Organizing and decluttering our homes has become popular of late. Experts suggest if something does not bring us joy, we should toss it or donate it. We are encouraged to surround ourselves only with things we love. Unfortunately, it is not always an easy task to give up those things we have become attached to.
In early 2021, God taught me a lesson on the value of clearing out clutter. A winter storm brought heavy rains and howling winds to San Diego. Trees were uprooted and power lines were downed. Winter had arrived with a show of force. As I looked out the front window of my apartment, two tall pine trees were swaying and shaking due to the strength of the winds. It was a bit unsettling, and I prayed they were rooted deeply enough to not be blown over. When I opened the blinds the next morning, they had survived the storm, but I was startled by what I saw. The storm had cleared all the debris from those trees and as such, the ground, the street and the cars parked by the curb were buried in dead pine needles. The trees stood tall and bright green against the clear blue sky.
Unburdened of the weight of the dead needles, the healthy branches of those trees were now able to soak up the sun and continue their growth. An interesting metaphor for our lives.
Clearing out junk in our hearts
I live a small apartment so keeping clutter at bay is an ongoing task. Piles of stuff laying around make me “twitchy.” Rearranging my kitchen drawers was on my recent to-do list and that task included my “junk drawer.” You know which one I mean…the one filled with all those things we just cannot seem to throw away, but never use.
As I tackled this task, I sensed a tugging on my heart and a whisper from God that seemed to say “What about the junk drawer of your heart? What clutter might you find in there?”
What habits and thoughts that are not God honoring had I kept hidden from others? If I opened that drawer, what would I find? Jealousy…envy…anger…pride…stubbornness?
Thinking back to that winter storm, I recalled the words of Psalm 51, particularly verse 10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.” These words are ones of lament and of confession. King David had been confronted by the prophet Nathan regarding his sin with Bathsheba, and he went to the Lord humbly asking for forgiveness and release from his guilt. He wanted God to cleanse his heart and to instill a new spirit within him.
The storms that blow through our lives have a purpose. Maybe they come to clear the debris that is cluttering our lives and to provide us with an opportunity for growth. Just as we clear our homes of the clutter of day-to-day living, so should we ask God, as David did, to clear the clutter of sin from within our hearts.
I invite you to click here to enjoy the song “Create in Me” sung by Keith Green