In our home, January is the month we purge what has gathered in the corners of closets and the back of drawers. We find new homes for jackets that haven’t been worn for the past few years and we toss the reams of paper we no longer need. It is a freeing, satisfying time.
This year my husband was looking through a box of treasures he’d collected over the past 40 years. Cards from family members that have long since passed. Notes from his son, handmade cards from children he’d coached, all bringing special memories of times he’d almost forgotten.
At the bottom of the box was a letter, addressed “Mac.” Seven pages of thoughts and emotions, handwritten, and badly faded. He called me to his office and showed me the folded yellow sheets of legal pad paper and I was immediately transported to the rock, next to the bay, pouring my heart out to this man I love.
The letter was not dated but remembering the location reminded me it was over 30 years old.
Last week, I took some time to read the letter. I remember that woman, anxious and so unsure. Life had been turned upside down. My goals unraveled, dreams gone, facing a future I couldn’t see or control. All laid out in pencil, incoherent desperation.
Somewhere along the journey, I made a decision that trying to control the world was ineffective. I didn’t have the mental capacity or the physical strength to fix all that was wrong with it or me. So instead, I decided to surrender.
Pastor and author Erwin Lutzer writes,
You become stronger only when you become weaker. When you surrender your will to God, you discover the resources to do what God requires.
Surrender is the key.
When I was young, I wanted my will, my plans, the life I had defined. Even when that life leads to brokenness, a path of desperate striving, a heart of pride, I wanted it my way! But with time, with the bumps and bruises of the world, I’m learning to rest in God’s desires for me. His will, His plans, a life aligned with His.
This aligned life doesn’t mean an easy life. I can attest to this truth. The years have not been easy. But there is deep satisfaction and joy that comes with facing each new obstacle with God, a quieting of that anxious girl from the past.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 reminds us,
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Our January purge is such a wonderful reminder. God never meant for us to carry the clutter of our pasts. His desire is for us to call on Him and seek Him honestly, humbly.
I encourage you to take a little time this week to do a little spiritual house cleaning. Identify those things that litter your mind and heart. The things that keep you from fully surrendering to God. And remember BeLOVED, He faithfully waits, loving you when you feel unlovable, desiring relationship when you want to run and hide, offering rest when you are frenzied and out of control.
Acts17:24-28 (New Life Version)
24 “The God Who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. He does not live in buildings made by hands. 25 No one needs to care for Him as if He needed anything. He is the One who gives life and breath and everything to everyone. 26 He made from one blood all nations who live on the earth. He set the times and places where they should live.
27 “They were to look for God. Then they might feel after Him and find Him because He is not far from each one of us. 28 It is in Him that we live and move and keep on living. Some of your own men have written, ‘We are God’s children.’
For additional reading – Acts 17 NLV – Paul and Silas Start a Church in – Bible Gateway
Take a few minutes to consider the following.
- What mental/emotional/spiritual clutter are you carrying with you? Take time to share them with God.
- Do you believe God can bring restoration to these broken areas? If yes, what steps will you take to receive His healing?