The new house is about 85% in order. I’ve gotten most things in place, see some things that I plan to rearrange, and have a few things that I’m not sure what I’m going to do with yet. Those things are stacked in a corner. Funny thing about these kinds of stacks, they seem to take on a life of their own. They grow. Whatever I come across that I don’t know what to do with right at that moment goes into the stack in the corner. What started out as a few boxes neatly organized and awaiting my attention has turned into a bit of a mess. For the most part, I already know what the boxes contain. However, I’m sure there will also be discovery of things long forgotten. And while I haven’t yet tackled the time-consuming project this will surely be, I am already mentally re-evaluating the importance of the things that are there and making my lists of what I will keep and what I will not.
I dislike things being messy. It frustrates me. I like neatness and order along with sunshine and rainbows, none of which are indefinitely sustainable. Sigh. And while we are basically settled in, the reality is that these things are just not the priority. Other things need my attention more. I will get to this mess sooner or later and when I do I will keep some things, store some things, and very likely toss some things in the trash. I most likely will struggle with some of this process, desiring to hold to things simply because I’ve had them so long even though I have no place for them now. Things that once seemed so very important to keep may be the very things I need to get rid of. It’s a new season in my life and my perspective on quite a few things has changed.
As Christians we tend to think that the “mess” we may have in the corners of our lives is usually a sin problem. No doubt, sin does tend to take on a life of its own when not cleaned up. But what do we do when the mess in the corner is our spiritual lives? Perhaps the doctrines and theology and teachings and sermons that we’ve heard through the years of attending multitudes of church services and bible studies and Sunday schools and revivals have accumulated and we’ve been diligent to hang on to every one of them until one day we realize that we’ve got a stack of spiritual stuff that clutters our souls and has become quite a mess and a source of frustration.
There have been times in my life when I had to take everything I thought I knew about God and what it meant to be a Christian and put them aside. As a whole, it all just looked like a big mess. Knowing that I would come back to them and examine each one to determine if it was a keeper or something that needed to be tossed, it was time to get my priorities straight. I had lost sight of the simplicity of this love relationship with my Father and the accumulation of things I thought I knew or believed I was supposed to “do” had become more important than He.
I have spent a lifetime with a great number of wonderfully godly people. Pastors and teachers, leaders, mentors, and friends who influenced my life and stirred my passion to pursue Him more. They endeavored to impart to me the wisdom and knowledge gleaned from their years as a Christ-follower. They gave to me the best they knew how. But that doesn’t mean it was all right for me, especially these many years later. I’m not talking about rejecting the truth that lay at the foundation of their beliefs, but rather the way that truth was and is to be lived out in my own personal relationship with God.
It can be an uncomfortable process, this spiritual house cleaning, but perhaps it’s time. Maybe you, too, have felt the frustration of not knowing what to do with all that you have learned. This frustration can be a prompt to examine our beliefs one by one and see if we truly know what we believe and why we believe it. To weigh and measure each thing by His word and if it holds up as truth, to find the right place for it in this temple we are made to be, this house of Grace.