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Hebrews 12:1-2a 

 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

 

         For some reason lately, I’ve found myself on the A&E channel watching Hoarders. I know, I know… It’s like watching a train wreck and not being able to look away. You feel so sad for those people. There is something within them that is afraid to get rid of anything that has sentimental value. Or then there are the ones that have to keep everything ‘just in case’. And if you’re anything like me, you scream at the television, “Just get rid of it”. As a viewer, it’s so easy to see that once they get rid of all the junk, they will be free to move around, free to live in the today- not the past (memories) or the future (what if) but in the now! What is also interesting to me is that these people feel safe with all their stuff. For most of them, it’s all they’ve known for many years.

Here’s the Definition of hoarding: (Wikipedia)- “Compulsive hoarding (or pathological hoarding or disposophobia or the Messie mindset) is a mental disorder marked by an obsessive need to acquire (and failure to use or discard) a significant amount of possessions, even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary.” Compulsive hoarding causes significant clutter and impairment to basic living activities, including mobility, cooking, cleaning, showering, and sleeping.

I bet for most of you reading, you would say you are definitely not a hoarder. I will be the first to tell you I love to get rid of things. It is so freeing to purge, donate, and give away. The result is a cleaner, more organized space. It feels really good!

What about “spiritual hoarding”? Do you have some people in your past that have hurt you, and even though it doesn’t feel good, it feels very safe to hold on to that unforgiveness? What other emotions do you hold on to? Anger, resentment, or perhaps bitterness? Things didn’t go in life as you had expected them to. A friend has betrayed your trust. A loved one has hurt you. Your spouse has said some very hurtful things, and your still holding on to those.

Sometimes spiritual hoarding can cause impairment to basic Christian living activities such as getting close to people, getting plugged in to a small group, or even something simple like having people over for dinner. The fear of being vulnerable and getting hurt. The fear of being let down again. So what do we do? We hoard. We hold on to those emotions that stifle our Christian life.  I’m holding on to this anger about so and so just in case I might need it again. I’m holding on to unforgiveness towards so and so just in case I need to pull out my victim card. This way it’s safe. I don’t have to get close to any one, so I don’t have to risk getting hurt again. I’m keeping that.

But what if we were able to de-clutter our negative feelings and emotions? What if we could allow Jesus to deep clean, deep within us? What if we could confess our own unforgiveness toward someone and ask Jesus to pull up the big blue dump truck and haul it all away? What if God could bring in His crew of angels and start shoveling out all the junk lying on the floors of our heart?  You see, as long as your hoarding the pain of your past, it will ultimately pile up a lot of negative emotions. You just blow up in anger and then say, “Where did that come from?” You might feel just like those people on hoarders- hard to walk and maneuver in this life- hard to do basic things without feeling like something could fall on you at any time.

On the actual show they bring in a counselor- for spiritual hoarding that would be the Holy Spirit. They bring in a crew to help- God’s angels. They bring in Matt Paxton- Jesus (I know… it’s a stretch). They bring in family members- the church. And they bring in someone who specializes in that particular disorder- God. (Because really, God is all knowing, and since He made us, who better?)  And together, they throw down a tarp, and lay it all out there. The hoarder at this point must be vulnerable and lay all his/her stuff out there. It’s not pretty at first. But as you allow the Helpers to work together (God, His angels, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the church)- I guarantee you will begin to move around a little easier. You will begin to live in the here and now, you will begin to let go of the past, and you will begin to see past the clutter. Now that’s what I call freedom baby!

Lord, we all at some point in our lives have held on to those things that You have asked us to let go of. Baggage. Junk. Sometimes we don’t even realize it until something comes up and we spew out ugly emotions. Lord, would you show us what that thing is that we’re hoarding. Help us bring it before you and your team of experts. Fill up your heavenly dump truck. Take it away Lord. Help us to live out the freedom of an uncluttered heart and a clean life. No more spiritual hoarding Lord. I give it all to You. In your precious name we pray, amen!

We are not cisterns made for hoarding, we are channels made for sharing~ Billy Graham

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