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Clutter

One of the greatest joys in life is rediscovering something you didn’t know you had. I’ve done this many times since childhood, and I think it’s the reason that I got hooked on cleaning & organizing. Rummaging through boxes of old stuff is a treasure hunt. You may find things to give away and bless others with or sell at a garage sale and (hope to) make a small profit. Or, you might find something that you can pull out and use again. When I have gone on the hunt for clutter from which to purge my home, I discover a lot of dusty old stuff. I think, would anyone really want this? But, in my optimism, I have set this stuff out for a garage sale. And then I do something that I think is just a common courtesy (and also a great marketing tool): I clean it. I do my best to wipe the dust off of the teddy bear. I wash the mugs so that prospective customers aren’t aghast to see dead spiders inside. I take the corroded batteries out and clean that out so the item will actually work.

But sometimes, after I’ve cleaned up my items and arranged them neatly on tables in the garage, I can’t bear to slap a price tag on. I pull it off the table and set it by the door, reclaiming it as mine. I think, how did this get to tarnished and dirty in the first place? Why didn’t I see this before?

I’ve had times where I examined my own life and heart and asked those same questions. Often this is right at a time when I feel like I need to be more “spiritual:” speak or teach at an event, answer the weekly accountability group questions, even be called on to pray aloud. A quick diagnostic of my heart leaves me feeling guilty for not letting the Lord purify my heart as I should. It’s as if I shine a flashlight into the dark corners left too long unexamined, and only now I see the cobwebs and the creatures that scurry out of the beam of light.

Guilt and shame have a way of holding us back by getting us to hold onto what we don’t need. Like the garage sale reclaim: “I’ll take this back… and this and this back…” My quest to reclaim my treasures only fuels the clutter problem if I’m not careful to select what I actually need. I have a habit of hanging onto gifts for which I have no use. Someone picked that out especially for me, but I feel bad that I never really used it. But honestly, what am I going to do with a host of mismatching ceramic Christmas angels? Is it cute or insulting that one of them reads “Sara?” (Not my name, by the way.) I could happily march back into the house to set down my now shiny & clean reclaimed treasure, only to let it sit on a shelf and once again collect dust. That’s a waste. Too often I adopt the pack rat’s mantra: “I’ll use it one day.”

Now there’s a choice: shall I let someone else have that unwanted item & put it to good use, or keep holding onto it for the day when I magically change my mind & want it? Someone else may have a better home for it or actually NEED something from my clutter collection. I’ve found that when I choose to let go of the stuff that’s cluttering up my house and let someone else take it, it is incredibly satisfying to see that object being carried away down the driveway. No more dusting, no more attempts at innovative uses, and no more wondering if it might be so ugly it’s cute! It’s gone! I’m free!

Jesus shops at the garage sale of our hearts. He peruses all of the stuff we have to offer. We’ve shined it up the best we can and stuck on discounted price tags, hoping that someone will find it of value. When He walks up to you, He doesn’t offer some insultingly low amount (“Will you take 10 cents for this treasure marked for a quarter?”). No, He’s here to clean house. He will take it all. ALL OF IT? Yep: all of it! And He even wants the rest of the stuff left inside not in the sale – the prized possessions upstairs and the forgotten, nasty hidden boxes in the basement downstairs. He makes us an offer we can’t refuse: become a child of God. He pays the price with His very blood. In exchange for all of your clutter being carried away down the driveway, He asks you to join the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is full of treasures that won’t need insuring, dusting, reorganizing, or garage sale-ing.

-Sarah

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