December 27, 2011

Top Posts of 2011 (Part 4)

One of my favorite posts to write - and one of the most memorable events of my life - from this past year was the experience of my son choosing to follow Christ. Here's the story of Faith Like A Child

December 24, 2011

Top Posts of 2011 (Part 3)

The next post in my Top Posts of 2011 list is just one more story in a line of many that reassures people, if your life feels like a series of one hilarious, embarrassing event after another, the Mayfields are here for you! I think Morgan and I learned a long time ago that not only do you need to learn to laugh at yourself, you've got to be OK at other people laughing at you. No - not laughing "with" you - AT YOU! Like pointing, choking, doubled-over laughter. Parts of life can be tragic and painful. So take all the other opportunities to know and embrace that whether or not God has a sense of humor, He chose to give us one!

For you reading (and laughing) enjoyment, here's The Little Nosebleed That Could.

December 23, 2011

Top Posts of 2011 (Part 2)

This is Part 2 in my Top Posts of 2011. Here's Part 1: Are We Really Born This Way

While yesterday's post was definitely one of the most polarizing things I wrote all year, the subject of this next post has the same affect. In the classic (underrated & overlooked) movie "What About Bob", Bob Wiley (Bill Murray) makes the profound observation to his therapist, Dr. Leo Marvin, "There are two kinds of people in this world: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't". [I believe there is scientific data to back that up, by the way.] In the current culture - in a generation of Prosperity Gospel TV preachers - there is one name and personality that has risen above all others: Joel Osteen. Inside the Church and out, most are not indifferent to Joel. His theology - or lack of - is either appealing or repelling. Sadly, with most, it isn't a matter of whether or not you "like" Joel Osteen. That's why I want to be clear, I LOVE Joel Osteen. Here's my explanation: I Love Joel Osteen

December 22, 2011

Top Posts of 2011

As the end of the year is rapidly approaching, I've been looking back through my blog from the last 12 months. Over the next week I'm going to re-post the posts from this year that were either most viewed or stirred up the most conversation. If you're new to the blog, I hope these posts give you a good taste not only of WHAT I write about, but more importantly, WHY I write. If you've been reading my ranting for some time now, I hope these posts revitalize and refresh your heart. I believe as a Christian, all of life is viewed through the lens of the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom isn't something in the future - it's NOW! And as a follower of Jesus Christ, the calling on my life is to advance His Kingdom - to see it unfolding and being fulfilled in my life. In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus told His disciples, "The Kingdom of God isn't coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold...the Kingdom of God is IN YOU now!" Wherever we go - whatever we do - we have the opportunity to "Bring the Kingdom". That's what inspires me. That's WHY I write this blog.

Unbeknownst to me, at almost the exact same time I was writing this first post, Lady Gaga was releasing a song with almost the exact same name. Had I known this I might have re-titled the article, which is why I'm glad I didn't know. It created quite a bit of traffic I might not have seen otherwise. And it bloated my Inbox as well.

Here's the first post: "Are We Really Born This Way"

December 19, 2011

Early Resolve

As of right now, we've got about 2 weeks until 2012 arrives. If you're like every other human being, you'll be making at least some sort of New Year's resolution. I'm all for this. God is all about making things new - new starts and fresh beginnings. I love the first few weeks of the year at the gym because there are always a ton of new faces I've never seen before. The bad part: 3-4 weeks later, many of those new faces seem to suddenly disappear. I'd love to be able to give you some across-the-board reason why this happens. Not possible. It's different for everyone. That said, I want to give you a word of encouragement to ensure that your January 1 proclamation stands the test of time. 

You've almost certainly already begun thinking about the monumental change you're planning for next year - the new habit you're going to start (or) the old habit you're going to break. One way to give yourself a serious shot of motivation would be a reminder of WHY you made the resolution in the first place. Call it intentional early resolve! So here's what I propose:

Over the next 2 weeks, as January 1st is rapidly approaching, keep a journal. If you're planning to quit smoking, write down how you feel 15 minutes after you smoke every cigarette. If you're going to stop overeating - or stop eating too much of something - write down how you feel 5 minutes after you overeat. Keep and journal and very specifically take note of how you feel after you've indulged. If you need to start spending more time in the Word, if you need to start exercising and taking care of yourself, if you need to start getting your house in order, getting to bed earlier, watching less TV, praying with your wife - whatever it is - spend the next 2 weeks taking note of WHY

When February 1st arrives, whether you've faithfully hung in there or fallen off the wagon, you'll be inspired and motivate by your own reminder of WHY you needed to make this significant change in your life. You have to finally come to the place where you decide, "I must do this!" No one can decide for you. And by the way - in case you've forgotten or no one's ever told you - you're worth it! You've only got 1 life. Stop waiting on next week...and next month...and next year. 13 days from now...make it happen!

