Straightening the hallway closet....



Well, today is the day. I am digging into the hallway closet. The one that gathers all the things that we don't want to carry upstairs to our bedrooms or downstairs to the basement. Those things that we are not quite sure can be thrown away. Those things that we just can't quite let go of.

As I sorted through the contents, I found evidence of our life. Pictures I had be given by my mother of family members from earlier decades. Mementos of my childhood. I found more recent items from our summer outings watching Calvin, our oldest son, as he pitched in a summer collegiate baseball league. I found hats and gloves we had rushed to put on to play in the snow a few weeks ago. All of these items reminded me of snapshots of our combined life as the Gunter family.

I also found a bag full items that needed to be thrown away as well as things that we've outgrown. As I sorted through the contents, I was able to gather the cookbooks that had accumulated in the kitchen back on the shelf, combine all the school supplies in one basket, organize the family games, and get rid of those items we no longer need.

As I finished my project, it reminded me of my soul and my journey with God over the past decade. Here's what I learned... several years ago I literally dug into the hallway closet and pulled everything out -- sorting through the contents that had collected over close to 10 years. I found all kinds of things that had been accumulating over the years. I spent several days sorting through things, reorganizing, figuring out what we need and what we didn't need.

This closet project mirrored what was happening in my own life and soul. Maybe it was because I was midway through my 30s or maybe it was because my soul was crying out for some much needed attention. Either way, over the course of several years I have been sorting through those items that I've been holding on to. As I uncover a thought, a belief, or a behavior -- I simply (okay it is not simply at all) ask is this true and do I still need to hold on to it.

I think we all gather thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors along the way. Often mindlessly we haphazardly put them in our mind or heart giving little attention to their real value or worth. We grow accustom to the clutter and confusion these items bring to our life. They are comfortable because they are familiar.

The first attempt to declutter a closet or area of your life is messy and will take time and energy, but it is worth it. You'll likely need a trusted friend or two -- possibly a counselor-- and surely God to help you go beyond the surface to the deeper levels of your soul. As you begin, remember to ask yourself what have I been holding on to and more importantly why am I hanging on to these things.

Here's your encouragement. After some deep cleaning, the next time you approach the closet to straighten, many items will be gone all together and others will have found a place and just need some readjusting. Progress has been and is being made... be sure of it.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus....

Philippians 1:8


Let's live with intention as we walk into a new decade.

It begins by being willing to open the door and take a real assessment of the condition of your closet (aka soul).

Thoughts?

3 comments:

  1. That's a great analogy. Isn't that the truth-- it is like digging through a closet of stuff-- searching for what needs kept, what needs reorganized and what just needs to be tossed. Thanks for sharing with such candidness.

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  2. Why are you writing this blog? What is its purpose for you? I've always kind of wondered why people do this or feel the need to do this. Just curious...

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  3. My soul looks so put together when all my closet doors are shut. When I let people walk around and see all the nice, pretty stuff. But then one day God opened those doors and everything spilled into the house. Couldn't hide it anymore. People had to step over it, made them uncomfortable. They didn't know what to think. Here I am busily trying to pick everything up and then I realized I was tired. I was tired of wondering whether a door was going to come open and someone would see the ugly side of me. So with the help of a counselor I "gave" most of my junk away. Probably still a few things I could do without and I'm trying to be more self aware to know what those things are. And so if you were to walk around my heart you would see a bunch of open doors...my closet doors. So far since I cleaned everything out, I've pretty much removed myself from anything that I would be embarrassed to have in the open. However, sometimes it's a little tempting to begin closing that door. It was hard for me to see all the junk that was inside my spiritual closet. For years I didn't look at things in my closet very closely. Open the door, push that sin in there, close it quickly. Life is fine. Life is good. You can do that for a while but eventually it catches up with you.

    Thank you for your thoughts about closets. I'll never look at mine the same again. When I find myself not hanging things up the way I should or shoving something in the bottom to get it out of the way, I'll stop for a moment and ask God if I've done the same with my heart.

    Thanks...

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