clearing the clutter/ cleaning out closets; could this be a metaphor for something else in our lives? Could it be our calendars that need clearing and our hearts that need cleaning? Seems like we focus more on the first of these tasks than we do on the second, to the detriment of the second, I might add. In our culture we are often burdened by our accumulation of “stuff” all while we continue to add more to what we already have. For myself, I know this can be true. Give me a clear surface in my home and I will clutter it, an empty drawer and I will fill it as I will any extra closet space. And somehow I manage to do this without going out and buying more stuff, I apparently already have enough stuff to fill every nook and cranny, every drawer and closet available.
Blessing or burden? Maybe the line is fine between the two. One minute we’re feeling blessed by our abundance, the next we’re feeling the weight of the burden that our possessions have become. Consider this, there’s actually a store called “The Container Store”. That’s right, we need to buy things to put all our things in. If you had any doubts about our over abundance, just note the proliferation of self storage units, they are everywhere. Here our unused possessions have shelter (often climate controlled and safety patrolled) while a world away actual people are without reliable shelter and safety.
” . . . let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1) I can’t read these words without hearing the “Chariots of Fire” music playing in my head as I picture people running and discarding things as they go, letting go of the things they carry in their arms and on their backs, until they are finally free of all those things that weighed them down, and they run effortlessly, unencumbered toward the goal. A goal which is unseen at the moment, but of such great value that everything they have discarded along the way is of no consequence to them. They are pursuing the pearl of great price and they are willing to pay that price. And so they run.
So I must ask myself, what is hindering me? what sin entangles me? what am I hanging onto that I need to let go of if I am to run this race of life in Christ with dedication and perseverance? “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” (1 Peter 2:1) Wow! those are heavy burdens for my heart to carry while running the race of life. No wonder I get tired. If I could let go of those my load would most certainly be lighter. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice . Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31) More heart stuff to let go of to lighten my load and something to strengthen my heart for the rigors of the race; kindness, compassion and forgiveness.
Maybe my burden is unnecessarily heavy because of the weights my heart carries rather than because of the objects my arms carry. How often do I hear the expression, “with a heavy heart”? What do I need to be casting off? “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Cor. 13:3) Clearly, I can clean up my physical clutter but unless I allow my Creator to clean out my heart, I will still be running this race burdened and entangled by my own sin. He’s the only One who can clean my heart because He’s the Maker of my heart.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) That is my prayer, if I am to run this race well. “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, . . . ” (Philippians 3:8-9)
So for now, I will continue to run, casting off what I can, both tangible and intangible as I go. My load should be lighter if I continue, as God enables me, to cast off what hinders and entangles me as I run. By God’s grace, when I get to the finish line, I will be running free and unencumbered. So I will “fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
this post inspired by Kristi Jo, my friend and sister, who runs this race beside me (as do so many others) we want to be women who finish well
sincerely, Grace Day