgiveness.

We need to give ourselves permission to work through all of this. I find journaling helpful when I am working through the deep issues in my heart.



God has given us His grace. The question is, will we walk in it? Because accepting God’s grace is the key to moving beyond regret.

Romans 8:1—“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”



Sometimes we become so comfortable with our “stuff” we don’t see it for the clutter it is. We don’t realize how much it drains us because we’re so used to how it makes us feel. We believe it’s just a part of who we are.

When we keep these items at the forefront of our thoughts, our decision-making will be based on what’s in our closets, so to speak.

Truth is, God didn’t create us to live with some of these items in our internal closets. They’ve taken up residence, but that doesn’t mean we have to allow them to stay there.

To purge within ourselves—to create breathing space for our spirit—we must be intentional about doing the work.

Too much busy-ness, unforgiveness, wounds, fear, disappointments, regrets . . . these all hog space on our shelves that God ordained for better purposes. He wants to fill us with His love so we can pour that out into others’ lives. So we can live in the freedom He offers.



When we clear out the clutter, we open up our shelves to hold other things, like joy, peace, and freedom.

When we have space on our shelves—in our hearts—for the things of God there’s a natural breathing space that opens up. We know His joy because we’re not cluttered with other stuff that prevents us from living in it.

I’m not gonna lie. It’s not easy. Purging our insides is hard, humbling work. It’ll require spending time with the Lord, confessing things, laying ourselves bare before Him.



The good news is He’s the absolutely safest Person we could do this with. And, He’s the Healer. As we’re willing, God will help us remove the clutter, the dirt, the litter, from inside us and into the eternal trash can.

When we’re willing to deal with the things that weigh our spirits down, God opens up a lightness within us. He fills it with His peace and teaches us how to breathe deep and free.

What about you? What scares you about purging your internal clutter? When you’ve dealt with one of the areas I mentioned, what was the result?

Click to Tweet: Purging our insides is hard, humbling work

Today I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday and Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup

36 thoughts on “Stuff: Renewing Our Hearts and Minds”

  1. Great post, Jeanne, and love the pictures…especially the Hobbit-House.

    I’ve recently realized another area of mental ‘clutter’, and that is ambition. It’s something we may be called to release for the greater good.

    When I lost my teaching career, I thought that perhaps I would find success in writing (it was by then all I could physically do), and that didn’t happen. But as I fell, Barbara, on re-entering the workforce, was able to rise. She’s an asset to her company, and has found strength and confidence in herself that she never knew existed.

    But this would not have happened had my life gone ‘better’. She was my strong right arm in teaching, making it easy for me to excel, and she would have done the same in the service of my writing.

    I had to fall so that she could rise, and if I resent that, if I hold to my lost ambitions, I take something from her success.


    1. Andrew, I’m so glad you brought up ambition. That would have been another great space-hogging item to mention. Although, I think your words and perspective on this are much more meaningful than mine would have been. Thank you for sharing the beauty of encouraging others to be strong rather than pursuing our own ambitions, sometimes at the cost of another’s benefit. I love how God has worked this dynamic in yours and Barb’s marriage. Thanks for the reminder of how important it is to release those amibitions into God’s hand so as not to take from another’s success.

      Praying for you, friend!


  2. Jeanne,
    I’m discovering that we are A LOT alike. When things go wrong…Step 1. Blame myself. Wrong. As you so beautifully pointed out that His ways are higher than our ways and sometimes a disappointment here leads to a joy there. I have also camped out on Romans 8:1. Continuing to beat myself up for regrets does not honor God. When Jesus said, “It is finished.” He meant it. Great reminders this am.
    Blessings sweet friend,


    1. Bev, this sounds bad, but I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has been sucked into wrong thinking. Thank you for sharing some of your lessons learned on the journey to letting go of disappointment and regret. I love that Jesus’ words are so final and filled with hope. Grateful for you!


  3. You could be writing about me today. The process of refining that you describe is a work from the inside out. It is allowing God to keep pruning even when it doesn’t feel good because He knows us best. It is persevering forward even when it feels good staying stuck because it is what we know best. Great series. Thank you for sharing a piece of you throughout this series.


    1. Mary, you’re so right. That refining is a work from the inside out. I’m thankful God prunes, even when it hurts. I’m also thankful He sees the final picture of who I/we will be, whereas we can really only see the past and the now. Thank goodness He is patient when we resist, and gentle when He prunes. I appreciate you!


      1. I love it: gentle when He prunes. I have recently been dealing with a cleansing for space in my spirit. God brought up things so gently, it barely hurt at all. As a matter of fact, it was a joyful victory over a long held vine of unconnectedness that the Master Gardener had to pull up by the roots to free me. He is so good!


      2. Mom, I love that God so perfectly knows how to bring things up in our lives. He has that way of being gentle, or direct (or both). The thing is, when we listen to Him, and yield to His promptings, He can work so powerfully. I’ve found sometimes there is pain, and sometimes, it doesn’t hurt too much. I’m so glad He’s working freedom in you!


