Recently I helped someone move. I thought that I would only have to show up and help move boxes that were already packed. The reality was entirely different. We arrived to find piles of household items around the perimeter of every room amidst the furniture. Only a handful of boxes were packed. Not to mention the closets and bathrooms were completely untouched. It was overwhelming, and it needed to be moved within a few hours.
Then I ventured upstairs to the Master Bedroom. Here, the closet was overflowing into the middle of the room where the bed was before. Piles of blankets, clothes, school supplies, books, cassette tapes, decorations – 4 feet high and 3-6 feet wide were stacked around the perimeter of the room in a pitifully failed attempt to organize before the move. I was armed with bags and boxes, but I didn’t know where to begin. For a few minutes I just sort of stood in the center of the room, dumbfounded, picking things up and aimlessly sorting through them. I was on sensory overload.
However, I was rescued. A girl friend was there to help, while the guys were ready to haul boxes and bags to the waiting trailer. She entered the room, grabbed a bag and started emptying the closet into it, with no rhyme or reason. No matter what – it was getting out of the room. I watched her for a moment before I opened a bag and started stuffing bedding into it until it was full. That was all it took for me to gain the motivation and momentum I needed. As long as she was moving, so was I. There was no time to stand there gaping at all of the stuff we were packing up. I had a singular thought - Move. Open another box, stuff another bag, just get it out of there. We talked, laughed, and she even sang as we worked. A constant stream of men were tromping up the stairs with empty arms, ready to haul each bag or box we crammed full. Steadily, the room began to empty out. We were finished in under an hour, and had fun doing it.
We moved on to tackle the closets, bathrooms, and kitchen. I had a rhythm now and was fine working alone. With all the help, the apartment was emptied in about 3 hours. It was a sizable accomplishment that left me feeling satisfied over the work.
It occurred to me that I’m approaching my mind and heart the same way I did that bedroom. It’s been so long since I’ve gone in and unpacked the things crammed in there. Writing typically gives me the outlet I need to go in, sort through things, make sense of them and come out with a clean slate. Whether it’s through an email, blog post, or in my journal. As long as I did it regularly it wouldn’t become overwhelming. But lately, I’m overwhelmed. It’s been a few months since I’ve written much of anything. I think I’m a little afraid of what might come out of me, because I know that once I’ve written something down, it suddenly becomes much easier to say. With words. And who knows what could come out of my mouth, what sort of things I could find myself admitting.
God has blessed me with some amazing friends. Sisters that are willing to dive into the chaos with me, help me dig around, and start to find some order in all of this. One friend recently challenged me to get to the bottom of things and clean everything out. I needed the motivation that came from seeing her perspective. And so I’m going in armed to clean everything out, to empty this chamber of my heart that I’ve left too long untouched. I’m ready to break up – forever – this pattern of walking in, looking around, feeling overwhelmed, and walking out, trying to forget it’s there. This passage from today’s My Utmost for His Highest spoke so clearly to me:
“How often have you come to God with your requests and gone away with the feeling – ‘Oh well, I’ve done it this time!’ And yet you go away with nothing, whilst all the time God has stood with outstretched hands not only to take you, but for you to take Him. Think of the invincible, unconquerable, unwearying patience of Jesus, saying, ‘Come unto Me.’ “
I’m not through yet. I’ve hardly started. But it’s going to get done, even if I have to throw everything out at once. I am so grateful that my God is so patient with me.