I was so proud of myself.
Spent a day digging, sorting, and clearing out stuff.Stuff that I don't wear.
Stuff that the kids have outgrown.
Stuff that has outlasted its usefulness.
Stuff that's just collecting dust.
I bagged it, washed it, and carted it to the car to be donated to Ditto, the thrift shop that raises funds for my kids' school.
Felt like a real accomplishment.
The problem is Ditto's hours of operation aren't in sync with my hours of operation ;D I can't seem to get there before their closing time.
And so I have been driving around with my discarded stuff for a week. I went through it - did the inventory. I identified and separated it. I even moved it. But I haven't really gotten rid of it. I plan to, but it's still there hanging around. Moving around. I stopped short yesterday and heard a symphony of shuffles as the stuff shifted around.
In order for me to actually get rid of this stuff, I have to make real change. I need to change my habits, to rearrange my schedule, to move out of my comfort zone.
And so it is in life. Just like the challenge of getting rid of physical clutter, it can be difficult to get rid of spiritual and emotional clutter. There are changes I think about, but never actually get around to making. Behavioral changes like exercising more or getting up earlier for quiet time or writing that encouraging note. Heart changes like forgiving or becoming less judgmental or being quicker to listen, slower to speak.
I’ve taken inventory, considered what I need to dispose of, even recorded it in my journal. But identifying what needs changing doesn’t actually create change. It may be a first step, but if I fail to take the next necessary steps, these wishes remain just that – wishes.
“The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?
“The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” Romans 7:21-25 MSG
Well at least I’m not alone! I’m so grateful for God’s Word, and these words penned by Paul which reveal his and our earthly weaknesses. If I stopped reading at Romans 7, I’d be “wretched” (v.7:24) but thankfully Paul continues on. In Romans 8, he states, “There’s no condemnation… The Spirit helps us in our weakness… In all things, God works for the good… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?... Nothing!”
When our perspective shifts to the eternal, Jesus empowers us to do that which we in our own strength are powerless to accomplish. He frees us from our accumulated baggage that encumbers.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt. 11:28-30