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 about the things that come from Facebook and “best ideas” are not usually one of 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 I saw suggested that instead of alcohol or chocolate or whatever, you give up clutter! A bag a day.. shwooop!.. out the door. Every single day, for 40 days!”
He said he didn’t think we had 40 bags worth of clutter.
Bless his heart.
He was serious.
I laughed and realized my “junk organized into totes” game is strong. My clutter is unseen to the casual observer and (apparently) to the spouse 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 isn’t really enough.
I’ve never practiced Ash Wednesday or given up things for Lent previously but garage bags of stuff feels..too small. And too.. self-serving.
I feel God asking for more from me.
Even with the clutter conversation, I couldn’t seem to let go of this desperate longing to, well, let go
The thoughts tumbled through my head all throughout the long and utterly exhausting day.
My thoughts this evening turning to the season ahead.
Sure, I could begin to declutter and spring clean but I don’t have time for anything more in my already overwhelming life!Frustration from the day spilled over into this evening where things have just refused to go right.
Just now, in the quiet of a moment I have taken to pause and breathe and pray, from somewhere beyond the exhaustion and weakness, a message became clear:
Guessing that a few of you just felt that in your soul. Just as I did.
Heart clutter.. most of us have bags and bags and bags of it.
My “junk tote” game isn’t quite as strong within my heart. The things which I hold tightly inside, 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, sorrow over lost relationships and friendships, 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 seems like a daunting task, but even as I consider it, my heart feels lighter.
My heart clutter has recently moved awfully close to hoarding. Have I become a hoarder of hurts, fears, regrets, and bitterness?
Could I (could you) try 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?
What if we say that “letting go” of our emotional junk is too simplistic, simply because we prefer to hold onto it?
To be completely honest, as I consider what “junk” I most need to get rid of, the list is anything but pretty:
Fear of failure
Guys? That is like a dozen spilling over totes of emotional garbage right there and it took me under 1 minute.
Do any of you identify?
Am I, are we, clinging hard to..
.. painful pasts, that are preventing us from finding space for a good future?
..the layers of pain we wear like layers of paint on an old kitchen table, layered so deeply, that renewal seems impossible?
..fear from past failure, which we allow to overtake our thoughts and keep us from achieving all we were meant to achieve?
.. self-protection we think holding grudges offers?
..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.
Lent, I believe, at it’s core, is about the old giving way so the new can 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.
What about you? Will you do it?
Try to let go of the emotional junk over the next 40 days?
What is there to lose?
Probably, just a whole lot of clutter.
With love and prayers,