By: Ginger Hughes
Our entryway closet greets us as we walk in the door. It’s the perfect dropping off spot for coats, shoes, umbrellas, and book bags. As soon as we walk inside, we can hang jackets on the provided hangers, put shoes on the provided shelves, hang bags on the provided hooks, and place umbrellas in the provided cubbies. Except often we don’t—often this closet is a mess.
Some days as I open this closet, I take the time to straighten things up. Other days, I open the door, look with disdain at the mess, and shove the door firmly closed, hiding the mess from view. I don’t want others to see it, and I don’t really care to deal with it myself.
And like my closet, there are other things I often try to hide as well—things such as my heart. You see there are hurts there. There is fear and anxiety. Some days there may be bitterness or exhaustion. There are so many things—so many messy things. It’s worrisome and scary and so much easier to simply close the door or sweep it under the proverbial rug.
We tend to bury our brokenness down in the deepest recesses of our soul. We cover it up with a bright smile or a pleasing personality, a strong work ethic or a big bank account. We use so much energy trying to keep all of the brokenness behind closed doors where others can’t see and, even more, we often hope to ignore it ourselves.
But just as my closet has to be opened at times, so do our hearts. And once that door is cracked, all of the junk begins spilling out. All of the struggles we work so hard to conceal have a way of growing and multiplying when left unchecked, and as a result, they become harder to keep veiled.
The reality is this: the more I ignore my closet, the more the pile builds and the more the closet stinks. In like manner, the more we ignore our souls, the more worries fester, resentment builds, and burdens grow.
You know, sometimes I have to pull everything out of the closet, into the light, and start over. I have to dump it all out and begin fresh. When I do this, I often find some things I can throw away. I also find shoes and jackets that don’t fit anymore; these I can share with others. And of course, I find some things we can still use.
I only put back in what I know fits or helps us in some way. I work through the rest.
We need to do the same with our hearts. We need an honest evaluation, examining all the stuff inside even when it’s painful, even when it’s inconvenient. And we need God’s help to do this. Sometimes we hold onto things that are just junk. We need to recognize this, toss them out, and not allow them to take up space in our soul. Some things inside are so burdensome that we need to share them. We need to pull them out into the light and allow someone else to help us carry the weight. And some things we need to hold onto even if broken, because broken things, when healed, can indeed become beautiful.
My closet’s a mess today, but it doesn’t have to stay this way.
My heart may be a mess too, but it doesn’t have to stay this way either.
I can open the door and invite God in to take a look. I can ask Him to help me sort through all of the stuff, surrendering it all to Him, and trusting that He makes all things beautiful in His time.
It’s painful. It’s time-consuming. It’s hard.
But it is worth it.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
-Ginger Hughes is the wife of a pastor, a mother of two and an accountant. She is a Georgia native currently living in the foothills of North Carolina. Her passion for writing is fueled by the desire to offer encouragement, grace and a deeper understanding that we are all God’s children. Her blogging for Nurturing Faith is sponsored by a gift from First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Ga. Additional writings may be found at nomamasperfect.com.