Purging a closet, much less a room, can feel overwhelming. When we do the work, a room is opened up, and so is something inside us. But what things do we need to purge from our internal closets? What do we do when our hearts and minds need renewing? Last week, I shared a few thoughts on our schedules, forgiveness, and fear.
But what else sits on the shelves of our closets? Here are a couple I’ve worked on purging from my heart.
Two Areas We Can Purge:
Recently, I’ve been slapped with some big-for-me disappointments. These will always be something we navigate this side of heaven. We need to give ourselves permission to feel the accompanying emotions and to acknowledge the disappointment. But, we mustn’t get stuck in that place.
One of my barriers to working through disappointment is the tendency to blame myself. I focus on the things I did wrong that must have led to the disappointing outcome. In those times, I need to re-direct my thoughts to God’s truth.
I’m learning to embrace the reality that God’s plan and His timing are always better than mine. When I lean into and rest in this truth, I’m better able to work through the feelings and realign my heart with God’s. This also helps me accept the grace God always offers.
Regrets are difficult because sometimes, we can’t change terrible actions and choices from the past. There’s no way to right the wrongs we’ve created.
We begin working through our regrets by acknowledging them to God.
Asking for His forgiveness is also important.
And we must also forgive ourselves. I know, that’s sometimes the hardest part.
God assures us if we ask for His forgiveness, He’ll give it. Who are we to not forgive ourselves? To not accept the forgiveness God extends is to tell Him we think we are God.
We can’t change the past. And making things right with those we’ve hurt isn’t always possible. But, we can ask God for help to move forward. It takes time to work through the emotions connected with regret.
To admit how far short we fell.
And bring it all before our Father.
To accept God’s forgiveness.
We must give ourselves permission to process through all of this. I find journaling helpful when I’m sorting through deep heart issues.
God has offered us His grace. Will we walk in it? Because accepting God’s grace is the key to moving beyond regret.
What’s the Truth?
Sometimes we become so comfortable with our “stuff” we don’t see it for the clutter it is. We don’t realize how much it drains us because we’re so used to how it makes us feel. We believe it’s just a part of who we are.
Truth is, God didn’t create us to live with these items in our internal closets. They’ve taken up residence, but that doesn’t mean we should allow them to remain.
To purge within ourselves—and create breathing space for our spirit—we must do the necessary work when our hearts and minds need renewing.
Too much busy-ness, unforgiveness, wounds, fear, disappointments, regrets . . . these all hog space on our shelves that God ordained for better purposes.
He wants to fill us with His love so we can pour that out into others’ lives. So we can live in the freedom He offers.
When we keep these items at the forefront of our thoughts, our decision-making will be based on what’s in our closets, so to speak.
When we clear out the clutter, we open up our shelves to hold better things, like joy, peace, and freedom.
When we have space on our shelves—in our hearts—for the things of God there’s a natural breathing space that opens wide. We experience His joy because we’re not cluttered with other stuff that prevents us from living in joy.
I’m not gonna lie. It’s not easy. Purging our insides is hard, humbling work. It’ll require spending time with the Lord, confessing things, laying ourselves bare before Him.
The good news is He’s the absolutely safest Person we can do this with. And, He’s the Healer. When we ask, God helps us remove the clutter, the dirt, the litter, from inside us, and into the eternal trash can.
When we’re willing to deal with the things that weigh our spirits down, God opens up a lightness within us. He fills it with His peace and teaches us how to breathe deep and free.
What about you? What scares you about purging your internal clutter? When you’ve dealt with one of the areas I mentioned, what was the result?
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There is SO MUCH important truth here, Jeanne! I love this: “Sometimes we become so comfortable with our ‘stuff’ we don’t see it for the clutter it is.” We think it defines us, but it doesn’t. Amen, amen. I needed to read this today!
Jessica, thank you for your kind words. I know I’ve become too comfortable with junk in my heart rather than seeing it for what it is: clutter that I allow to define me. I’m glad this encouraged you.
I love how you are taking this series about decluttering beyond our closets. Disappointments and regrets take up a lot of heart space that leaves little room for God if we don’t purge them. Purging is hard work, but necessary work. Thank you for your perspective and this series.
Thanks, Mary. I am sharing the journey God has taken me on when it comes to stuff. 😉 I’m glad it’s encouraging others.
“The good news is He’s the absolutely safest Person we can do this with”. Thank God for God! We can trust that His love is unconditional despite the crud that may come out of our internal closets.
