closet

It’s time for some spring cleaning. I know.  You are thinking, “It’s still February.” Well, I live in Minnesota and would rather skip ahead to spring. It has been a long cold winter, and I’m ready to move on. Are you in that place?  Are you ready to move on?

My spring cleaning starts with closets. Yes, that picture is a closet in my house.  Shocking, I know.  It’s a little disorganized.  I bet if you took a minute, you could find an area in your life that’s a little disorganized.  Maybe it’s not physical clutter, maybe it’s emotional clutter. I’ve certainly had my share of emotional clutter to sort through. And, getting rid of emotional clutter feels much better than getting rid of physical clutter. When we get rid of negative memories, wounds, hurts we feel physically lighter. It’s like instantly losing weight.  Are you willing to try it?

I think a great way to get started is just like cleaning a closet.

  • Begin by taking out all of the “stuff.”  You have to unpack all of the memories. It is easy for them to get mixed together and misinterpreted. You don’t have to do your entire lifetime. Pick a small range of years.
  • Do some reminiscing as you sort through.
  • Put the good memories in a box and back in the closet-much like you would an old box of photographs.
  • Put the hurts, anger, fear, wounds etc in a garbage bag.  By that, I mean hand it over to God and tell Him you release this person, situation to His care. It is only bringing you continued pain. Invite the Holy Spirit to wash your heart clean.

The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.

28-29 Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. (Hebrews 12:27-29 MSG)

Some of us have piled up lots of garbage. Remember large, heavy wounds require help. They are too heavy to carry out by ourselves. This is a great place to seek trained counselors, pastors, family, small groups etc. to help you carry out the XXL garbage.

Garbage is exactly what it is. It weighs us down.  It clutters up our hearts. It gets in the way of our relationships. It prevents us from living our full potential. God promises to clean it out. It is His desire to set us free of all of our emotional garbage.

This spring I’m cleaning my heart from memories of anger-rage. It’s time for me to be done reacting like a wounded puppy every time I interact with someone else’s anger. It’s time for me to stop shutting down and retreating. Someone else’s confrontation or anger does not mean I’m wrong or worthless.

“Thank you Lord for your promise to set me free. I release these persons from the wounds they have brought in to my life. Please enter my heart and wipe it clean of all the hurt and misunderstanding of  anger-rage. Lord, replace it with Your Holy Spirit and allow me to share with others this freedom I have found in You.”

What emotional garbage are you putting in the trash to be burned? I would love to hear how it goes.  If you don’t know where to start, ask God.  He will show you.

 

doctors_pushing_gurney

Circumstance beyond my control

 Have you ever been faced with a situation where all you can do is go along for the ride-the circumstances are beyond your control? Things like disease, death, job loss, and accidents happen in life. They leave us devastated, overwhelmed and in a state of grief.

My first son was two weeks old when he stopped eating. By the time we arrived at the doctor’s, he could no longer cry. He just whimpered. I was a new mom and terrified. I knew something was wrong. I thought it was a virus. The doctor later told me that he knew my son was dying, but he didn’t know why. Within minutes an ambulance was ordered and my son was being intubated (put a tube in his airway to help him breathe).I called my husband and told him we were headed to Children’s Hospital. It was a whirlwind that still lives vividly in my mind.

Once at Children’s, we were whisked passed the emergency room and taken straight to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). They began running every test possible.

As a nursing mom, I needed to relieve some pressure. They have these comfortable, private rooms to pump breast milk and even freeze it for future use.  As I headed back to my son, my husband caught me in the hall. He said there was a cardiologist who wanted to talk to us. It was his heart. I wanted to collapse. My perfect little boy had a serious heart defect. We listened to the cardiologist explain the problems with his heart and the necessary bypass surgery they were going to perform within the next 24 hours.

The doctor left us to process and console.  Then Curt said, “I don’t know what I’m going to think of this God of yours if he doesn’t make it.” We all have those moments, don’t we? My response was a direct, quick prayer, “God, he has to be ok cuz I can’t lose him and my marriage.”

Then I heard Him audibly whisper in my right ear. I even turned my head as if someone was there. “You will be ok.” Notice, God didn’t promise my son or my marriage.  He promised me, my heart. I was going to be ok. Granted, I would have preferred to hear “everything or my son was going to be ok” but what I heard brought peace and strength to my entire being. It gave me confidence to stand strong in the face of fear. God promises to always be there with us.

