As the Christmas decorations went back into the storage closet, I made my annual pledge. Yep, this mess will get cleaned up before next December. But when I shut the door, that thought must have found it’s way to one of the shelves because I never thought about the mess again. That is, until one day…
The sound of the big crash sent me on a hunt through the house to see if something had fallen off a wall. Or maybe it was that dove that kept flying into the window? Oh, please, don’t let it be squirrels having a party up in the attic (again).
Walking from room to room, I found no clues. No clues until I walked into the spare bedroom with that fabulous storage closet.
The closet filled with plastic storage totes.
Storage totes filled with Christmas decorations, decades of pictures and memorabilia.
That mess I pledged to clean up last January. And the January before that. And all the other Januarys.
Three plastic bins of “stuff” had toppled out of the closet. Apparently the contents had shifted just enough to the front in each one that all three tilted forward, pressed up against the door and finally busted through. At least the Christmas decorations were still nestled safely inside.
Finding those opened plastic totes on the floor, with the contents sprawled all over the place, got my attention.
Was the Holy Spirit telling me that it was time?
Procrastination is described as “the act of willfully delaying the doing of something that should be done.” While the word isn’t specifically mentioned in Scripture, a similar definition of “sin” is found in James 4:17:
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.
I shared with some friends the incident of the three totes and my concern with procrastination—the tendency to put off doing what should be done.
That same afternoon, the nudging of the Holy Spirit couldn’t be ignored. Overwhelmed with the urge to pick up my own daily devotional, Dancing in the Drought (published several years ago), I automatically flipped to the one for that day, March 6th.
The Scripture reading for the devotion just happened to be the same one referenced above from James 4:17. A devotion already written about procrastination!
As I pondered the significance of the toppled totes and the devotion on procrastination, the Holy Spirit placed another nugget in front of me:
“Sometimes it’s my heart, not my home, that needs to be decluttered.”
Honestly, I had no idea who deserved the credit for those words. I saw them somewhere on my computer and wrote them on a sticky note. For the weeks that followed I looked at that sticky note daily, allowing the reality of those words to sink in.
Cleaning out my closet isn’t going to make God love me any more than He already does. But how can I love the Lord my God with all my heart (Matthew 22:37) when it’s filled with clutter?
A heart filled with anxious thoughts. Selfish motives and desires. A complacency for the status quo, instead of a passion to be filled to the overflow with the promises of the King of kings.
Knowing I need to rid my heart of self, and just not doing it!
Psalm 139 is one of my favorites, and I have prayed verses 23-24 daily for years:
Search me, God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
When one prays according to God’s will, one must be ready to receive answers. The Holy Spirit was lovingly leading me. Convicting me. It’s time! No more putting off clearing out the heart clutter.
A heart yearning to love God above all else, but needing to be emptied of self first.
Every day an intentional choice must be made to shift my perspective off of me and place my eyes on the Lord. That’s why Jesus commanded:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
I had become complacent in my life. Lost some of my passion for God. And certainly wasn’t taking up my cross daily.
There were some anxious thoughts and selfish desires that needed to be surrendered to the Lord. No more procrastination. Because nothing but the blood of Jesus could clean out the clutter in my heart.