  4. Disappointment is a big one with me, Jeanne. It’s like I almost feel it physically. Praying “not my will, but yours” helps the most … it takes the focus off my plans and agendas and puts it back on God’s plan and timing. I think you’re right about how that internal clutter drains us and we don’t even realize it. I need to pray that God would reveal those things that are draining me that I’m too blind to see right now. Wonderful series, my friend!


    1. I’ve dealt with plenty of disappointment too, Lois. It’s hard to let go of it sometimes. And, it really affects my thinking and perspective. I love the reminder to pray that prayer. When we can submit our plans to what He knows is best, I’ve found rest. I’m praying for you today, friend!


  5. Oh, but I don’t like doing the work! (she says with a pouted lip and stomping foot)

    I’m afraid I can be pretty childish when it comes do doing the roll up your sleeves kind of heart work. But this reminder is so true. And the most beautiful part is that God doesn’t make us do the work alone 🙂


    1. Becky, you made me smile. I don’t like doing the work either!! But, I’m so glad that God helps us, even with (especially with) heart work. Thanks for stopping by today!


  6. I’m so thankful the purging isn’t left for us to do alone or in our own strength. We’d never be able to face it or make any kind of lasting change then. Yay for Jesus giving us His strength and power to do everything God asks of us…forgive, repent, purge, and grow. Jesus is the most thoughtful, kind, and generous of all.


    1. I completely agree, Jennette. I love that God helps us in the hard, holy work of purging our hearts. And you’re so right. If we did in our own strength, the results would be temporary. It’s amazing how doing the work with God renews us, isn’t it? Thank you so much for stopping by!


  7. I so identify with this, Jeanne. I love that you express it is important we give ourselves permission to feel our emotions, but we can’t allow ourselves to remain stuck in it. Whether from disappointments or regrets, I do so much self-criticizing. Sometimes it pops up again and goes on and on… But God continually and patiently reminds me of Romans 8:1. And I realize again that if He doesn’t condemn me, then I shouldn’t condemn myself either. It’s hard sometimes, isn’t it? I love how patient and loving He is with us. Thank you for this series! Love and hugs!


    1. Trudy, self-criticism is such a spirit-killer, isn’t it? I’m so glad we have God’s word to refresh our hope and remind us of how He sees us. He sees us as precious, as worth-it, and as loved. Not as one condemned. Like you, I’m truly thankful He is patient and gracious as we learn to walk more closely with Him. Thanks for sharing a part of yourself here today!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I love your words of wisdom here, Jeanne. Sometimes it’s hard to face these things but it is so important to be honest with God and work through them. I love the reminder that when we face disappointment it is important to face up to that but to reach the point of acknowledging that God has a good plan, even if it is different from ours. I also find journaling a really helpful way to work things through.


    1. Lesley, that whole being honest with God can be hard, can’t it? I’m so thankful that He’s patient with us as we learn to trust Him with everything and allow Him to help us work through things. I’m glad we both have journaling in common! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jeanne, your wonderful post is timely for me in that I’m trying to de-clutter in so many ways. Your words “confessing things” reminds me that confessing uncovers and removes stuff to make room for more of Him. More of Christ means more peace, more joy, more life.
    Blessings ~ Wendy


    1. Wendy, it’s interesting how God brings purging about in different areas of our lives. Sometimes it’s clearing the physical clutter from our rooms and homes. Sometimes it’s about decluttering the lies we’ve held to for so long, or the hurts, or disappointments and regrets. He’s so faithful to walk with us. When we trust Him, He’ll help us get rid of the junk in our lives so we can be filled with more of Him.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sometimes disappointment and regret go hand in hand for me. I am disappointed with results and regret starting on that particular path that didn’t work out. Wise counsel once said to me: But what if it did work out? I have pondered that often and know fear of disappointment can clutter the path to openness too. Thanks for this today Jeanne!


    1. Interesting, Lynn. I can see how these two could go together. When we take a risk that doesn’t work out, we may very well regret attempting it. Whether it’s a relationship, an adventure, following a dream, or something else, we face the risk of regret whenever we put ourselves out there in some way.

      You did receive wise counsel! Thanks so much for sharing it here. I always appreciate your thoughts!


  11. Ohhhh … (moan) … the clutter in my spirit. I felt it sharply today … I am so busy. I love being involved in my teenage girls’ activities–but it can be all consuming. I think I need some time alone–without technology to distract me–to truly hear what He wants to clean up… thank you for this challenge, Jeanne!


    1. Dianne, it’s so easy to be so busy. It’s so hard to find the balance between doing what we should—and even want to—do and being led by God in how we plan our days. Time away from technology is such a refreshing thing. I probably need to do that too. 🙂 I’m so glad you stopped by, Dianne!


  12. Hi, Jeanne, I clicked on your comment on another site. I don’t think we’ve crossed paths before. Nice to meet you. 🙂 What a great analogy — so much clutter we create in our homes and in our beings. We can often use a “spring cleaning” of our mental and emotional clutter, can’t we? Lovely post, thanks for sharing. 🙂


    1. Julie, I suspect many of us wrestle with internal clutter of one sort or another. 🙂 It is painful in the removing. I love how God replaces the pain with His peace and sense of freedom once the clutter is gone. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by!


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