You know that project you have that is nagging at you to get done, but you put it off and put it off until you simply cannot think of anther excuse? Such has been the on-going saga of my master closet. I had a system — or so I thought. Clothes were cycled through according to long sleeves or short, business or leisure, work-out, fun, everyday…. Who am I kidding? It was a mess.
I’ve heard so many tidbits about closets and how cleaning them out is therapeutic. There is even a TED talk on the subject. I once heard it quoted from a book about happiness, that cleaning your closet is one of the best places to start in finding it. Really? Something so mundane as that? But then, the more I thought about it, I started to see the point: There is something freeing about letting go of things that no longer fit, serve, or compliment us.
If you’ve not guessed before now, I am perhaps overly sentimental. I think that is why it takes me a bit to let go of things. I knew I needed a big purge. I knew that the nearly dozen old purses, that were no longer my style, were taking up space. I knew that I needed to zip up the dresses that once flattered a more slender version of me, and make the big haul to Good Will. Old robes that I wore when I used to rock my babies, comfy sweaters that had lost their shape, a pair of my son’s first suit pants… All had memories attached to them, and yet I knew the time had come.
And so it goes.
There is, of course, always a much larger story than the one we share. It’s not just about the organizing and cleaning. It’s not about new paint or better ways to sort our whatnots. It’s not even about the letting go of things that we hold too long. Perhaps, for me at least, it’s admitting that we are stuck sometimes, trying to cram new things in among the old to the point we cannot figure out which end is up.
With this in mind, I decided to go for broke. I was bound and determined to be bold. I would not just clean out the closet, but completely dismantle the shelving, the rods, the hangers of things that are no longer needed, and start from scratch. In one afternoon, I pulled and piled and bagged and stored. I took my trusty hammer, drill, and screw driver, and took it all down. Joanna Gaines would be proud of me.
I needed to do this, not just to free the space inside my closet, but for the space inside of me.
When the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land, there was still plenty of work ahead of them. They had to conquer. They had to stop being wanderers, and become warriors. They had land to clear, courage to find, and victories to meet. They had to walk out their faith. Everything about them needed to be different. Imagine if they had to do all that while dragging trunks and bins filled with what they had accumulated after forty years in the desert? God was doing a new thing in their lives. They had to leave the rest behind.
And so it with us.
I am learning that to embrace what is coming, my arms — my heart — must be emptied so that I can be nimble and ready and open. This is not an easy thing for us who’ve weathered life through seasons we would have avoided if we could. There are times we all have where, in order to survive, we stuff ourselves into dark places and call it functional. We cover up and carry on so that — as long as no one opens the door to those spaces within us — we can muddle through all bright and cheery.
But when the need to do better, to let go, to purge the “stuff” we carry that is heavy overwhelms us, we can take action. We find the strength to unchain what keeps us bound to the “clutter,” and we finally make a healthy change to clean it out. God is in the awakening.
It’s too early to know what the effects will be once my new closet project is complete. I am something of a weekend warrior, a DIY gal, who’s learning as I go how to level things, and patch up holes, and paint in straight lines. I don’t know yet if the “happiness” needle will move just because my master closet will be super organized and brighter. I just know that the progress feels good.
God’s wants for us to make room for what’s ahead. He wants us refreshed in the knowing that He has plans for us, filled with new things that fit our lives in all the ways He is transforming us. In order to reach Jericho, we have to act. We have to walk around the walls and blow the trumpets and shout until they come down, so that we can step over the threshold into what awaits us.
There is always rubble in the demolition. But cleaning it up revives us in countless ways and breathes new life, new possibilities, new freedom.
I will keep you posted on my progress, and I welcome your thoughts and comments of your own.
In the meantime, know that God is always in our restorations. We need to renovate our thoughts, our minds, our spirits — and yes, even our closets — to be in alignment with Him.
Hang in there, baby. You are not alone.