Friday, September 19, 2014

When Life is a Mess

My friend Christi has been doing some extreme cleaning lately. Both of her parents have passed away, her father most recently, and she’s been charged with cleaning out the home they lived in for decades. The challenge is that both of them were hoarders; they simply could not throw anything away. Surrounded by massive clutter—with ceiling-high piles, papers, and multiples of items saved over a forty-year span—Christi feels overwhelmed.
She wonders, “How will I ever get this mess cleaned up?”
There are all kinds of messes in life: physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial. And there are different levels of messiness too, from untidiness to totally chaotic to somewhere in between.
I didn’t know much about getting organized until well into my twenties. When one of my roommates asked me why I stuffed all my papers and bills into a small nightstand, I was at a loss. I didn’t have a clue what to do with them, so I just kept stuffing until the nightstand was overflowing.
Thankfully, Marion was kind enough to tell me about file folders and how to use them. She gathered a pile of manila folders and a marker and told me to label each one, insert the corresponding papers, and put them in alphabetical order.
It all seemed so easy for her, but as a young woman, it was as foreign to me as boarding a train in Borneo and not knowing the language. Her organizing help changed my life. Once I removed the physical clutter in my room, I felt lighter inside and more at peace.
It was liberating.
Like stuffing papers in a nightstand, sometimes we stuff our emotional junk and create a heart mess. We hold in massive amounts of pain or rage until one day the emotions leak out, often at inappropriate times.
Life can be messy and often complicated. I get it. Your life may be more disorder than disaster. Your dining room table is piled high with papers and you scurry to hide them when company comes. Or, you’re running from meeting to meeting, airport to airport, and never seem to have time to organize a “real life.” Maybe you are one of those people who have a spotless home—a veritable showroom with things perfectly in place—but the one thing that matters most is askew?
Your heart.
Littered with garbage from the past or daily stresses, your inner life has been neglected. Maybe it’s time to clear away some anger or finally forgive someone. Your heart needs to be cleansed, healed, and filled on a daily basis. And you can do that every day—every moment—when you come to God in prayer. 

Prayer changes things. It changes us. It is a line of communication to God that is always open and He invites you to come and call any time.  

God can help you to:
                order your heart to make room for God;

order your emotions and clear out lingering anger, bitterness, and pride to increase your joy and contentment;

order your thoughts and get rid of mental clutter so you can focus on your priorities—like getting in shape or spending your time and money more effectively;

order your home so you can find the things you need and have more freedom and peace. 

PRAYER: “Lord, so many things clamor for my attention in life. Often, I feel pulled in a hundred different directions. How can I get it all done? Please help me to remember to put You first, to choose You, God, as my first priority, and know that from that everything else flows. I love you first. And, I ask You to direct my footsteps. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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