Getting rid of all the things

The good news: we sold our house, just in the nick of time to go forward with the purchase of our new house. The bad news: we have two weeks to get everything packed and ready to move. And I have limited time to be present in this process, because my new ministry is two hours away from this house that needs to be … purged.garagesalesign

I tried to find a better word, because purge always brings eating disorders to my mind, and this process – unlike eating disorders – is a healthy one. It’s a chance to clear out all the stuff that no longer has a place in our lives, the clutter that has accumulated over the years, the things that get in our way and distract our thinking.

Clutter makes me uneasy, guilty that I’m not doing something about it but not guilty enough to clear it out of my life. When I have no choice but to dig in and “get rid of all the things,” I’m always surprised by the sense of calm that comes with an uncluttered home. The nagging guilt goes away, and I can sit in peace, enjoying the space that is now empty and clean.

But beware the warning Jesus gave about the demons coming back (Matthew 12:43-45). Cleaning out the clutter is not enough; that empty space needs to be claimed before it becomes seven times more cluttered than it was before. Once the house is clean, the boxes labeled, and the moving truck is pulling away, it’s time to hand over the keys to the new owner.

sold house keysPurging a house of accumulated things is similar to the purging of our souls as we prepare for God to move in us. Handing over the keys (the control) of our lives to Jesus, we need to really let him take over ownership of all that we are.  Releasing our lives into God’s control ensures that the cleared spaces stay open, giving room to the Holy Spirit to work in us, transforming us into the people we were always meant to be.

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