110she kept going back to the bags.                                                                                                    the things we’d removed with cautious sorting.                                                                               it was mostly worthless and unnecessary…stained, out-dated, old stuff.  but she wanted it back.

i found myself in a tug-o-war with my mother over every little item up for discussion.           i tried to be logical, but it was no use.  her attachment to this stuff didn’t really make sense. so there we were-  me sorting , emptying, and re-organizing her closets and cupboards- she pacing in distress and fighting the urge to reclaim her belongings.

it was hard on both of us because she was fearful and mistrusting of me.  she couldn’t see that my heart for her was good- even in the discarding.  we haven’t spoken in a week.

so, don’t get me wrong, i keep as much crap as the next person.  and it’s a sobering reality to stand and face those dark, cramped rooms we call closets…and attempt to clean them out.  because they are filled and stuffed to the brim with the stuff of “us”.                          even if it’s mostly long-forgotten.

those outgrown garments, faded and tattered.                                                                        boxes and bags of things.                                                                                                            items whose usefulness may have long since passed. but we’ve kept it all.

and have a nostalgic attachment to these spaces filled with- well just stuff.  stuff gathered over days and decades that might have defined us long ago.  but there’s a time to let go and weed out the garden so to speak.

090to prune back and make space for new life.

and so begins the process of separating…deciding what remains and what must go.  staring down each boxful, each worn out piece of clothing, every treasure and asking it to prove itself worthy of the “keeping”.

then we pass judgement without jury and sort into piles.  because we can’t keep it all.  there just isn’t space in this life to drag around everything.  whether in our houses or in our souls. there is a time to let go.and lighten the load.

lest we get buried by the weight of living.                                                                            trapped and boxed in by the past.  and stuck in old patterns.                                                       i don’t want to be stuck in old patterns.  and i don’t want to hold on too tightly to things of this earth.

but whatever things were gain to me , those things i have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.   Philippians 3:7

Paul goes on to say that he suffered the loss of all things and counted them as rubbish compared to the value of knowing Jesus. wow, that seems a little extreme don’t ya think??  but i wonder if God’s call to leave behind all familiar and broken things is our only hope of making a clean break ? and make us ready to see ourselves clearly…without the clutter that defines us.

so, ready or not, here goes. i’m opening each closet.  i’m looking hard in every nook and every dusty corner.  and asking God for clarity about what i might need to let go of in my life.  what needs throwing away.  what doesn’t fit anymore.  what needs keeping.                   and what needs time and attention in the process of my spiritual becoming.

then, i get to lay it all out before me and choose what’s next.  Jesus doesn’t force my or your hand to give things up.  instead He just says come, find your life in Me.  He holds our hand and says don’t be afraid to face the dark, dirty rooms-I’m already there.

He’s before us and behind us.                                                                                                        He’s in the discarding and in the keeping.                                                                                    His heart for us is always good, even if we doubt it.                                                                   He also promises there is no fear in our letting go because He is not a God of scarcity.  what we lay down, He replaces with abundance.  and the empty ashes of our life we trade in…He grows into a full, beautiful life.

so, give Him your boxes and worn out things.  offer up what you think has the highest value or deem precious- and look expectantly for His redemption.

i know it’s human nature to resist the cleaning out process, but it also seems it’s the truest way to experience His sacred provision and grace in our emptiness.  and to rid ourselves of the clutter we carry.102that stuff which once brought us security and definition.

and instead let the beauty of the gospel define us.   the gospel of Jesus is the most lavish deal offered to all mankind, so don’t miss it.   and don’t mistake it.  don’t think you can balance a life filled with self-effort and stuff and just add a side helping of grace.

it’s exhausting.

and we were made for more.   Life with Jesus offers so much more.                                          so when you find yourself tempted to dig through those giveaway bags trying to find yourself or want back what’s discarded, remember to let go.

remember to trade in that Goodwill pile for His goodness.  and remember when you lay down all your stuff…you recover your Life.

yours in the sacred job of sorting and discarding,   xxoo jamie                                                                     p.s. i highly recommend having strong coffee, wine or good friend or better yet all 3 as you begin the closet cleaning process…it’s not for the faint of heart !!

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2 Responses to closets

  1. maryanstro says:

    This brought to mind a picture of one of my daughters desperately clinging to a toy she didn’t want her sister to have; all her affections invested in that object. When the front door opened and Daddy’s voice called, the toy was dropped in a flash. She ran into his arms with squeals of delight<3 He picked her up and carried her. I wish I was as eager and quick to drop my agenda! And I am never happy to clean out a closet! Although the result yields deep satisfaction. Includiing coffee, wine and a good friend is the best cleaning advise I have ever read!

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