Cleaning The Clutter Out
I have always read that when your surroundings are cluttered, it makes it harder to relax and thus makes your pain worse. This had a lot to do with son and I getting rid of so much stuff and going for simplicity in our home. When something does not have a place and I do not mean on top of the pile in the corner, but an actual place for it, then it is time to get rid of something. We make a policy if we find something at a yard sale or in a store, then we will get rid of something to get it. It truly does make it easier to have serenity in your life when your home is not cluttered. Guess that is why we do the spring cleaning each year…..to clean out the clutter. Chaos, which clutter is, only creates more chaos in our lives.
What about the clutter in our minds? Have you ever thought about all the things we carry around that we need to let go of? All the grievances we feel, all the anger and the hurts and the things we can do nothing about? Those things can create chaos in our lives and keep us from healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Those things can affect our health and our relationships if we do not do anything about them. Do you ever spring clean those things?
I read this true story about two sisters that had not spoken in fifty years because of a fight they had way back when they were young and they were about 75 in the present. The sad thing was that neither one could tell you what the fight was about. They just carried the anger all those years and lost precious time they could have spent together. And when I was reading the story, one of the sisters was very ill and so they had decided to meet. Sadly, they still could not put aside pride, anger, hurts and come together so they could have this last time together. People tried to help mediate for them but that anger that they had fueled over the years and kept alive kept them from forgiving and coming together.
I say all the time that I do not carry anger or hatred because they take too much energy. Even when I feel righteous indignation, I try to put it to use to try to fix whatever it is that I feel that about. But, I also learned that I can not fix everything and sitting and worrying and fretting about it are wasted energies too. For me personally as I am a person of faith, I learned to hand it over to the Lord. Now, yes, that sounds easier said than done. I had to learn and train myself how to do it. But, what is the use of going over and over something and worrying or being angry over something you can not fix? I have heard people say they never forgive but they want others to forgive them. The fruits of the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Forgiveness comes when you have that inside you.
I trained myself to hand things to God and quit taking them by back using a jar and slips of paper. When something came along that I knew I had no control over and should not have any control over like in my children’s lives, I asked God to take care of it. Every time I tried to take that back and tried to take care of it myself instead of letting God and those whose problem it was take care of it, I made myself stop and write it down on one of the slips of papers and then put it in the jar and ask God once again to take it. It is amazing how many times we can do that in a day. I remember having about fifty slips of paper with the same problem on it in the jar one time for one day. After a while, it became a habit to just give it to God and leave it there.
I forgive easily now. I learned a long time ago that forgiveness is mostly for me, so that I can move on in life and not carry anger or hurt around. I do not need to tell the person I forgave them. I am not forgiving them because they did nothing wrong or because they were right. I am forgiving them because it is the right thing to do instead of letting myself wallow in the anger and hurt that comes when someone hurts us. If a person asks me to forgive them, then I do. But, if they never ask, I found that feeling like we had to go tell someone we forgave them was not really part of forgiving. It was our way of putting one more jab on them for hurting us by bringing it up again to them. If they want forgiveness, they will come to us. And letting go after forgiving, I went back to the jar because it is amazing how many times we will bring it to our minds again and not let it go even though we “forgave” them. So, on that slip of paper it goes and in the jar until I can go through days without bringing it to mind and weighing me down.
It all goes back to choice and sometimes we have to train ourselves to live up to that choice. When something coming up medically that keeps me up at night, I make myself get up and do something nice for someone else. It takes my mind off of the upcoming medical or whatever and helps me to relax and go to sleep. And it comes down to trust. For me personally, I think that when we ask God to take care of something and then we keep taking it back and worrying and fretting about it and trying to fix it ourselves, we are insulting God and telling Him that we do not trust Him.
So, when we clean the clutter out of our homes, maybe we need to take the time to clean the clutter out of our heads and let go of that hurt, that hatred, that grief, that sorrow, and that anger and replace them with forgiveness and love. If we can not let God have them easily and keep taking them back, then it is time to get the jar out because after a while you will find it works because you get tired of writing down the same thing over and over and putting it in the jar. I have people who have hurt me dreadfully and I forgave them. Now, I try to focus on the good qualities they have instead of on what they did to hurt me. It is all a choice.
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