I joined an online community of de-clutter beasts this year. As I am fearful I have become a hoarder.
In the process, I tackled my closets, drawers, storage, pantry, and even computer files and photo storage on line. I felt like the decluttered queen.
As I laid on my bed feeling so good, I could hear that quiet still voice, “What about all the useless clutter in your heart?”
“What?!! That can’t be God’s voice.” I thought I better rebuke the devil. He is always trying to still my joy.
Then that thing happened. It’s like a little twist in my heart reminding me that I am frequently wrong. I sigh in consent, make a cup of tea and sit on the patio to commune with God. As soon as I sit, I hear:
Jeremiah 17:9-10, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Ok, so this heart thing is real. What good does it do to have a clean house without a clean heart? I pause and smile for a moment realizing this will be much more difficult than just organizing and donating.
My process wasn’t complicated. I made a point to set aside time everyday for a few weeks where I prayed Psalms 51, journaled and left time to reflect with God. I asked God to reveal to me the hidden things.
With decluttering my home, I handled each item as I came across it. Putting it aside to deal with later would just lead to a bigger problem.
This strategy became helpful in my heart cleaning. Journaling allowed me to explore the true motivations of my behavior. It is more than confessing sin, but examining why I sinned, what was I hoping to gain, why I didn’t respond to the voice of God to stop, etc.
In this process, God directs me how to make changes in some areas of my life.
1. I can pack things deep down and never deal with them.
False. I buried feelings of fear, hurt, failure, rejection, giving up, and not trying.
As I began to pull them out and deal with them, I discovered other things God was trying to bless me with but I prevented.
I was rejected in a relationship, and I look at every other relationship since that one. Each one was hindered with fear of being hurt again.
I was so afraid of being hurt again that I couldn’t move on. Part of myself was completely hidden from others. I never shared my deepest emotions.
As a result I didn’t grow or open myself up for a genuine connection. Most importantly, I also closed areas off from God.
How is this not dealing with it? I’m dealing with it every day. I thought I hid this in my heart, but it had taken the reins and was directing what I did.
2. If I let that go, then they get away with what they did.
Ok so this one is about forgiveness and very connected to the first one.
Fact: I am not holding them hostage, I holding me hostage. Forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for me. I have heard and ministered this to others. So I find myself asking these simple questions…
How is it still present in my life?
Why am I so caught up in what someone else must answer for?
Don’t I have enough on my own?
In addition, I must answer for this un-forgiveness. Right now, God is showing me I have un-forgiveness in my heart that is sin. Is my answer really, “I know God its not my fault see I was mad cause____.” No, I have to answer for my own choices.
3. Holding on to this feeling keeps me connected to him or her.
Did I really just say that? I found myself embarrassed by the pettiness of what I had hidden.
Nevertheless, this was there. The truth here is that holding on to these feelings only connected me to the hurt and the pain – not the person. It takes up space that could be filled with joy, peace and love. Let him or her go.
4. I won’t be able to manage without this thing.
I call this fear of what now. When I thought about all the time, effort and energy in these thoughts, they were not buried at all. I was paying rent on this space. They were consuming my resources.
In my closet, freeing space allowed me to have better clarity of what I had. I gained space for new items that fit better and looked better.
Spiritually, I gained clarity of who I am and what my purpose is. Also, I gained space for more joy, peace, and contentment. God came into the darker places of my heart.
Now that I have removed the obstacles and sin that easily besets me, let me consider how great God is and how He is faithful. As long as I keep my heart pure and stay before Him, I cannot fail or fall.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)