Purging the Dead
Recently, a couple of friends have mentioned that they are in a "season of purging". I silently agreed with them.
They talked about how they had unloaded toys, clothes, jewelry and what not. Bags and bags and bags. I silently couldn't even figure out where to start.
I have too much and I am clueless of how to start the process of getting rid of-- no --
It feels like a process of saying goodbye.
I am attached to my stuff because of the memories the stuff triggers. I am afraid that if I don't have the stuff to look upon, then I'll never remember that moment of where I was, what I was doing, who I was with, and how special that event was.
On and on with every receipt, price tag, souvenir, ok, let's be honest-- old ice cream cup, piece of wood, coffee cup; items that everyone else in the world seems to chunk into the trash without a problem. It seems I am the one with the problem.
So, I admit. I'm a classic hoarder. I hoard the wrong things: items that are typically trash, I find valuable. The items mutate and multiply. Before you know it, my life is in a deep state of clutter and crap. And before we start analyzing the physiology of it, let's just press pause and look at the other angle: the spiritual side.
The spiritual side reveals a freedom of attachment from material things because when we are attached to Christ, we have everything. It is in heaven we are to lay our treasures.
So, I try to do better, but being better is kind of hogwash. Better doesn't motivate me to do better. So, what if I tried to be more like Christ? Actually do what I am called to do? Being honest - that is quite a challenge.
Being better is BS.
I just don't know. So, I watched the rain.
I watched the big fat rain we get here in the south pour down, then quickly shift to the sun shining. Then back to rain, back to sun. Doesn't that just feel like my humanity? Completely without control and unable to be consistent.
Yet, isn't it in my inconsistency that I am imperfectly consistent?
I think God understands this about our humanity because He gave us the One who was perfectly consistent in the fact that He was never inconsistent. He can help make changes consistent... and within me.
Ah. The figurative feeling of grace flowing down on me is soothing.
I laid on my bed watching this big fat rain and prayed: Oh God help me purge the dead. These dead parts in me that I am clueless as to how to get rid of; and how to make better.
The Spirit reminded me. "It is not about being better. It is about renewal."
The Spirit must think: "being better" is also BS. Granted, probably in different terms.
Romans 12:2 says: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
When we renew our mind by reading the word, worshiping God, praying, or the like, we are conjuring up new life. We are bringing to life a restoration of soul. We are altering the way we think by allowing the Spirit to do His work in healing the hurt parts of my life that are still wounded. Literally cleaning out the old and bringing in the new.
Yet, we will never truly get there if we are without meeting with God. We must pursue Him if we are to prevail because it is only through His life giving ways that we will be equipped to prevail.
In this prevailing, His Spirit will shine the light we so desperately need to see the dead in our lives. To shift our perspective of cluelessness to being mindful. To finally equip us with the tools -and the motivation- to gain ground in turning from our ways and embarking on the freedom He has so dearly paid for us to have.
That's right. Our freedom has been paid for. And while we are busy hoarding the wrong things, collectively adding a destruction to our life, we are simultaneously discarding the blood that has been shed for you and for me.
You read that right. While we choose not to throw out the real trash, we throw out the life that sets us free. The wrong thing to trash.
Oh, aren't we all the dogs that return to their vomit?
Thus, what will break this cycle of humanity? What is deep within our souls that compels us to clutch onto the thing instead of the Creator?
Ok. Now, I'll add in the psychology.
Consider what is causing you to cling so dearly to your item? Is it the memory? For me it is. My memory has gotten really bad and I hate forgetting. A solution (which takes time, but sure saves space). Write down the memory. Write down your feelings. "But, I like looking at the item and getting that feeling," you reply. I do too. Yet, I consider how many items I have. And the sheer amount of items seems to squeeze out the memories I really do want to put on a pedestal.
Amount overload. I find myself carrying too much with me - always. I do this because I HATE feeling unprepared. I am a very resourceful person and if I think I'm going to need that paper napkin at some point, I'll probably carry it around with me for 40 + years until that 4 seconds I actually need that napkin. Time and again, this has happened to me. Until one day, I looked back at my past and all the hardship it was to carry that napkin and asked myself: was it worth it? No, not at all. So, I tried a different way. I went without and experienced GREAT frustration when I needed the napkin. But, guess what? I found something else that solved the problem in about the same 4 seconds. I looked back at my past and asked myself again, "was it worth it?" This time, it was. It was because I didn't have the hardship of carrying the napkin for 40 dang years and I was able to praise myself for figuring out another solution which also diversified my options for the next time I had an issue that needed said napkin. Now, albeit- I am still working on decreasing the amount I daily carry. But, this recognition has sure helped me.
Attachment disorder. Why do I attach myself to things? I tell myself that it is for the sake of remembering or being resourceful. I don't want to forget or I want to be prepared. On the surface with some items, this is a correct solution. However, on a general platform, this is not the overall solution because then, I have a million different items on my hands and trying to manage a million different items takes your life away. Literally. One day I realized just how much time, STRESS, and energy it was taking just to keep up with the management of my stuff. Absolutely debilitating. Thus, I have to go deeper and figure out why I attach myself to the wrong things to be able to attach myself to the right ones.
I truly believe it is from a time where I was mad about being unprepared and chastised myself over it or even more-- from hurt that I have faced in my past that is not healed. Be it from an abandonment, a rejection, a neglect or something I did that I am still upset about, I believe that I attach myself to items to conjure up a positive feeling to overwhelm the negative feeling of hurt that is left oozing open. I'm, thus, attaching myself to what seems to be positive but those items actually lead to the negative as my life clutters up and I can no longer function.
Not only can I not function, but nor can my husband, my relationships or my house. As stuff fills my home, we lose the ability to live simply. Never can we simply pull something off the shelf without having to move something else out of the way or something falling on top of us. It is maddening. In one room, we hardly have a straight path to the washer/dryer because things are always in the way blocking a machine we use frequently. We frequently are enraged because of all the crud everywhere. This is no way to live.
No way to live at all.
Internally, this maddening continues. I just can't let go. I can't break the cycle until I force myself to pitch something in the trash. Of late, I have been looking at the item, remembering all the places I have traveled with it and all the events that item has been with me through and have tried saying goodbye to the item. I thank the item and put it where it belongs: in the trash.
But, let's stop and asses. I am saying goodbye to an ITEM: a thing that has no soul, no blood, and is NOT living. My problem is that I watched too much animated cartoons growing up and think that the toothbrush sprouts to life and sings songs and dances. I have to realize plastic is not life. I have to choose the wellbeing of the lives around me versus the wellbeing of the plastic - or material- in my hands.
A final thought. I have to realize that things don't love me. I have to realize that when I hoard the wrong things, that there is little to no more room to hoard the right things. The wrong items can't return the love that my God has, my husband has, my loved ones have. Things function for a purpose and then they take up space. My attic is filled with things that have finished their purpose and are taking up space... Dead an dormant, weighing down my house which may actually collapse and kill me.
They just might. Scratch that. They are. My things are killing me. Killing my relationships. And I can't seem to choose the things that bring life over that which kills.
So, help me God to seek you and open the door to my heart to allow the Spirit to conjure up renewal. Press upon me the goal of getting rid of the right things, not discarding the blood Christ shed for me to be free. Shine the light on what lays dead and dormant in the attics of my heart so that I can be healed by your touch. Restore my life where I am not going insane every time I open up my pantries of my life and my heart. Bring people into my life to help me and help me swallow my shame to get the help I need. I pray all of this in the name of Jesus, Amen.