Tommy Cash - February 18, 2018
Into the Wilderness
From Series: "The Devil in the Details"
Ever feel like life is a blur? A constant flurry of obligations and activities and commitments? We keep ourselves so busy we don't have time to listen for the still, small voice of God calling us. Lent is a chance to slow down, to attend to all the little things that become habits that separate us from God.
More From "The Devil in the Details"
Have you ever been into a hoarder’s house? We lived next to one when we first moved to Texas, and I visited with him a few times. I only ever went into the living room, because that was about the only place you could go in the house. And even the living room was standing-room only. He had his chair, and it was surrounded by stacks of mail, magazines, and assorted junk. You couldn’t see his kitchen, and there was a path between the stacks of junk that led to the back of the house.
Psychologically, we know that hoarding is caused by an irrational attachment to possessions. If you’ve ever seen the show Hoarders, you know how difficult it is for the hoarder to clear out their house. What is so obviously junk to everyone else is irreplaceable treasure to them. What is so obviously poisoning their life to everyone else (sometimes quite literally) is essential lifeblood to them.
One reason I’m fascinated by hoarding is that, if I’m being honest, I’m a bit of a clutterbug.
I’m sentimental. I’ll save a thank you note I’ve received for years. A little trinket someone gave me? I’ll hold onto it long after I forgot who actually gave it to me. Fortunately, I realized this about myself relatively early in my life. During grad school, I moved year-to-year, as roommates came and went. I was packing up my apartment for one move when, in the back of my closet, I found two sealed boxes.
What could they be?
I cracked them open and low and behold, they were filled with beautiful, wonderful piles of junk! Glorious trinkets and keepsakes I had completely forgotten existed until I laid my eyes on them. I scooped them up and marveled at them. I found them! I can’t live without them!
Except… apparently they had spent an entire year in a box in my closet. And I hadn’t missed them.
Right there, on the floor, something clicked in my head. I boxed all of it back up and took it right down to the dumpster.
To this day, I can’t tell you one thing that was in either of those boxes. And hey, it was two fewer boxes I had to load and unload. Two fewer boxes to take up space in my closet. Two fewer boxes of junk to clutter my life.
Not many of us are hoarders. But we’re going to talk about clutter. Because the reality is, even if you’re not a packrat like me, we all fill our lives, our schedules, our spending, with clutter. With small things that take up not much space on their own. But when you step back and look at the broad sweep of our lives, our schedule, our finances, we don’t have much room to move around. We’re rushing from commitment to commitment, from paycheck to paycheck, with no wiggle-room.
And that’s dangerous because all those good little things take up enough space that we don’t have room for the work God calls us to. We can’t do the things God calls us to do, fund the things God calls us to fund, be the people God calls us to be because we don’t have any margin.