Spring Cleaning My Heart
I joined an online community of de-clutter beasts this year. Several things compelled me: I am fearful I have become a hoarder. I have a problem finding things that I need quickly. I turned 50 this year and don’t want to have the clutter get away from me. So I tackled my closets, drawers, storage, pantry, and even computer files and photo storage on line. I felt like the decluttered queen. As I laid on my bed feeling so good, I could hear that quiet still voice, “What about all the useless clutter in your heart?”
“What?!! That can’t be God’s voice.” I thought I better rebuke the devil. He is always trying to steal my joy. Then that thing happened. It’s like a little twist in my heart reminding me that I am frequently wrong. I sighed in consent, made a cup of tea and sat on the patio to commune with God.
Jeremiah 17:9-10, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
What good does it do to have a clean house without a clean heart? I pause and smile for a moment realizing this will be much more difficult than just organizing and donating. However God makes everything manageable and when I started it was much easier than I thought.
My process wasn’t complicated. I took time every day for a few weeks where I prayed Psalms 51, wrote in my journal and left time to reflect with God. I asked God to reveal to me the hidden things. With decluttering my home, I handled each item as I came across it. Putting it aside to deal with later would just lead to a bigger problem. This strategy became helpful in my heart cleaning as well. Journaling allowed me to explore the true motivations of my behavior. It is more than confessing sin, but examining why I sinned, what was I hoping to gain, why I didn’t respond to the voice of God to stop, etc. In this process, God directed me how to make changes and avoid being stuck in patterns of behaviors. I discovered some of the errors, myths, and facts about spring cleaning my heart.
Myth 1: I can pack things deep down and never deal with them. False. I buried feelings of fear, hurt, failure, rejection, giving up, and not trying. As I began to pull them out and deal with them, I discovered blessings from God that I missed. For example, I was rejected in a relationship when I was much younger. When I look back at every relationship since that one, fear was there. The old hurt was present. I was so afraid of being hurt again that I couldn’t move on. I kept a part of myself from others. I never shared some of my deepest emotions. As a result, I didn’t grow or open myself up for a genuine connection. Most importantly, I also closed areas off from God. How is this not dealing with it? I’m dealing with it every day. Fact: I thought I packed these feelings deep in my heart, but I had given them the reins and they were directing my actions.
Myth 2: If I forgive that person, they get away with what they did. False. Ok so this one is about forgiveness and very connected to the first one. Fact: I am not holding them hostage, I’m holding me hostage. Forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for me. I have heard and ministered that to others. How is it still present in my life? We all will answer for what we have done. Why am I so caught up in what someone else must answer for? Don’t I have enough on my own? In addition, I must answer for this un-forgiveness. Right now, God is showing me I have un-forgiveness in my heart that is sin. Is my answer really, “I know God its not my fault see I was mad cause____.” No, I have to answer for my own choices.
Myth 3: Holding on to this feeling keeps me connected to him or her. Did I really just say that? Honestly, there were times I found myself embarrassed by the pettiness of what I had hidden. Nevertheless, this was there. Fact: Holding on to these feelings only connected me to the hurt and the pain – not the person. It takes up space that could be filled with joy, peace and love. Let him or her go.
Fear 1: If I don't feel this, then what will I feel? I call this fear of what now. When I think about all the time, effort and energy in these thoughts, they were not buried at all. I was paying rent on this space. They were consuming my resources. In my closet, freeing space allowed me to have better clarity of what I had. I gained space for new items that fit better and looked better. I had peace living in an open atmosphere and no need to hide or close off spaces with having guests. Spiritually I gained clarity of who I am and what my purpose is. I gained space for more joy, peace, and contentment. I had the comfort of allowing God to come into the darker places of my heart. I could be more obedient because all this sin and unbelief was out the way.
Fear 2: Fear of flying or fear of falling. Sometimes it is fear of failure and sometimes its fear of success. Feeling like I am at new heights bring new responsibilities and challenges. However, It is also the place where God can truly accomplish His purpose in me. What is preventing me from being obedient and doing all God commands? Will I finally trust God and be obedient? Did I really think this was all God had for me, a life of what could have been, hurt and pain? He has always been faithful, I was in the way. Now that I have removed the obstacles and sin that easily besets me, let me consider how great God is and how He is faithful. As long as I keep my heart pure and stay before Him, I cannot fail or fall.
Hebrews 12:1, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.