This past weekend I decided to tackle the most giant of tasks. The Goliath of tasks. I didn’t want to. I thought it wasn’t bad enough. I’ve procrastinated for months already. Life was still continuing to move forward without this task being finished. I was getting by.
What was the task that made me feel a little nauseous every time I thought about it? Purging and organizing my closet. I can hear the collective groan from all of you too. I dreaded this task. But I couldn’t stand it anymore.
Many of you may know that I became the happiest of brides last September. God heard my most fervent of prayers and blessed me with an amazing husband. Jeff moved into the house and it was a challenge to find room for his things. I didn’t realize the amount of shifting, moving, donating, and selling that we would each have to do! I thought he was coming with his toothbrush and a bag full of underwear and socks and we would live happily ever after. I figured I would give him my side of the bed (because it turned out we both slept on the left side of the bed on our own and I can compromise) and it would all be good. Then I see a moving truck pulling up. And it was FULL.
Fast forward to the master bedroom closet. We needed to make room for his clothes! I let go of 5 tops and what felt like 1,000 pairs of shoes and it didn’t even look like I made a dent, but we carried on with the tight closet. I knew I needed to get rid of so much more but I just couldn’t. I’d sacrificed so much already! I NEEDED all of that stuff! I put it off and procrastinated. Then finally I decided it was time to rip off the band-aid.
I had been inspired last week when I listened to this podcast on closet organization by Chalene Johnson. She inspired me to make the move I was dreading, my conviction and need flipped the internal switch and I began the dirty work. Within two days of listening to Chalene, I went through every single piece of clothing and purged what was no longer in style or fit. I was ruthless. It was liberating.
Cleaning the closet made me think…how many times have there been things in our life that we are afraid to change? How often have we known that in order to grow, we need to move past something holding us back? How often have we let fear of the unknown prevent us from experiencing a “clean closet”? How many times have we told God, “not now”?
You see, there can’t be growth when things remain unchanged. In the same way, I couldn’t appreciate so many pieces of great clothing because they were being hidden by items that I would maybe one day wear again. Never mind that it has been over a year or more since I’d worn it, one perfect day, when all was right in the world, I would be glad I hung on the cardigan with layer upon layer of ruffles or that skirt or blouse! Those extra, unnecessary, items were preventing me from having an organized, open space. I was being greedy and selfish by holding on to items of material worth. I wasn’t willing to let go and allow someone else to be blessed by what I no longer used. I wasn’t allowing myself to dwell in the place of contentment of what I have. Cleaning my closet allowed me to see my blessings and find contentment.
Similarly, we prevent our own personal growth because we allow the clutter in our lives to hold us hostage. We don’t allow God to use the old to bring forth the new. We don’t allow the growth. We seek “perfection”and acceptance through new things.
We allow the fear to creep in, we stay safe.
We don’t share that idea at work because nobody will care, or worse, they will think it’s dumb.
We don’t reach out to that person because they probably aren’t interested or are too busy to have another friendship.
We don’t participate in groups or activities because we probably wouldn’t fit in.
We don’t change our diet and lifestyle because it’s too hard and we won’t be successful again.
We don’t jump forward with the business plan because we would probably fail.
We don’t leave toxic relationships because what if we end up alone?
We don’t join in conversations because what we have to say is probably not valuable.
We don’t submit our resume because we probably won’t get the job.
We don’t give up the addiction because it brings us comfort.
Think about this. What if we did? What if we said yes to what God has placed in our hearts? What if we stepped out in faith and allowed God to work through us? What if instead of fighting the pruning that will come anyway, we submitted?
I have had some hard lessons in life. I have regrets. I’ve hung on so tightly to things, and sometimes I still do. I’ve looked for people and things to fill my needs. Slowly, I am learning that when God says it is time to move forward, it’s at that time I need to obey. Letting God do what He needs to do while I have a willing heart is so much easier than acting like the toddler who you’re practically sitting on to get the medicine in their mouth because they NEED the medicine to get better. If I just took the medicine or washed my hands so that I wouldn’t get sick in the first place, it’s much easier to handle. The medicine can still be bitter but it allows us to grow, regenerate, and stay healthy.
I know, such a life lesson from a closet about to explode, right? But God uses everything. And there lies the blessing.