Maybe it's time to do some closet cleaning - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Maybe it's time to do some closet cleaning

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Posted: Monday, June 18, 2007 11:00 pm | Updated: 4:24 pm, Mon Oct 29, 2012.

I had an exciting day last week. Well, maybe exciting is too strong of a word. I was able to spend an entire afternoon thoroughly cleaning out a closet in our laundry room. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but speaking as a reformed packrat, it was major! Perhaps it is the teacher in me that often thinks we might find a use for something one day. Yet it felt so good to get rid of stuff that I have been hanging onto indefinitely. I happened to be the only one at home so, fortunately, there was no one around to trash-pick things I had tossed or convince me we had to keep something around for just a little longer. I get such a sense of accomplishment when cleaning out a closet. What a great time to purge the clutter, dust the shelves and take stock of what is there. I discovered all kinds of things hiding on the shelves. Some things were fun to find, like old family photos and craft projects the kids have made over the years. OK, I admit it; I needed an entire afternoon because cleaning this closet was like taking a walk down nostalgia lane! Some of the things I found were just plain junk that needed to be tossed out - broken or ripped or duplicates of a similar item. Ever the one to make analogies, I decided a closet could be compared to one's life. Is there anything hiding in your closet that needs to be cleaned up? Is there guilt and shame stuffed into a corner? God is waiting to forgive if we just ask Him. Can you remember angry words spoken in haste? Is there a misunderstanding that you realized later but have never talked about with the other person involved, hoping it will just disappear? Are there times when things do not go the way you expected so you hang onto resentment and disappointment? Maybe it's time to do some closet cleaning. What else is piled onto those shelves? Is there something else that needs to be given up or tossed out? I know a family that has been holding onto a grudge for many years. There was a disagreement when the parents got divorced and it caused a family split. This has been going on for so long that some of the grandchildren probably don't know why they are only allowed to acknowledge certain aunts and cousins but not the others. Ephesians 4:31 directs us to "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." Are we willing to forgive another's offense or is it easier to cram the whole thing in the closet for now? Be careful - it may fall out and knock you on the head one day. Maybe there is nothing "bad" hiding in your closet, just too much stuff. We can "stuff" our lives so full of programs and activities leaving little time for anything else, when what we really need is more of God. In John 15:1-2, Jesus says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." That word "prunes" can also be translated as "cleans." I love that the Lord cleans, prunes and helps us get rid of the junk so that we will be even more fruitful for Him. We do our part and He does His. Sometimes the very human side of me wants to hang onto being "right" instead of just desiring to be more like Jesus. It can be so hard to let go and I need to ask Him for help. Then He reaches up to those high shelves that I struggle to reach and cleans out the rest. It's an ongoing process. Is it time for you to do a little closet cleaning with your life this week? We can all use a bulk trash pick-up every now and then. Hurry! I think I hear the truck coming. Ahwatukee Foothills resident Lisa Jisa is a member of the Foothills Baptist Church, where she is active in the choir and mission work. She can be reached at bltm@qwest.net.

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