What change do you know needs to be made in your life?
Whatever it is, keep reminding yourself WHY!

December 14, 2011

Unrealistic Expectations

Expectation [ek spek TAY shuh'n] (Noun)
The act or state of looking forward to or anticipating; looking forward with assurance.

People have expectations. People around you, people who know you, people who follow you, and people you haven't actually even met yet - they all have expectations. And like it or not, they have expectations of YOU! 

Do you know what they are? Do you know what people expect?
Are there unrealistic expectations that - if you simply addressed them - could be cleared up and brought back home to reality?

Or what about very realistic and fair expectations? Are we living up to those?
For instance, it's completely understandable for my son to believe that I should spend time with him. And that I should do it often! But at times my wife and I have to address an unrealistic expectation that I (or she) should spend every waking, living, breathing moment doing the exact thing that will thrill his soul and make him happy. 

2 different expectations. 1 is reasonable and attainable. The other is neither.

We are often misunderstood because people have expectations of us - reasonable and unreasonable - that we will fail to live up to. Sometimes it's due to the fact that we had no idea anyone expected this of us. Other times though, it will simply have to do with the painful fact that we failed. Knowing this, I believe there are some key things we can do to prevent failing to live up to people's expectations, and as a result, being (once again) misunderstood:

1. Be CLEAR about the expectations you have of yourself.
If you're the pastor of a church of 500 people (or 200, for that matter) - or the leader of an organization of 300 faithful - you can't possibly meet all of those people's needs. You can't personally shepherd or equip or disciple that many. (At least not affectively!) But you probably don't expect yourself to do that. So make that clear to everyone! I know I need to do a better job of communicating to the people of my church that I have a few very clear, overarching expectations of myself as Lead Pastor of The Brook:
  • Faithfully preach the Word of God and set the pace of spiritual growth
  • Cast vision of WHERE our church is headed, WHY we're moving in that direction, and HOW we're going to get there (&)
  • Lead, equip, and empower our staff and leaders - being available and proactively pouring into their lives
Yes, I counsel people. I (sometimes) read and respond to incredibly lengthy emails. I directed traffic in the parking lot at Brooktoberfest. I spent 4 hours one day moving rocks around on our property. I'm leading our mission trip to Guatemala this summer. While all these things are important - and I LOVE doing (most of) them - I have to make it clear that these can't be everyone's expectations of me. I'm not a professional counselor. I'm not an engineer. 

2. If someone makes their unrealistic expectations known to you, address it.
As Scott McClellan said in his recent post, The Decision To Do Nothing, you can "decide not to address it". But make sure you understand ahead of time, your decision to do nothing is still a decision. And in one, possibly awkward, but totally necessary conversation, you could clear it all up. And for worst case scenario's sake, let's say the person doesn't agree with you - that they think you should live up to their expectations. Well, in that case, all you can do is lovingly let them know that you're going to have to disagree on this matter. And you - deep down, personally, where it hurts - are going to have to be OK  with the fact that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we are going to be misunderstood

What else can we do to clear up unrealistic expectations?

December 13, 2011

Don't Misunderstand Being Misunderstood

This is Part 2 in a series on being "Misunderstood". If you missed Part 1, I suggest you read it first. You can find it HERE

The feeling of being misunderstood can hurt - this idea that you've been unfairly represented or that what you've said or who you are has been misinterpreted. Especially if you're someone who desires integrity - that what people see is an honest picture of your true character - the thought of your character or your actions being called into question can wreck you. I don't think anyone would argue. But I'd like to submit to you that there's another reason we (as leaders, pastors, or simply just as humans) at times feel misunderstood, when in reality, that's not really what we're feeling at all. To put it this way, I think we can misunderstand being misunderstood.

