Saturday, July 23, 2011

Empty yourself of all that clutter

We all have one. Most of the time it's in the kitchen hidden by the look of the smooth cabinet drawer. Yes, that junk drawer. Why? We all seem to have that one drawer in which we throw every unwanted item. Why do we not throw it away? Wouldn't that be easier? No, we want to hang on to it. You never know if your going to need it, right? But then, we never use it. Most of the time we don't even really know what it is used for, so what happens? One Saturday we pull that drawer open and say to our bored selves, "Ya know, I think I am going to clean this thing out."
We begin the task and we even make piles. Those gadgets to throw away, those gadgets to maybe keep and those gadgets that we must ask someone else if they belong to them. Okay, most of the time I have no idea who these gadgets belong to and for some reason they have ended up in my drawer. Every once in a while we will pick something up and say, "Well, there that is. I have been looking all over for this." Well, gosh, why didn't I just look in the drawer that contains everything?

Not unlike our junk drawers our lives can be filled with clutter. It seems we are hanging on to things we didn't even know were there until something happens causing the dam to burst and the flood gates open. Other times we are holding on to other people's stuff. We seem to take on burdens of others and even after they have let them go, for some reason we find we are still there holding on to them. Why? Why do we hold on to so much stuff? And to make it worse, it's old stuff. Stuff that doesn't matter any more. Stuff that can't be used and it's stuff that is only taking up space. Think of all the things we could use that drawer for.

We wait to declutter our lives until they are so jam packed we don't know where to begin. So, we begin making piles. This hurt was from years ago, but I am still holding on to it. This pain is from today. I am not sure how this is going to turn out yet, so I might need to hold on to this. Yes, there is that tomorrow pile too. Things that haven't even happened yet. We are just worried they will so we are already hanging on to them for insurance purposes.

A few days ago while looking through a drawer I found a few bullets for my husband's pistol. I put them back in the box, but it made me think. How much stuff do we hang on to for ammunition? Even though a hurt is in the past we hang on to it for future reference. We like to say, "Hey, remember last Feb 19 at 3:00 when you _______?"  It's not just hurts of the past we hang to. It's gossip, secrets, lies, anything that we think might be helpful in the future, but none of that stuff is salvageable. We can't put that stuff in the recycling bin. That is stuff we need to pitch. There is no reason to hold on to such things.

Once that drawer is cleaned out look how light it is? But if we take a closer look that drawer is dirty now. There is caked in dirt in the corners and marks left over from old pens without lids. Our drawer doesn't look new anymore. Just think, if we hadn't of placed all that junk in there, it wouldn't look like it does now. So, what do we do? Is there a solution? Cleaning the drawer out is just the beginning. One might think it's the most time consuming, but it really isn't. It's the cleaning of all the scuff marks and gooey stuff in the corners and all that little bitty stuff in the cracks that is so hard to get out. All that junk sure has left it's mark hasn't it? Unless we clean that drawer out whatever else we decide to place in there for safe keeping is just going to get dirty. So piece by piece we remove all the little stuff that we didn't think much mattered. We get that scouring pad and scrub hard as we remove those marks left by all the tale tell junk. The wonderful gift of grace. God removes our sin forever. He never again reminds us of it, so why do we need reminded of our past? We too must forgive all those hurts made by others. Even if we never hear the words, "I'm sorry", we must find forgiveness so that we can have peace and move forward.

Once we take the time to go through each piece we can let it go. We can drop each item into the trash or we can simply find it's right place. It seems even when we organize the smallest of things it makes life smoother. Not necessarily easier, but at least we have a hint of where it should go. It really is a time saver to just put everything where it should go. And where should it go, you ask? We need to lay everything at the feet of Jesus. We don't need to hold to worry and stress. It's like we save up anger and bitterness to use for fuel on those days where we are low on patience. It's like one bad day comes and here all that stuff that was tucked in that drawer comes falling out. We sit there in the floor with all this "stuff" gathered around our feet and all we can see is the mess we have created. Yes, we created it. We did so when we decided to hang on to everything. For me, it was almost as if I was afraid to let go. I thought in letting go of everything some how I was going to lose myself, but that couldn't be more from the truth. It is when we let go that we truly find ourselves. We find a peace we didn't know possible. In letting go we are saying hello to new blessings. Trinkets from heaven. I used up so much space holding on to pain and anger that I didn't have room for anything else but that.

There was a time I held on to everything. My drawer has been really full over the years. I may have even kept more than one junk drawer. When I was raped and when my dad died were probably the two most difficult times in my life. I can tell you I hated God. I wanted nothing to do with Him. I wanted to blame someone. Anyone really and He was as good of a target as anyone else. I carried such anger. Anger I didn't know what to do with. So, I stored it. There is so much that has happened in my life. During those dark times I was not a Christian. I believe that made those times even darker. I can't imagine not having Christ in my life now. He has made all the difference.

I have had to open up that drawer of mine and go through piece by piece, no matter how hard it was. I had to begin throwing junk away that I had held on to from my childhood. I needed to throw it away so I could make room for blessings. Why don't we have a drawer that holds treasures instead of always having a junk drawer around? Why not create a treasure drawer or a blessing box? A place where we have little things that remind us of God's goodness when all seems to fall apart. A place of peace we can go and lift the lid of that box seeing inspiration and comfort? Just think if we had a sharing box. If a friend comes over for coffee and begins to tell you she needs prayer, pray with her and bring out your box, showing her how God has brought you through and give her a treasure of hope to hold on to.

I guess it all comes down to how we do things. We can hang on to everything or we can let it go and find a life filled with forgiveness, joy and laughter. When we hold on to junk all we get out of the drawer is anger and bitterness. Who wants that? That isn't a drawer you want to share. But what about that treasure drawer? That is something we can share with others. We can share the treasures of how God brought us through. Share reminders of when He brought His peace and when He filled us with smiles when that bill was paid out of no where. We have enough bad days, we don't need a drawer to remind us of all those in the past, present and future.

If you have walked by that drawer one too many times why not tackle that junk drawer instead of continuing to open it and close it right back up? It will be a day that will bring you a brighter and lighter tomorrow.

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8

"Set your minds on things above, not on things of the earth." Colossians 3:2

"Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:31-32

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12
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