Like many, I was looking forward to some heavy duty purging once the summer break started. Starting a new job, juggling my boys’ schedules, homework and volunteer commitments had led to a cluttered house. This in turn always stresses me out and then I become a cluttered mom/wife/friend. I decided that the boys and I were going to attack the house, one room at a time, and declutter, donate, trash–whatever works– to minimize the amount of ‘stuff’ we have and really do not need. The boys have surprised me in their ability to ‘let go’ of some things that I would have thought had some emotional significance. I, on the other hand, had a very hard time when we began transforming our younger boys’ room into a middle-schooler/ teen room. My youngest is entering middle school this fall and the almost 13-year-old will be in 7th grade. So…it was time to take down the little kid décor and replace with something age- appropriate, A.K.A.,” cool.”
When it came to the actual removal of the kiddy décor, I was doing fine until one particular wooden shelf I loved had to be removed. I remember purchasing it at the craft store when my middle son, Henry, was born. I painted it, wrote his name on it and it was somewhat functional; but so not 13 year- old. And, my kids really aren’t into trains anymore. There have been a few occasions where I found myself trying to negotiate holding onto some things even though they no longer have a purpose in our lives. I seriously considered storing this particular shelf for when one of the boys has his own children. Why? The more rational thought is maybe some cute kid out there in thrift store land is named Henry and likes trains, maybe he needs a shelf?
Anyone who has done a massive cleanout or purge knows the feeling you get after the piles of bags have been dropped off or picked up. The feeling I get when I purge material things is pure relief. Just look at all of that space! There’s room to breathe; there may even be room for something more important. Additionally, we may be helping someone in need if we choose to donate these items.
What comes to mind is the similar feeling after some much-needed emotional purging: past mistakes, relationships and pent-up anger or resentment. I’m guilty of carrying that clutter as well as the material kind. It’s been difficult to sift through years of memories trying to decide what serves us right now and what is no longer useful. Once I got on a roll though, with my material purging, the whole process has been easier. Perhaps that is the same for our spiritual ‘baggage’. Colossians 3 speaks of ‘ridding ourselves of the old ways’ in an effort to live with Jesus, made alive in Him, as one of His chosen.
“But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” (Col 3:8)
It goes on to urge us to forgive each other, let go of grievances, bear with each other and let the peace of Christ rule our hearts. Just a thought that, while we are working really hard to remove the physical clutter in our lives, perhaps we should let go of some of the spiritual clutter that may be dwelling in our hearts. We could make some room for something really important, maybe even peace in His presence.