This past weekend was significant in the life of our church. We affirmed our first 2 Elders. One of the reasons I am so stoked about this (other than the fact that it's the biblical model of church leadership) is because I do NOT desire to lead alone. While, as the Pastor, there's no denying that I am the chief visionary and leader of our church family, this does not mean that the Lord desires for me (or any other leader) to attempt to carry out or champion that vision alone. On a completely different note, I often bear a burden in prayer for our people - a burden to place them before God in prayer. I can't bear that burden alone. We aren't called to lead ALONE! And if we're being honest - taking a deeper look at the patterns of our actions - there are times that, because we've chosen to walk out on limbs by ourselves and place a gigantic target solely on our own chests - we wind up thinking that we've been misunderstood. And while that may be the case, the weight of what we're feeling and the burden we wind up being crushed under isn't really the feeling of being "misunderstood" at all. It's the painful, agonizing, isolating feeling of being ALONE.

I was once told (and have heard it said many times since) that as a leader, there are times you are going to feel "lonely", but you don't need to feel alone. If you're a person who believes God has given you a vision for taking and leading a group of people - especially if that group is the church - to an unknown, "never been there before" destination, there's no way around it being a bit lonely at times. No one else can see inside your head or fully understand all of what's wrapped up in your conviction. But here's the thing we've got to get clear on: Feeling lonely and being ALONE are 2 totally different things! Those times as a leader when I "feel" alone, I need to be able to lean on other leaders around me. I need people in my life who are fulfilling Galatians 6:2, sharing and bearing my "burdens, troubles, and problems". If you're a leader, you are NOT called to walk the road ALONE. 

Don't make the mistake of feeling misunderstood when what you're really feeling is the (often) self-inflicted consequences of going it alone. If you start arrogantly thinking, "I'm just going to take a bullet for the team!", get off your high horse and realize that you're not doing anyone any favors or any good, especially yourself. You weren't called to take one for the team, you're called to LEAD the team...together! 

Is there a chance you've thought you were misunderstood, when what you really were was alone?

December 12, 2011


There are moments, days, and situations - possibly even weeks at a time - where as a pastor and even just as a person...I feel misunderstood. Someone's reaction, comment, email - or the secondhand information received about someone's reaction, comment, or email - causes me to think, "Wait a minute. That's not what I said! At least, that's not what I meant to say. And that's definitely not how I intended (or hoped) someone would translate or receive it. I've been misunderstood!" And so it goes. Have you been there before?

Over the next few days I'm going to write a series of posts discussing this subject. Ideally, I'd like to start a conversation about how and why this happens - not just to me, but to countless people in numerous leadership positions. The reality: Jesus was misunderstood. I don't say that to insinuate that being misunderstood automatically makes you or me like Jesus. Sometimes when I'm misunderstood it's because I didn't communicate properly. (Or to put it a bit more bluntly, I miscommunicated. Funny how one mis____ can so easily lead to another mis______.) And for sure it doesn't mean that because Jesus was misunderstood I can or should use that as a license to just say what I think or do what I want. (In that case, I'm the one who misunderstood Jesus' instructions!) That said, Jesus was at times misunderstood because of people's misled expectations and/or perceptions of WHO He was and WHAT He had come to do and accomplish. This happens to us as leaders. It definitely happens to pastors. So what can we do to minimize all this misunderstanding?

I remember several years ago meeting with the Personnel Team at my former church. I was used to my yearly review/evaluation being mainly a time of affirmation and encouragement. (And that's putting it lightly.) Which is why it was such a punch in the gut the first time I was informed that more than one person had mentioned that there was a slight possibility at times that I could maybe come across in a way that made it seem like I was....well...UNAPPROACHABLE! 

[I pause here, yes for dramatic affect, but also to give you a moment to allow that word to absorb. I had never even heard that word - unless maybe someone was referring to the status of a grizzly bear in the wild. I had no processor for this. I wasn't prepared to receive it. My defenses went straight up! Unapproachable? Me?]

