Out With the Old, In With the New
Today I took the time to have a day comprised of absolutely whatever my heart desired. I’ve been on the go so much physically and mentally that my body was begging for a chance to unwind. I’m an introvert so after spending time with people on any level, I usually feel the need to get back to myself and recharge. My self-care agenda was unplanned and resulted in me washing my hair, washing clothes, cooking a nice meal, fixing myself an adult beverage, binge-watching Jane the Virgin, and cleaning out my closet. The latter may not seem like self-care, but it was that and so much more.
I’ve never been a huge fashion person and have been known to keep clothes for probably far too long. Go figure, one of my favorite jackets was purchased from Old Navy for $3 in 2007 and I can’t part ways with it. Even with my lack of fondness towards fashion as a whole, I have accumulated so many items over the years. I managed to remove two bags of clothing in a matter of 45 minutes that either didn’t fit or I had neglected to wear for whatever reason. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself as I placed pieces into the bag that still had the price tag attached. I had an aha-ha moment that was far deeper than me ridding myself of clothes, shoes and accessories.
Just like we have the ability to hoard items like sports memorabilia and crystal figurines, we do the same for experiences. Having one shirt is no big deal and probably overlooked, but what about when that one shirt grows to eighty? At this point we are overwhelmed and have no place to store the existing items let alone purchase anything new. I can only speak for myself, but I sometimes have a tendency to hold on to the worst of times in my life. I hoard the worst relationships, the worst traumas, and the times that have cut me down to nothing. I pile these items into the closet of my spirit and revisit them frequently as I add more to the pile. Just like with physical items, we don’t have room for new so long as we are always holding on to the old.
My accident changed my whole life and I felt defined by the trauma it caused. I wore my pain like a badge and invited it freely into all areas of my being. I didn’t know how to shake it so it accumulated additional layers throughout the years. I didn’t understand the importance of freeing myself from this bondage, so I was surprised by the havoc it caused on my spirit.
Just like our homes and closets, there is only room but for so much inside of us. Eventually we start to burst at the seams and have to decide what will stay and what will have to go. For years I thought by letting go that I would be forgetting a day that had shaped me into the person I had become. I failed to realize that while certain events will be with you forever that it is completely okay to dismiss the pain that accompanies it. I felt so unhappy for a lot of the years following my accident, but I hadn’t allowed room for anything else.
Life happens to the best of us and sometimes it rocks us to the core. Luckily, life also has the capacity to bring us unspeakable joy so long as we are able to receive it. I had held on to my accident and hoarded all the feelings from it because I felt I was in the middle of a storm with not even an umbrella. I thought and acted as if I would never be delivered from this turmoil and all I had to do was wait on God to do His thing. There had been signs that I needed to let go, but I felt I was too deep in to ever make it back to the surface. It wasn’t until last year that I finally felt my invisible shackles had not only been loosened but removed. I really believe my life got exponentially better once I freed up the space to be occupied by something else, something greater.
God can do anything, but this doesn’t mean that He overlooks our need for cooperation. Imagine God approaches you eager to pour gifts and blessings into your life only to realize you’re filled to capacity. You’re overflowing with regret from past decisions, heartbreak, bad habits, doubt, and grief caused by day-to-day life. Instead of a harvest filled with sweet fruit, you’ve managed to grow a lot overtaken with weeds tangled upon each other. Imagine the bounty you’d produce if you did the necessary work to not only remove the weeds, but also prevent them from coming back.
Sometimes we interpret stagnant seasons as God ignoring some of our most pressing requests. I remember having so many nights going to God in such despair asking for a change in my current situation. I wanted the results without having to put in the work. I wanted to reach a place of healing without understanding that the journey there isn’t always pleasant. I wanted to see God work in me, but my actions were not in accordance with the larger picture.
Just like my aforementioned closet cleaning session, I had a choice to make and so do you. We can either hold on to the items from many moons ago that are now ill-fitting or make space for things better suited for the current season. I have to make that choice daily and it continues to be a worthwhile journey. My dad’s death was another soul stirring event that awoke me from my comfortable slumber. God has too much to offer for me to be hell-bent on keeping what I no longer need and what no longer needs me. I want to make space for happiness, love, growth, prosperity, passion, creativity, better health, and all the things that make life a bit sweeter. I encourage you to let go of what no longer serves you in order to make room for what feeds your soul. Trust me, your spirit will thank you for the much needed purge.