The Trouble with Hidden Messes

I love a challenge.

So when my sweet friend Glynnis began her Clutter-Free Challenge, I could hardly wait to glean some wisdom and hopefully tackle an area in my home that felt overwhelming: my bedroom drawers.

Over the years I have saved special cards, mementos, drawings, notes and letters by dumping them into two catch-all drawers in my bedroom. It wasn't a good system, but I couldn't bear to part with the meaningful things, and didn't know what else to do. So, my drawers bulged and I tried not to hyperventilate when I had to open one.

Step One: Acknowledging the evidence:
A drawer so stuffed it couldn't open all the way.

Then Glynnis wrote this blog post and I heard the Hallelujah chorus, which I took as a call to action.

The trouble with hidden messes is they may be out of sight, but they're never truly out of our minds. Or our hearts. Hidden messes take up space and slow us down.

Step Two: The evaluation. This involved dumping all the contents of the drawer onto my bed, and sorting through it. I filled an entire plastic grocery bag with junk I no longer wanted. While most of the stuff in my drawer was good, some wasn't, and many items were a mystery--why on earth was I holding on to it?

Emptying the drawer, sorting my stuff, and tossing the trash.

Are there things in our hearts that no longer belong there? Offenses we could get rid of by forgiving, disappointments we could release, or hurts we could lift to God, instead of cramming our hearts so full that they no longer open all the way?

Step Three: Assign a place for my special things. I made a quick trip to Walmart to purchase (1) a memory box (I chose a Rubbermaid container with a snap-on lid, but you could go for pretty if you prefer) and (2) plastic sheet protectors. I already owned several 3-ring binders. (See Glynnis' post, above, for her instructions and more suggestions.)

When our hearts are hit hard by the issues of life, we can gently lift them to Jesus, who is our our safe refuge--the One with whom we can safely process all of life's stuff. He is our assigned place.

Exhaling: What a relief to enjoy my things instead
of freaking out about overly-stuffed drawers.

Step 4: Stick to the plan--follow it even when it's not convenient. Now that I have a 3-ring binder for special notes, mementos, etc., and a memory box for larger items, I intend to use them. I want to enjoy my freshly cleaned drawers. What a pleasure to open them without feeling my blood-pressure spike.

My newly tidied drawer.

The process of cleaning out one of my drawers took about 30 minutes from start to finish. I have no idea why I waited so long, but here's the thing--it's never too late to clean out a drawer. We can just decide to do it, and then enjoy the results.

It's the same with our hearts. Hidden messes create a lot of pressure, anxiety, and frustration. But Jesus is waiting for us to dump the contents of our hearts onto Him and begin sorting. The cool thing is He loves us regardless of what's stuffed in there. And He is able to make them fresh and clean once again. And best of all, there will be plenty of room. Because ultimately, we want more room in our hearts and lives for Him.


Karen said...

A great comparison! I did a few drawers like I've got to find a place for my memory boxed! :P I didn't go the extra step with binders....hmmm....

Tamara said...

Loved this post and great analogies to compliment it.

I sometimes will watch 'Hoarders' on TV and I become so anxious from the clutter I purge & organize my stuff!

Cheryl Barker said...

Do you hire yourself out, Julie? :)I have a couple of closets and drawers in need of an intervention :)


Thanks for motivating me to take care of some of my hidden messes.


Karen said...

So awesome, I really enjoyed the spiritual analogies. thank you and will be doing this one drawer at a time. what's fun is you can dump your drawer and watch a movie too. Getting down time in can help with a "project" that may not seem so fun. I filled an entire box for recycling while watching a terrific movie. When I was done I had one small pile of paper!!yeah! Karen

Jill Beran said...

What a great picture you paint...oh do I have some messes to clean up! I love this line - "Stick to the plan--follow it even when it's not convenient." Those words jumped off the page and tie right in with my word for the year, DISCIPLINE!! I think I've spent almost half this month asking God to give me a new word!! Ha, HA! Praying for you as your book takes the next step!!

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