Thursday, September 1, 2011

De-Cluttering Our Heart And Mind

My wife and I have been working hard to de-clutter our house. Having nine children I have accumulated a few things over the years, things that have been easier to hold on to than it has been to let go. My area of responsibility has been the garage where we have stored many of the things that we do not use every day. Who am I kidding? The garage is the great holding ground for the things we haven't used for years. It's not easy deciding what to hold on to and what to let go of.

Now in saying that some of the items have been easy to get rid of because there is absolutely no emotional attachment to them at all, like old chairs or even old files. But then there are more difficult things like clothing and toys. I have to look at each item and decide whether it serves any purpose at this current time. One of the questions I ask is, "Have we used this in the past year?" If the answer is no the item is either donated, recycled or thrown out. It is amazing how much stuff I have cleared out of that garage. As difficult as it is, it feels good once it is done.

It's not just possessions we tend to hold on to over the years, it's also hurts, pains and bad memories. It's amazing the clutter we hold on to emotionally and mentally. I've had to learn how to de-clutter these things as well because if we don't the result can be devastating. It really is amazing the kind of baggage we stick away in our heart and mind without realizing we are doing it. These often weigh us down, shaping us in the way we think and react to things. We avoid certain activities, foods, and neighbourhoods because of the memories attached. We allow emotions to dictate how we react to certain topics of conversation. Instead of feeling free we feel caged in, weighed down and restricted in every way. It is also amazing how weary we get so early in life from carrying all that baggage around. We need to de-clutter.

The only answer to this problem is the love of our Father. Most of the stuff we hold on to emotionally and mentally is a result of unforgiveness, whether toward someone or ourselves. It's horrible how we torture ourselves like this. We have to apply the love of Jesus to every hurt, pain, and memory, and we do that by first remembering how much we are loved:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Remember that "giving" included a horrible death on a cross. Oh how he loves you and me. That death was for the purpose of forgiveness, enabling our sins to be forgiven and setting the example of how we are to forgive others. But it included more than this great sacrifice. It also involves relationship which changes our perspective on all matters. Jesus invited us to come to him so that our hearts and minds could be de-cluttered:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Notice it is a "give and take" relationship. We trade-in the things that have become useless to us, things that are taking away instead of adding to us, and we are picking up the positive responsibilities to love and forgive.

De-cluttering the junk of our lives is not always an easy task because it wants to keep coming on us, but that's because we don't fully understand how it works. Once we have been forgiven or we have forgiven there is this shadow thing that wants to hang around. It is a memory of things that the enemy keeps trying to stick in there to disturb the peace Jesus has given to us. It's not the actual offence because once that has been forgiven it is gone, but this shadow keeps trying to come in. With each false shadow we have to speak the truth which also helps remind us. Tell that shadow:

"I am a child of the living God, born of Jesus' sacrifice, covered by his blood, dearly loved by my Father."

"My offences have all been forgiven and removed from me. They have nothing to do with me any more."

In the case of things that have been done to you:

"I am not a victim. I am just like my Father. I have chosen to forgive. It is forgiven."

"Bitterness has no part with me. I have the joy and peace of the Lord. I love therefore I have also forgiven."

"Just as Jesus has forgiven me I have forgiven this offence, never to be spoken of again."

This is a powerful way of seeing all that clutter put to flight. You may have to do it for a little while but the truth of God's love will take root and will prevent those things from ever entering your heart and mind ever again. You will be freed from that burden that brings weariness upon you. Remember, if it is not adding positive things to your life, it is taking away from you in a most negative manner.

The greatest fundamental lesson in the Kingdom is forgiveness. The greatest tool against a cluttered heart and mind is forgiveness. It is a difficult thing to do, made easier by the love of the Father, but it feels great after it is done. Get started on it today.

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