Hello Wemi! I agree, thank God for God! Knowing His character and His love are unchanging is transformational when we trust Him with all our stuff. Thanks for visiting!
When I deep clean, it always gets uglier before it gets prettier! You give us such good wisdom here – I especially needed this: “I focus on the things I did wrong that must have led to the disappointing outcome.” – I struggle with what I perceive as fails – and need to stop dredging them up to beat myself over the head with! God’s already told me to let it go, to throw it out, it’s junk – but it keeps trying to drag itself back in! I needed this reminder that I need to let God help me stop that!
I agree, Maryleigh! Deep cleaning does lead to the ugly making an appearance before the beauty . . . in life too, usually. We women are so good at beating ourselves up over things that are not “BIG” in the big scheme of things. I love that God’s told you to let them go. I have to make that same choice, oftentimes, over and over again. Thanks so much for sharing about your struggle. I appreciate you stopping by!
There has been much lately (in my little word) about bitterness. It seems to pop up everywhere. And bitterness that comes from when we refuse to forgive – and it cankers us. I usually think “I’m doing okay” in this area. But then it comes to forgiving myself – and well that is somewhere I don’t want to go. (Like that “one room” you don’t want to even bother to purge or declutter!) Regret….leads to the challenge to forgive…which only leads to bitterness. Such a sad, unhealthy and unglorifying way to live. You nailed it. Regret needs to be purged!! Such a great post! Thanks for sharing – and sorry for extra disappointments of late:(
Jennifer, I’m sorry you have reasons for bitterness. This is a pernicious resident in our hearts. I’ve (probably not surprisingly) also had to deal with it. Thank goodness our Father is gracious when we’re willing to let Him begin the work. Thanks for your sympathy about the extra disappointments. We all face them, don’t we? They give us one more reason to run back to our Father. Sending you a hug, friend.
There is no time for vain regret,
nor disappointment that will bow
my head, but for God’s sake get
me out of here right now!
I am caught in cancer’s gyre,
and I will not be well;
I am now consumed in fire,
and this is truly hell.
Will not some strong arm rescue me,
will not my cries be heard?
Am I thus to really be
abandoned by the Word?
Or can this be some dull mistake,
and God is just on coffee break?
Ahhhh, my friend. I wish I had the words to make everything better. I know you know God, you know His character, even when it doesn’t seem like He’s being true to it. I am praying for you as you walk this hard, hard road. I so appreciate your raw honesty here. Sending you a gentle hug and lots of prayers.
This is so powerful, Jeanne. So true. I have a hard time with blaming myself, too. I so need daily decluttering as I tend to put the clutter right back on the shelf… I am trying to show myself more compassion as Jesus does to us. I love this truth so much – “The good news is He’s the absolutely safest Person we can do this with. And, He’s the Healer. When we ask, God helps us remove the clutter, the dirt, the litter, from inside us, and into the eternal trash can.” Amen! Thank you for this needed and encouraging message! And thank you for the photos that breathe hope into my heart, too. Love and blessings to you!
Trudy, I’m so glad these words encouraged you. I’m thankful our Father is FOR us, and that He wants to bring healing to our hearts and minds. May you be intentional in dealing with that clutter that wants to keep coming back! It’s a daily discipline, isn’t it? Thank you for your friendship! Love and blessings back!
Of course I love the idea of breathing spaces for our spirit! I too, blame myself when outcomes are not what I wanted or expected. Although I know I can always learn to do better, blaming and shaming is never good for our heart and soul. Just have to say, I do love the fall pictures too. It is my favourite season and makes me want to go out for a walk on paths lines with trees with leaves that are turning fall colours. Beautiful!
Lynn, I’m sorry you fall into that same mindset when things don’t turn out as we’d hoped. It takes intentional effort to not blame or shame ourselves, doesn’t it? I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I LOVE fall colors (and pretty much everything about this season!). I hope you get to enjoy one of those walks soon, and that we’ll see your stunning photos!
Jeanne, this is such good insight: “To purge within ourselves—and create breathing space for our spirit—we must do the necessary work when our hearts and minds need renewing.”
Most of us know how overwhelming it is to purge a closet. Yet, when the work is finished I always stand back and admire my labor. And I enjoy the added space. So this analogy to internal closets is brilliant! We clutter our lives and spirits with too many things of the past and presnt like disappointments and regrets. Then there’s no space for the good things God has for us!
Karen, thanks for your encouraging words! I’m with you, when a closet or a room is purged, man does that feel good! May we be intentional to look in our heart-closets and see what in there needs to be decluttered so that we can enjoy the good things God has for us!