Decorating the sanctuary for Christmas 2017.
The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go
Recently a friend taught me a small trick to letting go of unneeded clothing. “At the beginning of every year,” she instructed, “face all your hanging clothes in your closet with the hangers faced towards you.” “Then,” she continued, “when you wear something turn the hanger back around the normal way. By the end of the year, take a look at the hangers you’ve never turned around. And if you haven’t worn those items, after a whole year, you probably aren’t going to wear them anytime soon. So…you can let them go. Donate them to a clothing closet or give them to a friend.”
I tried this little life hack and recently cleaned out my closet. I found myself hesitating at first when I was about to throw a shirt or two into the donate pile. Would I miss it? Should I hold on to it just in case the occasion arose to wear it? Then I realized what an abundance of clothing still remained, staring me in the face. “It’s okay to let go of this,” I thought, “I’ve got more than enough.” This mind shift created a snow ball effect and soon I had two large garbage bags filled with gently used t-shirts, sweatshirts, and pants. After dropping the garbage bags off for the local domestic abuse shelter I found myself actually feeling lighter. My soul was grateful to have…less. When I next looked at my closet, feelings of release and freedom seemed to flood over me…God seemed to fill me with inner peace.
My de cluttering of clothing experience caused me to think about other aspects of my life and I wondered…what else is there that I need to let go of? I came up with a surprisingly lengthy list:
Could I let go of…
· The bitter feelings I have towards a friend for a grievance from long ago.
· The anxiety of the unknown aspects of the future
· The need to feel control over certain situations
· The urge to consume (especially during the approaching holiday season)
· Pain from the past
· The desire for perfection
· The pressure to not make mistakes
· My cell phone (and all the distractions it brings!)
The list could go on and on. It’s a longer list than I dare to admit. There are a lot of things that I could let go of from my life’s closet of clutter. But I need help in letting things go. I need God’s help, because I can’t do it on my own.
Psalm 46 reminds us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” God is there for us when we need help letting things go, forgiving ourselves or others, and giving up the pains of the past. God is there when we are hesitating about whether or not to hang on to feelings or frustrations and whispers to us “Just let it go…and I will bring you peace…and…release.” God is there with us as we release old expectations and as the leaves of “that’s how we’ve always done it” slowly fall to the forest floor. The Lords of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. (Psalm 46:7)
O God, you release the captives and free us from what binds us. Help us let go of what clings to us. Free us from the thoughts that make us hesitate in the de-cluttering of our lives. Gift us with your inner peace that provides true satisfaction and joy. Amen.
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