The Measuring Stick

There’s a show on Netflix called, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” It grew out of the famous book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” In the best-selling book and the popular show, Marie shares her secrets to successfully de-cluttering and having a simpler, more satisfying home, and the outcome is sort of magical!

The first 3 steps of her process are critical, and I think they can really help all of us parents-on-a-mission. Here’s what Marie Kondo says:

Commit to the process. If clients are not willing to commit to making the effort and the necessary changes, they can’t expect to see success. This makes total sense; much of life is like this.
Dream and realize how tidying up will change your life. More than just “my house will be less messy”, Marie asks her clients to dig deeper. What lasting, positive outcomes can you expect from a process like this? Things like less stress, which means more peace. Things like less time cleaning, which means more time for living. This gets to the real “WHY” of it all, the deeper goal; this is not just about tidying for tidying’s sake, though I’m sure all of us appreciate a tidy space. This is about tidying as a way to change the way we live our lives, hence the “life-changing” part. And that’s a big difference. It’s this WHY, this deeper goal that will help this to become a process that sticks and is able to lead to sustained joy.
And there it is, that word: JOY. In true minimalist style, Marie asks ONE question as the measuring stick for what we keep, and what we pass along: does this item SPARK JOY. That’s it. Because, according to Marie, even if our homes are full of useful, beautiful things, if those things don’t spark joy, then what purpose are they actually serving?

Now, as a mom with 4 kids who are at different ages and stages, this feels like it might be an overly-simplified way to decide what to keep or pass along. Do these legos spark joy in anyone right now? Nope, especially when I step on them and feel like I’m gonna die. Will they spark joy in someone soon? You bet. KEEP.

But what if we apply this process of committing and finding our WHY, our goal, and then asking a “measuring stick” question to the way we live our life as a family? What if we are so focused on, committed to, and motivated by our goal, that we’re willing to measure everything against it?

And so here’s the question: what is the GOAL of your family? At the end of your earthly life, when it’s all said and done, what do you hope to have accomplished with and in and for and through your family, and why? This is a big question. One that, frankly, I don’t think many of us think about often enough. Is it enough to be decent citizens and kind humans and good students/ athletes/ artists/ employees? Those are all really good things, but just like a tidy house isn’t the end goal of Marie’s method, those goals don’t seem to be motivating factors for life, right?

We want to help you with this. We’ve provided some resources over on the “Mission Possible” section of our Ablaze Family Series page to help you determine the WHY for your family, commit to a goal, and create a motivating “measuring stick” process to help you as you navigate your life. Commit. Dream. Measure. Repeat. Because life as a family should spark real and lasting joy.

Romans 15:13; “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace.”

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