Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hoarding Isn't For The Heart

Have you ever watched an episode of one of those shows focusing on people hoarding? Sometimes this is difficult for me to watch. There have been homes where they have found dead animals and people buried beneath stuff. Astonishing to say the least. Is hoarding a disease? I'm not a doctor, but it's clear that something is taking place in the hearts and minds of those hoarding.

As people in general we like stuff. We enjoy accumulating trinkets and gadgets of all kinds. Right now my kitchen is just about to run over with books. I frequent resale shops with my husband and antique shops of all kinds. Mostly we love the history that comes with each new find.

If were to visit my in-laws home you would find stuff and more stuff. Stuff beyond stuff. Lets just say the garage is so full you wouldn't be able to get a bicycle in there much less a car. My mother in law loves going to auctions. She purchases more stuff than she knows what to do with. You could easily pack up ten boxes of stuff and she would never even know. Really, that's how much stuff she has.

We accumulate stuff when something is missing. My parents and my husband's parents were quite poor as children. My mom picked cotton when she was just six years old. They came from big families with great needs. Growing up without many things could be one reason my mother in law loves to collect stuff. Is she fearful those times will hit again? Is she making up for lost time? Maybe that stuff is just comfort to her.

Our hearts can hold a lot of stuff. From anxiety to worry. Anger to bitterness. Jealousy to coveting. Lust to desire of self. We can hold so much hurt in our hearts that it seems impossible to hold more. We can even hoard control. Yes, we like to be in control of things and people. After all we like things our way.

But in some way, aren't all of these things idols? An idol is anything we put before God, so if our heart is filled with anger, it can be an idol. These things we hoard can take over our lives and become our focus. We can become captive in our own heart. We can wear the chains of jealousy and be held under by greed.

Is it possible to have too much of one thing? It is if it is taking over our lives and stealing our joy. Funny how all that stuff can come to mean so much to us. While that Bible on the shelf is gathering dust. I am finding, the more of Jesus I have, the less of this world I need. The more focused on Him I am and the more I grow in faith, the more I learn, this world has nothing that can satisfy. There is nothing eqivelent to Jesus Christ.

Spring has arrived. When we think of spring we think of spring cleaning. Starting fresh. A new season of life. We get busy digging in those closets and removing clutter, but for those who feel so empty inside, that stuff brings comfort and it isn't going anywhere. They just move on past that spring cleaning season into a season of repeat.

If we are not careful with what we allow in our hearts, over growth of idols can take shape and begin to grow out of control. It is a daily battle, isn't it? Some how by keeping hold of that anger we feel in power. But in reality we have lost power long ago when we allowed anger to settle in for the long haul.

Look around your life today and see what's surrounding you. Is it time to give up some stuff? Some idols casting a dark circle encasing your joy? Give it up to Jesus today. Allow Him to remove one thing at a time. Giving it up to Jesus doesn't mean you get to tell Him what to do with it. It means you are trusting Him with ALL. Cleaning is a process. It's a daily journey. I have learned not to clean my home all in one day. It's exhausting for me. I have learned to take one room at a time and go about a pace that I can handle. Jesus gives us the grace we need to let go and let God. He gives us the strength we need to open our hands and our hearts to Him.

The stuff in your life cannot replace the love of Christ. In fact, with the love of Christ you will learn that you no longer need stuff to feel complete. It is in Him that we find completeness. Oh, how sweet the gift of being found whole in Christ.

"Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirments of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace."
Romans 6:12-14
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