Last weekend, I told my husband that I saw “the BEST idea on Facebook!” He gave me the look that indicated he knew a lot of things that came from Facebook – and “best ideas” are not usually among them.
I ignored the look, “See, the thing is, I know we aren’t Catholic, but Ash Wednesday is this week.. so that’s the start of Lent. The idea was, instead of alcohol or chocolate or whatever, you give up clutter! A bag a day.. shwooop!.. out the door. Everyday, for 40 days!”
He said he didn’t think we had 40 bags worth of clutter.
He was serious.
I laughed. And realized: my “junk drawer-clutter cabinet-organizer tote” game is strong. My clutter is unseen to the casual observer and (apparently) to the one who doesn’t want to deal.
For now, the subject has dropped, except to say that the thrift stores in my area are about to be clutter-smacked.
Today, I thought about it again, and decided that spring cleaning wasn’t really enough.
Now, I’ve never practiced Ash Wednesday or given up things for Lent previously but garage bags of stuff, still felt too small.
I felt like God wanted more from me.
Even with the clutter conversation, I couldn’t seem to let go of this desperate longing to, let go.
(Note: If you are new to reading this blog or just missed it, my Ash Envy isn’t new and you can read about that here)
The thoughts tumbled through my head again today after a long and utterly exhausting day.
God was calling, and turning my thoughts again to the season ahead.
I didn’t have time, though. Frustration from the day spilled over into an evening where things just refused to go right.
But suddenly now, in the quiet of the night, in my exhaustion and weakness, the message became clear.
And knowing many of you as I do, I don’t think this message was just for me.
Most of us have bags and bags and bags of it.
My junk drawer game isn’t quite as strong within my heart. The things which I hold tightly in my heart and for far too long, have been spilling over.
This is the worst clutter; the kind that causes heart damage.
No longer are my junky beliefs, broken down bits of bitterness, and scraps of insecurity, fitting into the spaces I carved out to hold them.
“Sacrifice it. Get rid of it. Embrace the season designed just for this, for the letting go — and just — let go. Get ready to start fresh.”
This seemed like a daunting task, but even as I considered it, my heart felt lighter.
My heart clutter has recently moved awfully close to hoarding. Had I become a hoarder of hurts, fears, regret, bitterness?
Could I, could we, do something new?
Or is letting go just too hard?
Then again, what if letting go of heart clutter isn’t as hard as we think?
What if calling it hard is just what we do to protect ourselves?
Conversely, what if we say that the idea of just “letting go” of our junk is too simplistic.. simply because we prefer to hold onto the junk?
Because, to be brutally honest, as I considered what debris I most need to strip away, the list is anything but pretty:
Negative body image
Negative “every part of me” image
Fear of failure
Hurt from betrayal
Lack of self belief
Guys? That is like 20 things right there and it took me under 1 minute.
Do any of you identify?
Am I, are we, holding on so hard..
..to painful pasts, that it’s preventing us from finding space for a good future?
..to the layers of pain we wear like layers of paint on an old kitchen table, layered so deeply, that renewal seems impossible?
..to the fear from past failure, which we allow to overtake our thoughts and keep us from achieving all we were meant to achieve?
..to the self-protection we think unforgivness offers..so much so, that we provide no opportunity for healing?
..to self-hatred and a fear of rejection, which means we never make a connection to others, or find the security and protection a sweet friendship can offer?
I do all that.
And probably 40 more things, too.
But I don’t want to anymore.
One by one, for forty days, or however long it takes..shwooop!..I’m taking out the heart clutter. I’m giving it up.
Lent, prepares us for the what’s ahead. For the old to go away and the new to come.
I want, above all else, to get rid of the weight of my past so I’ll be ready to follow, to run, to chase freely and unchained, into the good season ahead.
And for you? Can you do it?
40 days? What is there to lose?
Probably, just a whole lot of clutter.