Why am I still holding on to this?

Brad Livingston   -  

I HATE CLUTTER! I’m sure if you were to ask my wife what things she would change about me, she would say, “nothing”. I’m also sure if you were to record a conversation between her and one of her closest friends, one of which is one of my sisters, she would have a much different answer to that question LOL. She would have something to say about my beard grooming and how I tend to leave beard hair in the sink or probably something about my communication skills and how when my head is overloaded with information about all the things I’m in charge of, I can tend to leave her out of the loop on things. Hey, I’m not perfect and I’m working on that! As I’ve mentioned before, and she knows about it so I’m not throwing her under the bus, she has something that isn’t a problem, but it’s still a thing that I’m growing in my need for grace for. Ashley is a saver. She is the person that looks at something and says, “Hey I could use “that” for something, someday, somewhere, for someone, in some way, at some point in life, so let me keep it. So, we’ve accumulated a lot of “that” in our house. We have some of “that” in our garage, loft, under beds, in closets, etc. What is “that” you ask? It can be anything big or small that she feels like holding on to. Here’s the problem, I am the exact opposite. I believe everything in our house should have “a place” that it goes. If it doesn’t have a permanent location, we don’t need it badly enough to keep it, because if we needed to keep it, we would have found a permanent place for it to go when it isn’t in use, and thus, I want to throw it away. To be clear, our house is not junky or cluttered, or anything like that. I’m just the guy that hates it when one cup is left out on the counter too long and believes in putting it back in its place as quickly as possible, cause you know… it has a place. Maybe this is me covering up a toxic trait of compartmentalization that I have, and that is definitely for a different time! For today, we’re focusing on how God is helping me see how my wife is just wired differently. Here’s the thing. There have been moments where she needed something and she went into the various areas she keeps “that stuff” and voila, there it is! But still, once or twice a year, month, week… ok it’s literally every day, I stare at whatever it is and start to get antsy and anxious about seeing it there. I can’t help but think to myself, or say out loud, “Why do we have all this crap in here? Why are we holding on to all of this?” 

Now, whether or not you can relate to having a bunch of stuff around your house or not, I don’t know, but I bet you can relate to looking at your life and asking yourself, “Why am I holding on to all of this?” Here’s the reality. We have all found ourselves holding on to things we’ve acquired over time. Not just tangible things, but life experiences, hurts, struggles, pain, trauma, etc. We’ve found ourselves stowing away certain things in the corners of our lives. The problem with this is cluttered lives are hard to navigate. We become antsy and anxious in our lives when we’re holding on to too much. It’s time we look at our lives and really ask ourselves, “Why do I have all this crap in here?” Here’s the beautiful part though, YOU DON’T HAVE TO KEEP IT! The decision in your life to say, “I’m not going to keep letting my life be cluttered with stuff that is weighing me down” is yours to make. It’s time to clean out the closets in our lives. So, how do we do that? I want to give you these 5 things to help.

  • Recognize how much your past is slowing you down.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

It’s hard to move around with dead weight. It’s vital to realize that the best version of your future involves you offloading your past. The first half of this scripture is saying that the weight that we carry “clings so closely”. This means we carry it because it’s from something significant to us. This may be hard to let go of but is still worth it. The second half of this verse is important because it gives us additional clarity on the fact that we don’t need to offload just to “feel lighter”, but so that we can “run the race” set before us. That means that regardless of what’s in the past, there’s still a race! So let’s get some stuff out, so we can run faster and lighter towards our purpose!

  • Remove what doesn’t have a place to stay in.

Simply put, if it doesn’t have a place in God’s plan for your future, it doesn’t deserve to have a place in your “now”. Get it out of there! 

  • Decide to learn from it without leaning on it. 

We often hear, “Well I don’t want to make the same mistake twice”. I understand the logic, but can we be real, learning from our mistakes doesn’t mean we have to relive them over and over again. Learn and move forward. Remember, you’re never moving forward if you’re leaning on something. 

  • Make room for what’s coming.

Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there. Isaiah 43:19

Getting some things out is the first step in preparing for what God is bringing to you. God is looking to do a new thing in us, but we can’t be bogged down carrying the past and think we can handle our future. You get to choose one. Choose wisely. Choose the great things that are ahead. 

  • Repeat

I wish I could tell you that when we clean out our closets we are good to go and can just start fresh. The reality is, no sooner than you clean out one closet, God reveals another one where you’ve been storing things. It’s in our nature to do that. Become content with asking God to reveal what needs to go, content with actually letting it go, and content with looking for what’s ahead. 

One thing I do, I’m forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

Let’s get the clutter out of our closets, even if we still have some stuff in our homes. That way we are prepared to run the race that is set before us, by God Himself, that will unlock our future and the purpose that He has destined for us. You’ve got this! Let’s clean out the closet!