Summer is just behind us, which meant family reunions, long road trips, and... vehicles crammed with enough junk and electronics to keep a short-tempered family occupied for … five minutes.
Then, just when we reached our end and it feels like every brain cell had been stretched to oblivion, we arrive home late, glance around at the mess all around us and realize we have to unpack the junk. Which is what most of it is. Cheap, overpriced trinkets your kids had to have, empty soda cans dropped on the floor, half eaten granola bars littered everywhere.
For you to clean. It’d be easier to rent one of those high power vacuums; suck up every last tidbit and crumb. If you had even an ounce of energy left.
So you put it off, lugging out the essentials and leaving the rest to rot. Which is what bring you back to the van with your gas mask, gloves and vacuum cleaner.
The term “pay now or pay later” arose for a reason and it applies to much more than moldy beef jerky shoved between seat cushions.
Pause for a moment and take a deep breath. Smell that? That’s your innards, friend. Unresolved wounds festering, begging to be dealt with. Before the spores of bitterness invade all that’s good and pure and lovely.
How long has it been since you’ve surrendered your heart to God for some deep cleaning?
There’s a song I love, though I haven’t heard it in some time. It’s called “Suitcases”, and you can listen to it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4cFZcSivZI
Through the lyrics, Dara Maclean tells us to drop the baggage holding us down so we can run toward the victorious life God plans for us. I love the idea of shucking off the gunk of our past, but I don’t think it’s as easy as dropping our luggage on the roadside. Often, to truly grab hold of our freedom in Christ, we need to start with a bit of unpacking.
We need to sift through our typical responses until we get at the feelings buried underneath. Or more accurately, we need to allow God to expose those heart-shielding barriers that get in His way. Otherwise, we’ll continually dredge through life with a gin-and-bear-it approach, lingering on the edge of transformation without ever experiencing the full metamorphosis.
This road to transformation begins with an honest, heart-felt prayer, modeled for us in Psalm 139:23-24:
“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.”
Our actions, reactions, and perceptions are often the result of our past experiences. Sometimes this is obvious. You burn your hand on a hot stove. This motivates you to cook with care the next time. But other times, figuring out the why takes a bit more searching. Hence David’s prayer.
The Hebrew word translated as heart in verse 23 is lebab which means: the mind, heart, will, inner man. This is the deep chamber of our being—where we attempt to hide our fears, wounds, and scars .
Sometimes even from ourselves.
Only God sees it all, but it doesn’t drive Him away. Instead, it draws Him to us. His greatest desire is that we let Him in, cooperating with Him as He searches our hearts and minds with the care of a trained surgeon slicing out cancerous tumors.
This journey of unpacking, of allowing Christ to bring us to wholeness, won’t be easy or painless, but it is necessary. If we want to experience true and lasting peace.
The choice is ours, and it begins and is sustained by surrender.
Jennifer Slattery writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers, Christian Living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for her personal blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud and the Internet Café Devotions. Her debut novel, a romance about a security-seeking bride who longs for purpose must face her deepest fears—including the wounds of her past—to find it, is currently available for pre-order at a discounted rate. You can visit Jennifer online at http://jenniferslatterylivsoutloud.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte
Beyond I Do:
Will seeing beyond the present unite Ainsley and her fiancé’ or tear them apart.
Marriage. It’s more than happily ever after. Eternally more.
Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist.
But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.
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