And there it was. Unapproachable. Like a scarlet letter U on my chest. How had an extroverted, Christ-follower, people-person-pastor who loves people become - BIG LUMP IN THROAT - unapproachable? After weeks of licking my wounds - humbly realizing that this was not the end of the world, but someone who loved me actually pointing out that there had been something that creeped into my character that they were certain I didn't desire to be there - I suddenly began to realize something. On Sunday mornings - especially those Sundays when I was the one preaching, and my mind was completely bent and wrapped around the message I was preparing to deliver - there was a distinct possibility that if someone "approached" me, it might seem like I wasn't fully engaged in what they were saying. Put plainly, it all of a sudden became incredibly clear to me that on days when I was about to deliver a sermon, my mind was fully, completely, and wholly focused on ONE thing: preaching. And if you tried to talk to me at 10:41 (and the service was starting at 10:45), good luck. I'm out. I may love you and genuinely care about what you want/need to say to me, but not right this moment. I'm like a squirrel running straight across the road after that nut sitting beside that tree - tunnel vision at it's premium. And it all started to make sense. And I began to wonder not just how many people had walked away feeling ignored or insulted, but how many had simply stopped even trying to engage me. This was starting to sting and hurt a bit.

Here I sit several years later, in another town, in another church, (both of which I love!), and not long ago I heard that word again. Unapproachable. But this time, without reacting or jumping to conclusions, I simply began to pray about it. I asked the Lord to show me what I needed to do to deal with this head-on. After some serious prayer and reflection, I reached a few conclusions - about myself and people's perceptions - and also felt the Lord lay some very specific and tangible things I could do about this in front of me. A few things I decided and realized were:
  • People need to know WHO I am and WHAT I believe I'm called here to do.
  • On Sunday mornings, in a church the size of ours, I firmly believe my priorities are to 1) preach the Word of God, and 2) be available to meet and greet guests, and 3) be available to counsel if needed.
  • Most of the time people were attempting to engage me in conversation about things deeper and weightier than the color of my shirt, it would be a leader. This prompted me to ask our staff and leaders to please not bring any administrative/business/strategy question (or anything of the sort) to me on Sundays. I told them (and still tell them) that if what you need to tell me is important, I want to be fully present and engaged. On Sunday morning, I will NOT be fully engaged. 
  • I am much more aware of the way my actions can be perceived. And a huge lesson for ALL of us is simply put this way: MY INTENT does not always equal OTHER PEOPLE'S PERCEPTIONS. Fair or unfair, people's perceptions matter!
We're all going to be misunderstood at times. But there are certain things we can do to reduce the potential of this happening. And we can also make sure and not jump to conclusions about others. 

Have you been misunderstood?
More to come....

December 8, 2011

Spiritual Worship

There's a great article (cover) in the latest edition of Christianity Today, The Good God Who Came Down. The basic point is that morality and religion could never bring us what Christ brought - salvation. As I read Michael Horton's thoughts and arguments, it brought another issue to mind that I believe greatly parallels and is incredibly prevalent in the Western Church. I believe much of what Christian culture describes as "worship" today - the corporate gathering of God's people - a "church" - to lift praise and adoration to Him in song - can be (and often is) merely a faint glimpse of what it could and should be. Much like we've been told we can only access a fraction of our brain's power, it seems that we're only tapping into a portion of the Spirit-filled worship that we're intended to experience. Allow me to explain.

In Romans 12:1-2, the Apostle Paul says,
"...present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

In most churches across America on any given weekend, worship is much about the feelings we're overcome by as we sing praise to God. We feel elation, comfort, release, empowerment, conviction - a chasm of different emotions. And these emotions are not bad. In fact, they are often evidence that God is moving in our midst and in our hearts. But here's the thing: It can't stop there! If you re-read Paul's words, notice that he doesn't say anything about feeling, or experiencing, or even singing. But he DOES mention our "spiritual worship". And he exhorts us to do things like "present" and "test", and says that much of the transformation God desires to bring in our lives comes through the "renewal of your mind". All of this leads me to a conclusion: We are entering into worship much more focused and concerned with the emotion we feel than we are with the actions we're called to take beforehand. I've heard a lot of people say things like, "Let's not get bogged down in theology. We all love Jesus! Let's just find that common ground." That's fine and all, except that it's spiritual laziness! I understand where they're coming from. We can't let nonessential matters of theology divide the Body of Christ. Agreed! But if you and I claim to be worshiping the God of the Universe while simultaneously doing nothing to seek to know Him more and understand His Word, we aren't really participating in "spiritual worship". We're merely looking for something to stir our emotions.

