I have this drawer in my dresser – it’s a big drawer and it is full. Actually, it’s more than full, it is as STUFFED as it possibly could be. And I honestly can’t stand this drawer because every time I need something from it, I have to dig around looking for what I want. I have to lift up stuff, move stuff around, stuff I don’t really even use, stuff I don’t really even want, but stuff I keep, “just in case” I need it one day.
And every time I do my laundry I add more to the already stuffed drawer, packing it in, pushing everything around, just to make it all fit. Then after I’ve gotten it all packed in, I have to shove the drawer closed before I can walk away and forget about it. Oddly enough it’s easy to forget about, because the top of my dresser is clean and orderly, looks neat, and is aesthetically pleasing.
I walk by it and don’t even think about how messy it is inside… Until I need something from it again.
What’s even more annoying, is that I actually organize this drawer often. Take everything out, fold the yoga pants, fold the leggings, fold the sleeping shirts, but then I put it ALL back in the drawer. Yes, it’s organized and looks nice and neat, but it’s still full of a lot of things that I don’t need, use, or even want.
Why can’t I just let this stuff go?
I don’t know. I don’t know why I’m holding on. Maybe because some of the stuff is really comfortable and worn in. And maybe because some of the stuff has sentimental value. And maybe because some of the stuff cost too much to just get rid of.
Because if I’d just get rid of some things and actually let go, I would free up a lot of space and a lot of frustrations. It would make it so that every time I opened the drawer, something I didn’t want wouldn’t spill out because I would have gotten rid of it.
So the other day, as I’m cramming this drawer closed AGAIN, the thought came to me, “This dang drawer is just like life!”
And I can’t stop thinking about how TRUE that is.
The dresser being us, the drawer being our hearts, and the stuff inside being our beliefs, character traits, words, and people that fill it up.
On the outside, we might look great. Just like my dresser does. We’re smiling, showing FB and IG all the best pics, we drive nice cars, we have nice clothes, we’ve showered so we’re clean, we smell good, and it LOOKS like our life is totally put together and going well.
But, people can’t see the inside. They don’t know how messy our hearts can be inside. Until it’s time to respond to something, and whatever is stored up in there comes spilling out, whether we like it or not.
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:45
For me, right now in this season of my life, my drawer is full of anxiety, and worry, and irrational fears. Unreasonable expectations, doubt, and the weight of the world that I don’t even need to hold. But I know that there are also a lot of other beautiful things in there, too. Like grace, and compassion, and understanding, and hope, and a massive amount of visions for my future.
But sometimes all of those beautiful things are so hidden behind the painful ones, that they don’t ever show up when we need them.
The other day my best me didn’t really show up much. I actually think she never even got out of bed, because I tried to get through the day, but everyone and everything botheted me. And unfortunately, it showed.
I was looking for the right things to say, but I could not find them
I was looking and hoping for the right reactions, but they didn’t show up.
I was looking for grace, but all I found was judgment
I was looking for forgiveness, but the only thing I felt was resent.
Tell me I’m not alone and that you have days like this, too?
I don’t like days like that, so when they come, I take them as a little life’s nudge to self-reflect and examine what’s going on inside. And I let it challenge me to change some things in my life.
To get the ball rolling, I started with the actual drawer, but I’m continuing the process to overhaul what is in my heart, too. The first thing I did, was empty the drawer so that I could see everything that is in there. I didn’t want to miss anything, so I laid it all out. And it was a mess!
To organize the mess, I created three piles:
- Keep it
- Let it go
- Throw it away
Not that big of a deal when it comes to clothes, right? But, when it comes to matters of the heart – it’s straight up hard. And often times when we self-examine our hearts, we will find some things in there that we have yet to let go of, and things that just don’t belong.
For example, unforgiveness, bitterness, bad habits, addictions, foul language, lyrics to an inappropriate song, or a scene from a movie or show we shouldn’t have been watching – everything that we partake in throughout the day, is stored somewhere.
When the proverb tells us “Above ALL else, guard your heart, for EVERYTHING you do flows from it.” it’s not just a gentle urge to be careful little eyes what you see, hear, or say. It’s a strong warning to protect ourselves, because everything we let in, will eventually come out.
We have to pay attention to what we:
- Are watching
- Are listening to
- Are reading
- Who we are hanging out with
Music is powerful because words are powerful. We know that words can heal and give life, but they can also bring destruction and pain. If you are continuously singing lyrics like, “I get high all the time” and “swimming in liquor my liver is muddy” or songs that you know deep in your heart you shouldn’t be listening to, you’re playing with fire and walking around in dangerous territory.
I don’t sing songs about drugs and getting high because I refuse to sing destruction over my life.
I don’t even listen to some songs that wouldn’t even be considered bad, but they bring me to a place in my past that I don’t ever want to go back to.
Adele’s song “Hello” reminds me of my ex. For no reason other then it’s talking about someone from her past, and that’s who came to my mind. So do you think I listen to that song, even though I love Adele and her voice? No, because I am guarding my heart from an unnecessary visit to a place I no longer go.
“My mouth will speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart will be understanding.” Psalm 49:3
Over the last few months, Facebook has been one of those things that has brought me to a real negative place – in my mind AND in my heart. Scrolling through posts seems harmless enough, but I found myself getting upset more often than not. There were a lot of comments and posts that I wanted to respond to and a lot of times I wanted to give people a piece of my mind, set them straight, and tell them how ridiculous and ugly they were acting.
But, instead, I deleted my Facebook app. I knew that my words were not going to be uplifting, edifying, or necessary. And I knew that they would actually cause some people pain and embarrassment, and I chose to walk away. And that was hard. I actually cried one night because I was SO mad at someone for being rude to someone I love, but I knew that my response would only show a lack of maturity, self-control, and love.
“And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you”
The Message Version says it like this:
“Watch the way you talk (sing). Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32
We have to forgive, and we have to let go. Let go of the pain, the bitterness, and the people that put it there to begin with.
I recently took a trip to the Dream Center, the place where I lived for 14 months, and the place that helped me get my life back.
While I was there, walking on campus, worshipping in the church, and giving my testimony on the stage, I was reminded of many, many things that were placed in my heart-drawer that I hadn’t thought about in years. Visions, dreams, prophecies, and plans, that I’ve never let go of. And Those beautiful moments have remained in my heart because they were special to me AND because they were a gift – I had just buried them under a lot of things that don’t belong which caused me to forget they were ever there.
It’s unfortunately easy to forget what we don’t see, and that is why I think this quote is such a good reminder:
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful – William Norris
Take a look inside and evaluate what gets to stay and what needs to leave. Overhaul that heart of yours. Remove the ugly, keep the beautiful, and leave some room in there for what lies ahead. And Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky – Philippians 2:14-15 NIV