Well, things have been a flurry of activity at the McKnight house for the past week. Suddenly the looming deadline of moving out of our house in Berea appears alarmingly close! I don’t want to see another box for a long time, and there is still much left to do and many boxes to pack.
On Thursday Lauri and I were in the basement. Oh, the dreaded basement… I don’t know if your basement is like ours, but that is where we have put everything that we didn’t know what to do with at the time. Let me tell you something, over 15 years, we have accrued a lot of things that we didn’t know what to do with!
So as we packed up things, much of the effort was about what to pack and bring to Willard, and what to grace our local Salvation Army Store with. And some of the stuff we had… why did we even hold on to those things? There were things in that basement that hadn't seen the light of day for over a decade, stuffed in some forgotten corner waiting on a purpose that would never come. We would have been so much better off to have said at the time, “You know, we really don’t need that, let’s get rid of it.” I’m not sure, but I think as we were working down there I heard a lonely old, frayed, duffle bag whisper to me, “Please… it’s so dark and hopeless down here… take me up into the light!”
You know, it occurs to me that many times our lives can be a little bit like my basement. We hold on to things that aren’t worth holding on to and they just clutter up our heart. Disappointments, insults, wounds, relationship clutter, frustrations… these things can pile up, and before we know it our heart resembles an over populated basement. Things that haven’t seen the light of day for decades can have a surprising amount of influence in our lives.
I call those things Heart Baggage. Heart Baggage are the things that we don’t want to deal with in life, so we stuff them away for later. The problem though is that sometimes “later” never comes. I’ve learned over the years that Heart Baggage effects us in many ways, but perhaps the most obvious is in our relationships with others, and even our relationship with Jesus. Sometimes we just can’t move through the clutter.
I have been reminded this week of the importance of cleaning up my heart every once in while. You know, Jesus really meant it when he said, “I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly!” (John 10:10). Every once in a while, it is important to bring things into the Light. To lighten the load. To make a donation. To get rid of an old duffle bag. “Lord, help me to recognize the clutter in my heart, and may You help me do a little spring cleaning from time to time. I want to have plenty of room in my heart… for You!”