Overwhelmed by my overstuffed closet recently, I felt the need to purge and organize. It was time to rid my life of clothing, shoes and purses and anything else hiding in the deep recesses of my walk-in that didn’t add anything to my life. Did you notice the irony here?
I needed less to add more, not more stuff, but to embrace the orderliness of a life filled with God and not more possessions. As I finished removing outdated clothing or items I’d bought on sale and had rarely worn, I wondered why we allow ourselves to accumulate so much. Why do we treasure things and not the life we’ve been given?
The acquisition of stuff doesn’t add anything to our lives. If anything, it detracts us from the joy-filled life we should be living. What do I mean? Each piece of clothing, each knick-knack on our shelves, each gadget we purchase, each new electronic device we embrace requires time and maintenance. The things we own can end up owning us.
But it’s not just material things we cling to. We clutch grudges and anger to our chests as if we were a selfish child refusing to share a favorite toy.
Just as leaves are releasing their hold of the branches they’ve clung to since last spring, autumn is time for us to purge our homes of unnecessary belongings, and also to release anything in our lives that doesn’t add to it.
Author and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis once said, “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”
Purging ourselves of sin and anger, releasing our grudges and hurt, risking rejection and embracing forgiveness leads to a peace-filled life. When we atone for our mistakes by asking for or seeking forgiveness, we can embrace freedom.
Freedom also lies in releasing our fears to God. For me, there’s nothing more cathartic than finally letting go of my doubts and worries, trusting that my Heavenly Father is in control.
When we try to control the outcome of situations, our attitudes reflect an unwillingness to move forward. I can attest to that. I used to be the queen of control freaks. If I wasn’t in the driver’s seat, I became a back seat driver giving directions to the person behind the wheel.
So how do we let go of the past? How do we break free of the chains keeping us in a prison of our own making? What needs to happen for us to uncurl our fist, lay open our palm and embrace the life God wants us to have?
We ask for help. God’s help. He is the only One who can provide and sustain us as we seek to grow spiritually.
And, if you’re stuck in a difficult time, jump-start an attitude change by letting go of possessions. You might start with your closet.