Isaiah 41:13  For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

He stands with us when the circumstances are beyond our control. He never leaves us alone and He is not indifferent to our circumstances.

I was not alone that day or when it was time to clean my inner house of the burdens that day brought.  Questions like “Should I have done something differently during pregnancy? What did I do wrong? It has to be my fault.” haunted me. Have you ever asked yourself questions like this? God promised I would be ok-that promise was fuller and grander than I ever imagined. I wasn’t thinking beyond that day.

My son is now 13 and amazing, but the blame and shame from the circumstances beyond my control lingered until I invited God to cleanse me and wash me clean.

Hebrews 10:22 (NIV) 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

His promises are there for us to hold onto through difficult times.  They give us strength and they wash us clean.

What circumstances do you need to bring to God? What steps are you going to take to draw near to Him?

Tagged with:

mary:karen

Have you ever been asked to do something, said yes, and then within 10 seconds wondered why you said yes? This was one of those times.  My wonderful sister-in-law called and asked me to participate in a 5k with some obstacles.  She made it sound fun.  Then I looked at the website and questioned my sanity.  This was no ordinary 5K. It was the Warrior Dash and I had never run more than a mile-ever. So I recruited friends and family to join in the “fun.”  Misery loves company-right? My sister, several nieces, other family members and friends all said yes to the challenge.

This was going to encourage me to train. I set the goal of being able to run 3 miles before the race. I began increasing my workouts. April came and in Minnesota it means you can go outside again, so I went for my first official run. My expectations were not very high. I am not built for speed. I had my new running app and music loaded on my phone. Off I went. Much to my surprise I was able to run 2.5 miles without stopping. My training was working and my confidence was building. I have this. I can do this.

Then race day finally arrived. We had all decided we would go for it and see what happens.  Secretly, I wanted to beat my sister, but other than that I just wanted to finish.  We arrived and received our numbers and timing chips. At some point we got a look at the small mountain we had to run up at the start of the race. We were starting at the bottom of a very large ski slope. There went my confidence. I went straight into survival mode.

My friend Karen said she would run with me. We would stick together through the race. Now mind you, she is in much better shape than me.  I didn’t want to hold her back and I didn’t want to frustrate her with my lack of athletic ability.  She never left me.  I would tell her to go for it and that she didn’t have to wait for me.  She never gave up on me. There were many times I thought I was done and walking the rest of it.  Instead, because of her encouragement, I ran more than I thought I could, I succeeded at the obstacles and finished full of mud and proud of my accomplishment.  I was so grateful that she stuck with me.

We aren’t meant to do this life alone and yet so often that is what we do.

1 Thessalonians 5:11  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

A little encouragement goes a long way when the road is rough. We can do simple, little gestures that make a huge impact. Kathy, with Best Life Ministries, has a gift for sending notes of encouragement through email or Facebook that instantly lift my spirits. As we begin to clean our inner house, it can feel daunting and scary.  It’s much easier to take that first step when there is someone in our corner cheering us on. 

Let me encourage you: taking that first step will begin a life change. You will never regret it.    Imagine how free you will feel when anger has lifted, when you finally believe you are worth it, or when you forgive.  You are worth it. Take that step.

Let’s do what we can to encourage one another starting today, starting right here. What have others done for you that is encouraging?  How do you encourage others?

Oh, and by the way, I did beat my sister :0) 

 

cropped-IMG_0072_1.jpg

How do you know when God is telling you something? How do you know the direction you are heading is God’s plan for you? I have had several people ask about my snowy picture.  To be honest I love snow. The picture is from the woods across from our house where I go snowshoeing. What does this have to do with hearing God? Everything. I jokingly call it my schizophrenic prayer time.  Please excuse my political incorrectness, but spending time with God is the first tip. For me that usually involves an iPod, a journal, Bible, and movement like snowshoeing.  The most profound direction from God has come while snowshoeing, running or the elliptical. My mom said her favorite thing to do while doing dishes is talk to Jesus. She said I could talk to Him anytime, anywhere.  That was the best thing she ever taught me.  Figure out works best for you and do it-consistently. I have found the more time I spend with Him the familiar His voice and guidance have become.

