13 April, 2010
Closet Cleaning Time
"I decided to clean out my closets (yes, plural, I have 3 of them) to get rid of clothes that I did not wear, either because I did not like them, or because they no longer fit. I have pulled 4 suits, 2 sport jackets, 39 dress shirts and more than 40 casual shirts, and 17 pairs of pants. That is just ridiculous in itself, but I look and I still have at least 3 times that much left filling my closets. Out of curiosity I just counted my " Hawaiian" type shirts that are still in the closet and I have enough there to wear a different one every day for almost 3 weeks. I'm standing here scratching my head thinking, "how did you accumulate so much stuff?" Amazing. I think I need to go through the closets again and rid myself of some more stuff."
I posted the above message on a messaging board where I and several of my friends in the ministry post, and as I concluded that message, the thought hit me... "there is a spiritual message in this, as well. We all need to "clean out our closets" from time to time, in a spiritual sense. As I was going through my closets, there was in internal struggle over some of those clothes. Some of them were literally never worn. Someone had bought them for me, and I just never wore them, either because of the color(s) or in many cases because I just did not like the way the material felt. In both cases, it was because those clothes just "were not me." I got to thinking about how much "stuff" we drag around in life, because it came to us, either through someone else, another religious idealogue, or maybe we picked it up ourselves, thinking it would be good for us, only to find out it just does not work. As I worked through the clothing, there were several instances where I said that something had to go, only to pick it back up again. Some of those are back in my closet, some are in the bags in my van waiting to go to the Salvation Army. But I had to wrestle with those decisions until I found a peace about letting it go, or keeping them. So it is with these emotional and spiritual issues in our "closets" that we must deal with, make decisions about... do they stay or do they go? Funny thing, there are several things that I took out, realized they do not fit, but told myself, "I'm going to get back into this." When we do a personal inventory of our lives, going through our closets, we often realize that there are things that we really like, really enjoy, even need... and that these things have been pushed out of our lives by other things, and in our reflection we make the determination that we need to do some things to get them back in our lives. Just as it means I need to trim few pounds from my life to fit those clothing items I want back, in my life there are somethings I need to either rid myself of, or at bare minimum, reign under control because they have taken some important things from my life. How many times have you ever come to the realization that television, the internet or other hobbies have robbed you of an important time or thing in your life?
As I cleaned out my physical closets today, I had to make some tough decisions to let go of some shirts that I really liked, but it was time to let them go. The fact was, they just were not me any more, although at one time, they very much were. There was sentimental meaning to them, but the truth is, they were taking up space, which also caused the closet to be over crowded, thus wrinkling my clothes that I now wear. Wow... is there a dynamic in that thought! There are some things in our lives that we need to be thankful that they were there for that season of our lives, but now it is time to cut them loose. They serve to only muddle our lives and bog us down with sentiments of memories and times that were good... but they are no longer useful to us. Time to let them go. I've been mindful of this very thing a lot lately. There are some issues, memories... even people in my life that I am having to let go of. That hurts, and I mean deeply. But they honestly are in the way of where I am going at this stage in my life.
Maybe no one else really even sees what I'm blogging about today... but I can tell you, that I'm going through spiritual surgery as I write this. The Holy Spirit is revealing to me things that it is now time to say good-bye to. That is seldom easy.
One last thought. As I went back to my closet for another pass through to rid myself of more stuff, I discovered a bag with several shirts and a couple pairs of pants in the top of that closet. I had started cleaning it out about a year ago and put those in there to get rid of, but never did. They are in my van now and they are going today as well. How many of us "intended" to get rid of something long ago... but it's still in there? Just a thought.