This afternoon, I did some serious and long overdue cleaning. The main goal was to purge anything that I didn’t use anymore, anything that was no longer important. I went through each thing in that closet asking myself “do I keep or toss this?” In the midst of all the stuff that I was sorting, I came across a lot of “treasures”: the Duke cheerleading outfit my grandmother made for me when I was about ten years old; videos from college mission trips; the Bible I used as a teenager, all marked up with pink highlighter and glitter gel pens. However, most of what I found was stuff that I didn’t even remember keeping. Needless to say, I threw out a lot of “junk”: magazine clippings of famous women I once wished I looked like; notebooks from high school classes; clothes I might wear “someday” and they hadn’t been worn in two or three years. I discovered that, at some point, I had spent a lot of energy organizing and hanging onto a lot of… well, garbage.
Isn’t that just like us though? Bitterness is harbored towards someone because they hurt our feelings once and it was even years ago. Jealousy gets kept and it’s usually over something we just think we want. Frustration continues to rear its ugly head, because we can’t seem to move beyond someone not agreeing with us over something we believe is incredibly important, non-negotiable. We won’t let go of our prejudices, because what would people think if it looks like we’re okay with _______ (fill in the blank)? We hang onto the garbage for dear life and the reality is that it’s really sucking the life out of us! Jesus invites us to life, abundant life even, but we’re not living abundantly because we’re held back by all the stuff we won’t let go of.
As I sat in the floor of my old closet, sifting through the layers of stuff, I asked God to bring to surface the junk in my heart that needs to go. Some of it, I’m keenly aware of and just haven’t mastered leaving it at the throne of God when I claim to be giving it to Him. Maybe that’s because I just stink at genuinely forgiving people. I’m sure there’s stuff buried deep within that I’m not seeing the effects of just yet too. The thing is though–letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. I’m certain it’s going to be a painful process, but I’m also guaranteed it’s worth it!
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)