Sparking Joy | Connecting with Culture
Moving house is tiring. Moving with a newly pregnant wife who is experiencing extreme morning sickness and on a very limited timeframe, turns out, is exhausting.
Author and speaker Marie Kondo is a ‘decluttering expert’. When I bought her book, Spark Joy, I thought my wife would love it.
I was wrong. The gift of that particular book at that particular time, in the end, sparked something other than joy.
Nonetheless, I love that strikingly visual concept of ‘sparking’ joy. Kondo’s recent series Tidying Up, currently on Netflix, challenges families to attempt her ‘KonMari Method’, tidying by category, not by location. They begin with clothes, then move to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items.
Her advice? ‘Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.’
I am sure many, like me, won’t agree with all she espouses – particularly any sense of the objects themselves having ‘spirits’. That said, sometimes the things we are holding on to, whether physical, mental, or emotional, can hold us back. Filling our spaces. Keeping us from joy, or sharing our joy.
Kondo challenges the families she works with: ‘there are three approaches we can take toward our possessions: face them now, face them sometime, or avoid them until the day we die.’
It’s a stark message, but the popularity of Kondo’s approach across social media and in homes around the country alerts us to the fact that it resonates with people. It gels with an understanding that our lives are too full of clutter, that we feel overwhelmed by ‘stuff’, and that, above all, we’re seeking joy.
It’s an age-old question, isn’t it? Where can I find joy? What will give me true, deep, lasting satisfaction? Getting rid of ‘stuff’? Using and keeping only the things that give me a good feeling?
The Christian message is one which points to the ultimate source of joy not as something but as someone – the creator of joy himself. And joy is a fruit of the Spirit – an outworking of God in us.
So, this January, where will you find joy? See what you make of Marie and her way, but let us be people who spark joy, and who point others towards the true source of joy itself.
Sparking joy, wherever we are, because of the one who sparks joy in us.
Josh is Digital Lead at LICC
Sign up to Connecting with Culture