How much of our worship includes "testing" and "discerning what is the will of God"? 
Have we really presented our bodies - which includes our eyes, our minds, our thoughts - to God as a "living sacrifice"? 

Much of the argument from science and academia against Christianity has been rooted in the premise that it's irrational and emotional - that it doesn't embrace logic and practical facts. While this argument or idea holds no water (because TRUE Christian faith, the Word of God, and much of evangelical theology is rooted in deep, weighted truths), many secularists have managed to patch some of the holes in their boat with the mindless faith of many who call themselves Christians. We aren't all called to be C.S. Lewis or A.W. Tozer - or to wear a corduroy blazer with patches on the sleeves and begin going by our initials - but we ARE called to engage our mind in our faith. Paul prayed for the Colossians (2:2-3) that "their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of the full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Does it sound like Paul was hoping and praying that their Sunday gathering would be powerful? Or that their pursuit of God would be relentless? That they might discover the deep mysterious treasure that can only be found in knowing Christ? I think it's evident. (When this happens, you can guarantee that what happens on Sundays will be powerful!)

Where am I going with all this? Simple: Don't check your brain at the door. Don't underestimate what God desires to do IN and THROUGH your life if you search the depths of His Word to know Him. Don't forsake that our calling to worship has much more to do with how we've lived our lives and presented them back to Him the other six days of the week than it does whether we sing loud and lift our hands on Sunday.

Be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind!

December 7, 2011

The Need

This week our church begins a two-week challenge of generosity. It doesn't take much effort to look around and realize that there are countless people in our own cities, communities, and even neighborhoods who are hurting financially, emotionally, and spiritually. For many, the pain begins with the battle of trying to make ends meet on a daily basis - struggling to pay the rent - wondering if they can put food on the table for their family. At the same time, most of us can take a seconds inventory and realize that we've been blessed beyond measure. We have ALL that we need! And because God has met The Need in our lives, we are called to meet The Need in the lives of others!

This year we are incredibly excited that our Christmas offering will be used on a local, national, and global level. We are always blessed to partner with Inside-Out Ministries as they reach out to people right here in our own city to help pay the rent, put staple food items on the table, and even provide budget counseling. We are also incredibly excited to begin partnering with Ryan McCoskey and his core team as they plant The Seed, a brand new church in the heart of downtown Wichita, Kansas. And as we give to the Cooperative Program (supporting and funding missionaries around the world), we are also PUMPED to start a brand new relationship with Casas por Cristo as we build a home for a family in need in Guatemala. At home and around the world, The Need is great. We are grateful to the Lord that we can partner with Him to meet The Need in others lives for the sake of His Kingdom!

Is your family doing some special to give your time or funds this year?
How is your church meeting The Need in others lives this Christmas?
Would love to hear your stories!

Click HERE to learn more about how you can give to The Need.

December 5, 2011

Keep Simplifying

My recent revival of purging and attempting to simplify my life appears to be contagious. Morgan and I spent several hours this past weekend clearing out our closet, drawers, and the nooks and crannies where we had clothes buried and hidden for that supposed "rainy day" that never seems to come. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? "I've got to keep this Hawaiian shirt in case I somehow get invited to a luau next summer when I might take that trip to Tahiti I've been planning for years but can't afford because I keep wasting my money on crap - like Hawaiian shirts." While much of my argument in my last post for minimalism and simplicity was an aim at removing chaos from our lives, I want to take a very pointed angle on the subject - I want to look at this from the perspective of being a follower of Christ on a lifelong mission. Because when I look at our lives, it doesn't really appear that we're on much of a mission.

In Luke 10:1-12, Jesus sends out seventy-two of his followers to alert the people in the cities and towns that "...the Kingdom of God is near". Before He sends them on their way, He gives them very specific instructions. And part of what He tells them - in contrast to what you would expect to be told in preparation for a journey of this type - speaks volumes: "Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals..." Jesus essentially tells them, "Travel light. Don't take a backpack loaded with things - I'll provide what you need along the way: food, shelter, clothing. Keep your mind on the mission!" And in my perspective, as I examine my own life and the lives of those close to me, this is not a reflection of the approach I seem to have taken for this mission. I have by no stretch of the imagination been "traveling light". My closet, my drawers, my garage, my attic, my refrigerator, and my trunks and totes all speak otherwise. They're an indictment that I can't refute. At least not a week ago. Then I read Becker's intro to Principle #7 in his book, Simplify: "You don't need to chase everything you've always wanted if you already have everything you need." And there you have it.

Reflecting on Matthew 6:25-34, it's obvious that Becker isn't saying anything new - especially to a Christ-follower who has read the Gospels numerous times. Jesus makes it clear: Either you're going to live your life consumed with YOUR mission and everything it requires and demands of you - and walk down the paths where it leads you - OR - you're going to be focused on MY advance a kingdom of another kind. A Kingdom where God's economy dictates what we have, what we keep, what we hold tightly and loosely, what we give away, and how we live and see this life. And to just put it bluntly, I'm sick and tired of trying to live on mission carrying all this baggage on my back. And if you don't think that all the STUFF crammed in your closet, your drawers, your garage, under your bed, and looming overhead in your attic is weighing you down, I just dare you to spend 1 hour throwing some of it out. Take 1 hour and go through your closet. Empty 3 drawers onto your bed, sort it out, and only keep what you NEED. See what happens. Watch as you begin to feel as though some weighted chain that's been holding you down was suddenly broken. As I said, I'm sick and tired of attempting to live on mission with all this baggage on my back (and in my closet). And whether you know it or not, I bet you're exhausted from it as well.

It's time to simplify. And when you do, KEEP SIMPLIFYING
It's time to "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (KNOWING THAT WHEN I DO) all these things will be added" to me. He'll take care of me. Do I trust Him? Do you trust Him? Do we trust the Great Provider to provide?

How are you going to simplify? Where are you going to begin?

December 1, 2011


"The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you."

I have too much stuff. There, I said it. And this is coming from a person who routinely gives clothes away and throws junk out. It's therapeutic! Yet, I still have too much. If there are 64 shirts in your closet, but you only wear 20 of them, that's a clue. If you have more shoes in boxes than in your shoe rack, another possible indicator. If our attics and sheds and garages are packed airtight...and we still need to rent from this not a HUGE waving red flag? It's not necessarily junk. It's not crap, either. It's just STUFF. And we have way too much of it.

I just started reading Simplify, by Joshua Becker. (The Kindle version is $2.99) This was a dangerous idea. Like Dick Vitale reading a book called Yelling. Or Joan Rivers curling up on the couch with 10 More Reasons You Need MORE Plastic Surgery. Dangerous! I've been convinced for years that simplifying my life is essential. But Becker has spelled out a few things that have made it even clearer why striving to live a (rationally) minimalistic life just makes so much sense. I wanted to share just a few highlights with you that I've read so far:

"What our heart believes and loves always determines the path of our life." This sounds incredibly familiar, doesn't it? Like Jesus saying, "Where your heart is, there your treasure will be." (see Matthew 6:19-21)

While many of us get caught in the trap of thinking we need more money, "...the real secret to financial freedom is spending less. If you live a life that accumulates less stuff, you will spend less." Novel concept. Because the reality is for most of us, if we do wind up getting more money, we just wind up spending more money. And low and behold, we wind up with more...STUFF!

"Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it." Did you catch that? It's not just about making space or cleaning up - it's about intentionally pointing to the things that you believe hold the most value. It's an exercise in priorities; an opportunity to determine what's going to control us. Or maybe more importantly, that (other than the Holy Spirit), we're not going to be "controlled". Because let's just get it out there in the open: "The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you." I know there's a snowball's chance in hades you might wear that shirt again, but could someone else be wearing it much more often? I know that I can rationally justify that I have 3 brown jackets - they're different shades of brown, thank you very much. But isn't someone else out there in need of a jacket? 

Here's a thought that Becker throws out in his book: Find 2 different countertops; 1 that's clean and free from clutter (&) the other that has dirty dishes, knick knacks, & food stains all over it. If you just stand in these 2 kitchens for a few minutes, what completely different emotional responses do you think it will invoke in you? Try it.

What have you done in your life to simplify?
Do you have any tips for the rest of us to simplify?
Or are you still hanging onto your stuff - and your chaos - for dear life?