The next two tips go together.  Does it line up with scripture and does it line up with God’s character? The fruits of the spirit are from scripture and show us God’s character. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV). This is just a starting place to check what we are hearing.

The fourth tip is to have good counsel.  People who are close to us can help encourage us or point out potential pitfalls.  We need people like this in our lives. The idea to write “Clean Your Inner House with God” came from such a prayer walk.  It was a rare Holy experience with God. The notion of writing a book scared me. It was way out of my comfort zone and it definitely wasn’t using my strengths. I continued to pray for words and guidance.  I consulted with close friends. I needed to hear people tell me that this was a good idea, and now the book will be available in May.  The whole experience has been a gift to my family and I. It’s worth listening-He has great plans for us. 

Bonus tip: Trust.  There have been many times when fear has slowed me to a halt and left me resisting God’s nudges.  Thankfully He has been patient and kept nudging.  The first nudge for this blog came over a year ago, but I’ll save that story for a later post.  I know this, when I trust and follow, it is better than anything I could do on my own-because He has great plans for us.

What are some of the ways you spend time with God? How do you know when He’s nudging you? Leave a comment.  I would love to hear about it and would love for us to learn from each other.

                               Remember: He has great plans for us.

IMG_0040

Why is it taking the first step is always the hardest? I recently had a day off and started contemplating what I was going to do with this newly found time.  It didn’t take long and I found myself creating a “to do” list. It looked like this:

-dishes   -laundry   -vacuum  -dust  -mop kitchen  -clean bathroom

I’m not sure what that says about me, or the state of my house, that my free time needs to be spent cleaning. I’ll save that for another blog.

Anyway, I woke up the next morning list in hand, only to find myself reluctant to get started. I was distracted by morning TV, email, Facebook, kids-you get the idea. The morning was slipping by and I started getting afraid I wouldn’t get anything done. The list was long and overwhelming and I couldn’t get started.

It’s the same when we clean our inner house. We look over our lives and overwhelmed by the “to do” list and do nothing. We feel the clutter in our hearts and we don’t know where to start.  We’ve been doing nothing all these years what’s one more day?  Right? No, it’s not right.  God wants to restore your heart now.  When our heart is restored so is our relationship with God, our spouse or significant other, family and friends. John the Baptist says in Matthew 3:

11-12 “I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama—compared to him I’m a mere stagehand—will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.” (MSG)

Who wants to wait when Jesus offers us so much. So instead of making a long list, pick one area, one relationship, one wound, one bad habit and begin cleaning there.

1) Start praying about it.

2) God will show you what to do-and if it makes you uncomfortable-you are probably on the right track. Forgive someone, forgive yourself, ask God to forgive you, begin to change a negative attitude or habit.

3) As you move through this ask God to clean your heart of all of the residue.

He will do it. I know it seems to easy. Start with baby steps. You will be amazed at how good you feel. Once you experience cleaning in one area, you will want more. Once I vacuumed the living room, I suddenly needed to dust because a clean house brings peace to my heart. Start small and feeling reluctant, overwhelmed or afraid will diminish.  God wants this for you.  So, what one area are you going to start cleaning?  Is there an area you are stuck in? Let’s work together to move forward.

IMG_0018

Welcome to “Clean Your Inner House” blog.  None of us get through this life without being wounded, myself included.  I don’t know about you, but I had become so accustomed to my brokenness interfering in my life that it felt normal.  I thought it was just “who I was,” my personality, my emotional pattern.  But feeling broken, wounded and worthless is not what God intends for us.  I would read scriptures like this one:

25-27 So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.

28-29 Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. (Hebrew 12:25-29 Msg).

I always believed God could do a thorough housecleaning for others just not for me.  Then He did it for me.  He set me free from the wounds of childhood sexual abuse.  All of it. There were parts of my life that I didn’t know were dirty until He cleaned them. The result has been greater intimacy with God and my spouse and a greater capacity to love others in my life.  I have no doubt that if He would do it for me – He will do it for you.

All that said, there are more areas of my life that need cleaning.  So I’m inviting you to join me in doing some inner house cleaning knowing that God is not an indifferent bystander.  He cares deeply about every aspect of your life.  Where has God been doing some cleaning in your inner house or where would you like to experience some cleaning?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Broken, Wounded, Worthless – No More

Broken, Wounded, Worthless – No More 

%d bloggers like this: