If You Can

Every few months I get the urge to clean, purge, and organize our home. I scour cabinets and closets, categorize books and magazines, systematize medicines, and ruthlessly look every clingy stuffed animal in its pitiful eyes.

I think the compulsion comes from years of chaos growing up when I would obsessively clean to try to take some burden off my parents and brother. I felt a tangible sense of control after rearranging and assessing and the physical space achieved after getting rid of things freed up precious mental and emotional “space.”

This week has been one of those weeks when I am craving mental space. There is so much going on in my relationships and with my (lack of) health. I wake up and try to stop the thoughts from rushing in. I have to cry out to God to protect me from my own worry and circumstances.

My house has been under assault.

I have cajoled and pressed my family into deconstructing their rooms and collections throughout the house. I sit impatiently next to them sharing the advice of one who doesn’t cherish physical objects. Most often I remind them, “if you can let it go - you should.”

Indeed. My inner turmoil is far more critical than the outward, and the answer is staring me in the face.

If you can - let it go.

If you can give our hurt and pain and stress over to God - let it go. If you can forgive and move on - you absolutely should.

But perhaps you can’t. Sometimes letting go is honestly too much to ask. So you assess. You make new boundaries. You figure out something that will work for you. It makes little sense to see a problem and just let it build day after day until you become used to living in confusion and disarray.

There are so many projects I want to tackle right now. I am ready to pass on baby clothes and gadgets to a nesting mom. I am curious how 3 feet of random belongings have piled up in the luggage closet. I want to reassess and reorder the arts and crafts cabinet, but I must deal with my spiritual house first.

It has been under assault. I need to let go of some petty things done by people I still love, and want to continue to be in fellowship with. I need to forgive myself of some failures.

Sadly, I need to put up some new boundaries. There are some people that just won’t stop hurting you until you let go of the ideal of them, and then you find that they don’t belong within your boundaries at all. Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

I’m shaking out rugs and sweeping behind appliances looking for thoughts and attitudes that don’t belong in someone with the mind of Christ. I am letting go of my old patterns, and clinging as hard to Jesus as I know how. I am finding that the mental space I so desperately crave can only be found in casting my cares on Him, and submitting to the establishment of His ways. He speaks across the tossing waves of my soul, and calm erupts. In Him I find rest and peace, and space to be me.

Holding On

Psalm 27 (in part)

The Lord is my light and my salvation -

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life -

of whom shall I be afraid?

One thing I ask of the Lord,

this is what I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord

and to seek Him in His temple.

For in the day of trouble

He will keep me safe in His dwelling;

He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle

and set me high upon a rock.

Though my father and mother forsake me,

the Lord will receive me.

Teach me Your way, O Lord;

lead me in a straight path

I am still confident of this:

I will see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living.

Psalm 30 (an excerpt)

LORD my God, I called to you for help,

and you healed me.

You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead;

you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people;

praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment,

but his favor lasts a lifetime;

weeping may stay for the night,

but rejoicing comes in the morning.

You turned my wailing into dancing;

you removed my sackcloth

and clothed me with joy,

that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

LORD my God, I will praise you forever.

Psalm 147 (in parts)

He heals the brokenhearted

and binds up their wounds.

He determines the number of the stars

and calls them each by name.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power;

His understanding has no limit.

The LORD sustains the humble,

but casts the wicked to the ground.

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,

nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;

the LORD delights in those who fear him,

who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Psalm 23 (KJV)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:

he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness

for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through

the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me

in the presence of mine enemies:

thou anointest my head with oil;

my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life:and

I will dwell in the house of the LORD