One morning I came into my office and turned on my computer. I decided it was time to go through my mail. I had not taken the time to clean up my mail and it was piling up.
As I began to go through my mail I decided there were just some things I couldn’t throw out so I decided to compartmentalize my mail by making folders. I have a folder for this and that and everything else. I was moving my mail from one place to another not really getting rid of anything. My main mail folder was getting clean, but the other folders were getting full fast. I noticed I had saved more than I had discarded. Because of some positions I hold, I do need to hang on to some pieces of mail for reference, but I fear a lot of this could go by the wayside, but I couldn’t let go of it. What if I needed it at some point?
I soon began to reflect on other areas of my life. I have gone through my clothes more times than I can count promising myself I will downsize. As I go through my closet I begin to pull out clothes. I find clothes my daughters and grandchildren have given me and decide they are a must keep. I put them back. Then I pull out all those I really like (not need, but really like). I find I like more than I need. So I put them back. Then I pull out those I haven’t worn for a while. Just like my mail my thought is what if I need this sometime? What if I give it away just to buy or get a skirt that this will match perfectly with? So, I decide to keep those for “just in case” times. Finally, I get to those which are soiled, stained, too small (unfortunately I never have the too big clothes) or my taste in them as changed and I quickly lay them in the discard pile. I am proud of myself until I look back in my closet and see that I have kept more than I have given away. Just like my mail I have kept more than discarded. Ugh!
I have done this with dishes, my frog collection that is growing outrageously large, and many other areas of my life. I am determined to get rid of stuff just to find I compartmentalize it all and keep it. All I do is rearrange it.
God gently reminded me I often do this with my own life. I decided I am going to get rid of those obstacles that are keeping me from Him and instead I compartmentalize them instead of getting rid of them. Instead of getting rid of the sin, I just push it back to a corner of my life. Instead of dealing with jealousy I push it aside. Instead of dealing with pride I push it to the other side thinking someday I might want to take pride in something (which is not a bad thing until it becomes an idol or a problem in your life) I do. How often do I really get rid of the sin in my life and how many times do I push it aside instead of dealing with it and getting rid of it permanently?
Job 11:14, ““Before you turn to God and stretch out your hands to him, get rid of your sins and leave all iniquity behind you.” I have never confessed to being a minister or having any spiritual education. I just share with you what God shares with me and in this scripture it is telling us to get rid of our sins. It doesn’t say compartmentalize them, or hang on to them just in case, it says get rid of them. Psalm 103:12 reminds me this, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” This very clearly states that if we ask God to remove our sins He will do so and they will be as far as the east is from the west. That means it is so far I can’t reach out and touch them. I can’t grab them back; they are too far away from me for me to reach out and get them.
Now don’t get me wrong here. Just because we ask God to remove our sins and he does that does not mean we will become perfect. What often happens is we get rid of that sin and often replace it with another. Just like my clothes and my mail. I get rid of clothes, pat myself on the back thinking I am doing good just to find out I have bought new clothes to replace the old ones I got rid of. Just like my mail, I may get rid of old mail, but new mail keeps coming. It’s something I have to constantly work on. I can’t clean up my mail folder and then sit back, proud of what I’ve done. Within hours or days, it’s full again and I have to start the process all over again.
Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Daily we ask God to search us and point out anything he finds offensive. We ask Him to make known to us those things that are hindering us from having a deeper relationship with Him.
So just like mail or clothes, I pull them out and go through them; I don’t compartmentalize them I get rid of them. I ask God to replace that empty place with things that bring him joy. Because I am human and I live in the world it is work that I will continue to do until He calls me home.
So, maybe I will go back into my computer and get rid of some of those things that I have compartmentalized and get rid of them permanently. Maybe, when I go through my clothes I will think about how others have far less clothes than I do and how many are in need of clothing and just maybe I will begin to get rid of some of them also.
Are you like me do you hang on and compartmentalize your sin, hang on to it just in case? God calls us to get rid of it and then to remember once he removes it from us it’s so far gone we can’t reach it. We are then reminded this is a daily task. Let’s work together on getting rid of those things we want to hang on to.
Dear God: I know I should remove things from my life that I want to hang on to. I know I have compartmentalized things and they are not completely gone. Help me to bring them back in front of me and to rid myself of them. Help me to be brave enough to ask you to remove them completely from my life and then remind me you have moved them so far away I can’t reach them. Help me never to get so complacent that I forget to ask you to examine me daily. Thank you for all you do for me and all the ways you teach me. Amen