I’ve been returning to better eating habits and cooking more at home. But, until recently, our pantry was still crowded with junk food (and old diet food from my last well-intentioned effort to lose weight). Much of what was in the cabinet was expired, and other stuff just wasn’t serving my current purposes. All the clutter of things I no longer needed, used, or derived benefit from hampered my ability to access and use the items which supported my healthier style of cooking. Time to clean out the pantry!
It was kind of a pain to set aside a Saturday morning for this cupboard cleaning project, but boy did it feel great once I was done and staring into a well-organized cabinet filled with the ingredients I need to make tasty and healthy meals.
And what a sense of relief to not have to dig past temptations and push aside clutter to find what I was looking for!
Our Faith Pantry May Need a Makeover, too!
Many turning points or transitions in our lives reveal a need to declutter the support structure which feeds our faith.
Maybe you find yourself in a new season of life:
- new baby,
- kids transitioning from elementary to middle school (or middle to high school),
- a newly empty nest.
Perhaps you’re facing a season of illness or grief.
Or, a move to a new town or a change in your living arrangement has required you to adapt to a “new normal.”
All of these reasons (and many more) may bring about a realization it’s time to let go of some old stuff to make room for the new.
Or, we may discover we’ve had some precious treasure buried under the disarray of an over-crowded schedule.
Just as our closets, pantries, and budgets need to be intentionally tended and pruned back, so too does our faith pantry.
By faith pantry I mean the soul-sustaining infrastructure we use to nurture and grow our walk with Christ.
Our faith pantry can become a source of discouragement and stress if it contains habits, worship styles, Bible studies, small groups, service and outreach ministries, and other means of living out our relationship with God that just don’t fit as well as they used to.
We may realize the strategies that served us well in the past are no longer meeting our current needs for communing with and serving God in our new situation.
3 Steps to Declutter & Restock Your Faith Pantry
1. Assess Current Needs & Resources
Make an assessment of your current needs and resources. Consider changes to your schedule, environment, and interests.
What needs do you have (relationally, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and so forth)? What needs are being met (or not)?
What resources are available to you in your current season or situation? Do you need to fill in some gaps? What is lacking? What is no longer serving you well?
For example, let’s consider the resources of time and energy. A new mom with a tiny infant will have fewer hours and less energy to devote to an intensive Bible study than she did prior to becoming a parent of a newborn. Whereas, a newly retired person may have more free time than they previously enjoyed.
If you moved, for instance, you may have lost your support system of friendships, church family, and other relationships and activities you used to rely on. How can you fill in those missing pieces in your new scenario?
2. Provide or Prune
After having assessed your current needs and the resources you have available to meet those needs, you are likely to discover there are activities, habits, and such that are in need of pruning and others in need of propping up with extra provisions.
That evening Bible study that suited your schedule perfectly when you worked full-time no longer is the best fit for your new schedule, as a stay-at-home mom.
Or, perhaps you went from spending a lot of time with people to being more isolated. So, whereas studying the Scriptures on your own was fine before, now you long for the opportunity to discuss and share your studies with other people.
What unmet needs need new resources to nurture what has been withering? Where do these resources exist and how can you access them? Who could you ask for input, advice, or counsel?
What needs trimming back to accommodate new needs or to make the most of new resources? Do you need to make a change to the groups, volunteer positions, and such you have been participating in? What can you delegate, delete, or re-purpose?
3. Refine Your Results
Once I had cleaned out the pantry in our kitchen it became easier to cook the healthy food that supports the lifestyle I want to develop. However, I know if I don’t periodically do little spot checks and regularly add items to or remove items from those shelves, I will not have what I need to properly feed my family.
The same is true of our spiritual cupboard. Try the new Bible study, small group, or volunteer opportunity. Then assess how well it met those needs you identified. Make alterations and refinements as needed to keep your faith pantry well stocked!
FREE Step-By-Step Detailed Guide
I’ve written about this concept before and used the analogy of cleaning out one’s faith closet and figuring out one’s unique style of walking with God.
For that article, I created a guide to walk you step-by-step through discovering your needs and resources to create a custom-made walk with God that is biblically sound and tailored to your current season of life.
It’s essentially the same process I covered in this post, only at a much more detailed level. So if you need some more guidance to get your faith pantry (or closet) restocked and decluttered, click the image or button below and I’ll email you the free guide.
How's your faith pantry these days? When was the last time you put some thought into providing for or pruning back the items in your spiritual storehouse? You can leave a comment by clicking here.