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.

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