June 7, 2019

"Sparking Joy" in Your Faith

Earlier this year Netflix released a binge-worthy series called Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. In short, the show presents itself as a voyeuristic dive into different people’s homes and attempts to declutter their spaces. Since debuting, it has quickly risen to the top of social media and buzzworthy notoriety due to a variety of reasons ranging from memes about Marie Kondo’s personality and practices to unfavorable discourse involving microaggressions around racist and classist undertones. Kondo has left a significant mark on the ecosystem of online chatter which has left many people curious and eager to find out more.

Interestingly enough, I believe Kondo delicately captures a hunger for joy and happiness that many of us seek beyond our secular domains of our homes. That hunger reaches deeper into our spiritual houses. You see, throughout the series, the individuals who come from a robust background of races, ethnicities, social locations, marital statuses, and sexualities quickly learn that what Marie is sharing with them is not just a practice to “get rid of stuff” but rather a way to find out what really matters to them as they move forward in their respective journeys.

This same practice could be adopted by many of us. If you’re looking for more religiously engineered language, perhaps instead of sorting out what sparks joy in your life you could say “what brings me closer to God?”

In my experience as a seminarian, I’ve been fortunate to share many conversations with folks from all over The Episcopal Church and the world. Some of the richest conversations I’ve had are with individuals who have gone through a similar process that Marie details through the KonMari method. They’ve gone through the difficult journey of letting go or decluttering their respective spiritual practices if they did not, in fact, bring them closer to God.

For example, if centering prayer isn’t your spiritual jam, then don’t do it! Or, if doing Imago Dei isn’t for you, then take a pass. It’s a simple process in theory but the actual act of being intentional about the practices and objects you are bringing into your future are daunting for many. Consider this time a spiritual inventory of your faith practice and use it as an opportunity to explore and bring new life into your relationship with God.

At the end of the day, only you can truly discern what brings you closer to God. Whether it’s a particular form of intentional meditation, spending time doing community service, praying with your feet or body in protest, or attending every single service your church offers -- you do you. What we can truly take away from Marie Kondo is that the process for sparking joy is deeply personal, much like our journey for what brings us closer to God.