As I drove down the expressway the other day, I saw a truck whose dashboard was so cluttered, I was sure it was his “home office”, but then I quickly remembered that one of my kitchen countertops looks just like that right now. Oops! For my friends who think my house is always clean, I took a picture just to prove it!
Before children, we were “tidy” and now, well, it’s a daily battle. My countertops have become the permanent residence for library books, stickers, and random art projects. And since my children attended a “Knight” themed Vacation Bible School last week, my countertops also house a knight’s shield made out of cardboard and straws. I’ll give my daughter an A for creativity on that one! Nonetheless, there are piles of things sitting on this little piece of counter that I call my “coffee bar”. It’s supposed to be a small space where I fill my favorite mug with my favorite coffee each morning just before spending a few
quiet moments alone with the Lord…and my three year old, who wakes up before the sun.
Oh the piles around my house! They haunt me so! I look at them and know that I should start putting them away, but the job daunts me and feels like a mountain not worth climbing. I’m sure I would enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that putting each thing in its place would give me, and just think of all the space I would have to do other things… if I would just get rid of the piles!
But getting rid of piles takes work….and energy.
Some of us have another type of “pile” that we’ve allowed to build up in our lives. However, we can only wish they were as simple as some library books and a knight’s shield made out of straws.
It takes more than a good cup of coffee to forgive past hurts, unmet expectations, or a broken friendship. When we avoid dealing with these types of feelings, we build up “piles” of unforgiveness.
Some time ago, I realized that I had some piles in my own heart. I had built up resentment by not forgiving someone and truthfully, they didn’t even know it. I had allowed the hurt I felt to pile up, until it was easy to be offended by them and even easier to heap another offense onto the pile.
I had some cleaning to do. My own heart needed some work. I had to forgive. So, lots of tears later out on my back porch during a quiet hour in my house, I wrote down the offenses I had held. I searched my heart to see if there were any other issues I needed to write down and deal with. I asked the Lord to heal my broken heart in the places that ached. I asked him to give me the strength to forgive and to help me to love without being easily offended. Then I tore it up and threw the bits of paper in the trash. I was done holding onto the piles that caused so much angst in my heart. I didn’t even tell the person. It was my issue to deal with and God met me there to help me work through it.
I cleaned the “piles” that day and you know what?? It was freedom! Real freedom! Instead of heaping more onto it, the “counter” was clean…and it brought real joy and growth in my relationships.
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25
Just like my countertops, this work of forgiveness and being gracious with others requires regular attention, so I have to pay attention to the “piles” I’m forming.
When was the last time you looked at your piles? Is there anything that needs to be dealt with so that you can be free again? I encourage you to take the time, write it out if necessary and then rip it up and move on. Then be free, friend. Be free!
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19