My friend Joe is a realtor, and this morning he posted something on Instagram about de-cluttering the home. Instantly I felt a strong urge from Holy Spirit to really meditate on this word de-clutter, and how it applies to what I may have carried in my heart into 2020.
DE-CLUTTER (noun): to remove things you do not need from a place, in order to make it more pleasant and useful.
When my husband and I were moving from South Carolina, USA over to Brisbane, Australia where we currently live, we were selling our home of 7 years. It's only us two and our two dogs, but BOY did we collect some clutter! It was our first bought home, so when we first moved in, my parents drove all the way from Louisiana with a U-haul full of all of my junk that I had left there from growing up. This stuff took up a good portion of our attic, as did the boxes of things that I had collected from all of my travels around the world doing missions work. About two years ago my Mom passed away, so I added to my growing clutter with much of her stuff as well as stuff that she had inherited from other relatives.
I'm not really into clutter, and my husband hates it even more than me, but somehow we managed to just keep collecting it. We got really good at hiding it away in closets and in drawers and in the attic where no one could see it, but we still knew it was there although often forgotten. I remember when Joe first came as our selling agent to look at the house to prepare it for the market - I was so embarrassed by all that JUNK in the attic and in the closets! I had kept it hidden for so long that I hadn't realized how much there actually was that needed to be sorted through.
De-cluttering wasn't an easy process. The Holy Spirit actually challenged me when I first started the process to NOT reminisce about the boxes of junk from High School and University and even my time at Bible College. He reminded me that though those times were important to making me who I am now, but my actual IDENTITY is a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) who has been made FREE by Jesus (John 8:36), and that He is doing a new thing and I was not to look to the old (Isaiah 43:19). He actually challenged me to only keep a few photos, and just throw out everything that was not going to give me a healthy, godly push into my future with Him. Just LETTING GO of my past was actually easier than I expected.
Having to sort through my mother's stuff was definitely more difficult. I had stuff that I had hidden away for the two years since her passing that I just could not bring myself to look at until then. I had to re-open the wound of loss, and cry fresh tears of grief again. I had to allow God's love and comfort to wrap-around my heart, and though I gave most of her stuff away to my Aunts or cousins, I still had to struggle through actually THROWING OUT little bits and pieces of junk that meant nothing to the rest of the family but myself. Moving to Australia with only 6 suitcases at a limited weight meant being overly selective with what I took with me, so I had to learn to grieve the old and choose only what the Holy Spirit said to take with me into my new season.
When it was all said-and-done and the house was sold and we were on our way with our 6 suitcases (and two dogs), it was actually the most LIBERATING, THRILLING feeling. It generated complete trust in God, a faith that I had not previously tapped into, and my heart - though sad at times - felt so LIGHT. Both my husband and I had such a great sense of EXPECTATION and EXCITEMENT for our future in Australia, knowing that we had nothing but beautiful, healthy relationships that kept us tied to our old life in America, and we were not tied to junk. The expectation of what God wanted to do with our OBEDIENCE and the freedom from NOT BEING HELD BACK BY ANYTHING is still lingering, even 6 months later. Not having useless items tying us to old lives, old thought patterns, or even to grief has actually propelled us into new territories in our Promised Land. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
So when Joe posted about de-clutter this morning, though I looked around my room at the very little that we currently own after the big move overseas, I was compelled by Holy Spirit to have a little look at some of the THOUGHTS I had been dealing with lately. A little doubt hidden away in that closet of my heart...a little offense that I had shoved in a drawer over there...the boxes of disappointment in the attic of my thoughts. I even had a few little areas of grief that I was actually HOLDING ONTO instead of properly processing. And that's when I realized that my thoughts and heart needed a bit of a de-clutter as well.
I am so grateful for the freedom that Jesus died to give us - Whom the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36). What defines me as a Christian is one who is FREE because of Jesus. But sometimes, I forget just how free I am, and I pick up clutter along the way. Clutter that isn't even MINE anymore, but I stash it away and let it build up. It's time to DE-CLUTTER, says the Lord. It's time to walk in the freedom that Jesus has given me. It's time to cut loose everything that would tie me down to an old season, an old mindset, or an old way of doing things. Time to cut loose of fear, of doubt, of unhealthy grief. Time to throw out disappointment. It's time to take the Promised Land without any ties to Egypt or previous desert seasons. Time for NEW wine (Matthew 9:17).
I can't wait to see what lies ahead without the weight of unnecessary CLUTTER slowing me down!
Is there anything hold YOU back? I suggest the de-cluttering process, even if it is a little painful at first. I promise, you will go faster, farther, and feel lighter than EVER!
P.S. Thanks, Joe Seamon (wink)