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Editor's Note: This article first appeared at TheFatherSwap.com. Used with permission.
My home was mostly white walls and floors when I got married. We had each other and a few pieces of mismatched furniture salvaged from my husband’s bachelor days. Now 13 years and 2 kids later we are busting at the seams with stuff: old furniture, sentimental knickknacks, and a host of forgotten toys.
We need to declutter and deep clean, in that order. And although I have high aspirations, I am not sure it will happen at the magnitude with which it is needed. Honestly, it may not happen at all.
Sometimes our hearts are like this: cluttered.
It happens over time, not immediately. Maybe it starts with a misunderstanding, or a betrayal. Time nurses a wound like a newborn baby and before you know it, bitterness is fully-grown and hanging out in our hearts.
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Overtime, there is a potential for our hearts to be ridden with memories, hang-ups, guilt, sin, and the like, clinging to us and not letting go. I call it heart clutter.
If we’re not careful, our hearts can become like double-sided tape, picking up slights and hurts with increasing ease. And God is never duped by our outward appearance. He, better than anyone, knows that no human being is exempt from needing to declutter our hearts.
Even David, described as a man after God’s own heart, asked God to examine the contents of his soul in Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV).
“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.”
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His prayer gives us three practical steps to follow in decluttering our hearts.
#1 Ask God
David courageously asked God to conduct an internal excavation. This was a brave request considering God knows all things, even that which we hide from ourselves.
And though the combination of our mind, will, and emotions may look like a long overdue garage sale, He is not hesitant to delve inside. He is not repelled by the complexity of our soul. Fully aware of the sum total of who we are, He delights in us.
God’s deep dig can unearth that humiliating middle school experience, our family function and dysfunction, our personality quirks, life purpose, deeply ingrained fears, sin, bad habits, and HORMONES (need I say more). With infinite wisdom, He gets us.
#2 Listen to God
David not only asked, but was prepared to listen to all that God would reveal to him about his heart. This was evident by his words “See if there is any offensive way in me.” David wanted to know God’s opinion of who he was at his core.
Have you ever asked a question you didn’t want the answer to? I have. Ashamedly, I’ve even bitten the head off the person I asked.
If we choose, like David, to declutter our hearts, we need to be prepare for what God has to say about us. He may ask us to part with a piece of ourselves we feel intimately connected to. Though it may be difficult, we can rest in the truth that God loves us extravagantly.
He is a master heart pruner, who purges because He knows it will make us better. Gently he persistently prompts us to release the jumbled hodgepodge of clutter we’ve piled up in our hearts. As our Creator, we can trust He has a purpose when He says “Let it go.”
He alone knows what needs to be kept or discarded.
#3 Follow God
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David ends his Psalm by saying “. . . Lead me into the way of everlasting.” If you are like me, sometimes I think I am a shepherd instead of a sheep. Foolishly, I get confused into thinking I can do a better job leading myself; but I can’t.
This is futile because a self-led person is headed for ruin. It is better to be led by God who sees our beginning and our end. If He can speak to the waves and bring peace then he can speak to our cluttered souls and bring order. We must surrender to Him: believing His infinite understanding of who we are is far superior than our finite perspective.
Image Credit: Unsplash.com
Kia Stephens is a wife and homeschooling mama of two who is passionate about helping women know God as Father. For this reason, she created The Father Swap Blog to be a source of encouragement, healing, and practical wisdom for women dealing with the effects of a physically or emotionally absent father. Each week through practical and biblically sound teaching she encourages women to exchange father wounds for the love of God the Father.