I want to live an uncluttered life.
Physically Emotionally Spiritually
I have traveled around the world and back on this post. It really has been so . . . emotional. And what I now conclude is that cleaning out emotional clutter takes a fair amount of courage, a good bit of introspection--and, of course, the grace of God.
And unlike physical clutter, there is no case to be made for holding a little bit back--just in case. It is all or nothing.
Just the idea of spending time alone used to frighten me. Now I crave it. Sometimes I just need to be alone to think, to plan, to pray, to listen for His still small voice, and to analyze things like emotional clutter.
God speaks to me in the quiet, in the solitude. He spoke to me about this.
Before I get to the biggie, however, let me just state the obvious: Not dealing with things sins like envy, greed, selfishness, discontent, hurt feelings, pride, unforgiveness, etc. is a great way to accumulate emotional clutter. All those things come paired with serious feelings. This stuff can't wait for spring cleaning. It must be worked on every single day.
I wish I could say easy peasy and be done with it, because I love to say easy peasy. I don't get to say it often enough.
My revelation: A lot of emotional clutter is accumulated through getting involved in activities or relationships that we should not be involved in.
I struggled with that Word from the Lord. It took me a day to process it, and it has taken me longer to write about it. But at the eleventh hour--literally, last night around 11 o'clock, my son sent a video to me of himself slithering down a rope hung from a helicopter while holding a very large gun--which I can only assume was quite heavy. The camera was attached to an undisclosed area on his body, so the details are a bit blurred; but I believe he eventually landed on a rooftop somewhere.
Doesn't that sound like fun?
Not to me. It looked dangerous and cold. I would have been scared to death.
He loved every minute of it.
My son is well-trained to engage in maneuvers like that. He didn't just wake up one day, realize the need for someone to be able to get from a helicopter to a rooftop while holding a big gun, and decide to meet the need. He has spent years preparing and developing the skills necessary to accomplish this task without dying in the process.
He has a lot of other highly-developed skills that I am certain will serve him well in his calling on his battlefields. I am extremely proud of him and his willingness to push his body and mind to the extremes he has been required to do. And while I believe in the causes that drive him and understand the need for men trained to do what he does, I am certain that I am not called to join him. I am also certain that you are not surprised.
It does not matter how desperate the situation, how great the need, I will never jump from a helicopter to a rooftop while holding a big gun.
The need is not the call.
I have heard that many times. And yet, again and again I have chosen to get involved in activities and with people that I am not prepared, equipped, or truly called to deal with.
And it is in those circumstances that I accumulate emotional clutter of the biggest magnitude. My motives may be pure, but my training may not be sufficient; and I may not truly be called.
I am not talking about stepping out in faith to try something new or meeting an obvious need. I am talking about jumping into waters that I am not prepared to swim, in which I may, in fact, drown.
I have done it. We all have.
I have birthed projects that were not mine to birth.
I have counseled people who were not mine to counsel.
I have fought battles that were not mine to fight.
And I have been stressed--weighed down by so much emotion that I felt like I was sinking.
The need is always the call to pray.
The need may be the call to serve.
Yes, we are told in the Bible to bear one another's burdens to fulfill Christ's law, but there are appropriate and productive ways to do it. And we need to acknowledge our limitations not in an effort to shirk our responsibilities, but in a way to ensure our effectiveness.
I have been presented with the opportunity to "help" people affected by or suffering with an eating disorder, depression, homosexuality, addiction, infidelity, ADHD, abuse, mental illness, grief, etc. The list goes on and on.
My little corner of the world is filled with hurting people, and my job is primarily to carry their burdens to the throne of grace and leave them there--no holding back.
Occasionally, God may have me get more involved--when and if I am emotionally healthy enough to do so, and I am in a position to speak from a place of truth and/or experience, or when I have the resources to make a difference.
When that happens, I am energized by the maneuver, not drained. I love it. And it adds nothing to my emotional clutter.