Thursday, November 15, 2012

Declutter Now: Uncovering the Hidden Joy and Freedom in Your Life by Lindon and Sherry Gareis

A few weeks ago publisher Ambassador International contacted me with the opportunity to be part of a blog book tour for the nonfiction book Declutter Now by Lindon and Sherry Gareis.  I was excited about my first blog tour, and I expected that I would be receiving a book stocked with an orderly set of instructions of how to organize my home, the kind of book of which there are already dozens and dozens.  Although Lindon and Sherry do cover letting go of that stuff that is piling up in the garage or hasn’t moved off the dining room table in months, their definition of “decluttering” is much more profound.  Instead of focusing on our organizational flaws, they have honed in on the freedom and hidden joy we can have if we dump excess baggage, whether that baggage is a bulging wardrobe, an overdue credit card, animosity toward a co-worker, or an overscheduled calendar.

What does the couple mean by “freedom” and why is this book considered a Christian self-help title?  Let’s let Lindon and Sherry explain in their own words:

           FREEDOM! Freedom what’s less important so you can have more of what is (p.77)         

How can you love God with all your mind, if your mind is a cluttered, stressed-out and burdened mess?  The short answer is, of course, that you can’t  (p. 189)

Organized by varying topics (physical clutter in the home, relationships that pull us down, debt and financial pressures, personal health, and parenting), each chapter includes key biblical references.  The authors share mistakes and difficulties from their failed marriages and how their changed focus on God has allowed them to live fuller lives.  While the actual advice they give for fixing each “clutter” area is probably something you have heard before, the authors’ unique slant that all these life problems have the same common negative effect of dismantling our relationship with God is a strong message. The final chapters hit a solid homerun as Lindon and Sherry remind us that God will provide.  When we realize that so much of our stress, our negativity, and our obsession with things and money is really a refusal to trust God, then we can take the necessary steps to simplify our life and to discover the hidden joy God plans for us.  

Another reviewer mentioned that taking any action on any of these huge life problems as taking “baby steps.”  That term reminded me of Christian money expert and radio host, Dave Ramsey.  If you’ve ever listened to him, then I think you’d find validity in Lindon and Sherry’s ministry.  As I read the book, I kept highlighting sections and taking notes.  Each section “ticked’ some personal boxes for me, and I believe everyone will be jolted to find that there are areas where our priorities need realignment or “decluttering.”  And if you’re like me, you’ll be compelled to clean a few closets or drawers, even if that is not the major theme of the book! 
Lindon and Sherry Gareis
I received a copy of this title for review purposes from Ambassador Intl.  I was not compensated and am not required to write a positive review.

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