by Dyann Shepard
Honestly, I had never experienced anything like it. I had heard about hoarders but never really seen one up close. I drove by the house many times and always thought, “if anyone lights a match, that house is up in flames.”
So, I was curious when I saw the Yard Sale signs. I wandered through broken dishes, lamps, tables, potted plants, etc. I even found a treasure for my best friend, Jody, and texted her the address in case she wanted to go on a treasure hunt, saying: “You might want to drop by. You never know, you might find a surprise.”
Jody texted me as she arrived, “Do you think it is safe?”
“Yes, follow the aisles of stuff in the front and back of the house,” I replied.
“There’s a house???” she responded.
You get the point. It was almost impossible to see to the home, which was sad and fascinating at the same time. I wondered how something like this could happen, and I thought it could never happen to me.
Though I have too many dishes, candlesticks, and vases, they all serve a purpose. At least, in my mind, they do. But I had begun to judge this homeowner, and I allowed no excuses. Until this verse rang in my ears and heart: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3 ESV).
I inwardly protested. I’m not a hoarder of material things. But then the Lord confronted me with my own unique type of hoarding—not material things but emotional things.
How many feelings of hurt, unforgiveness, anger, resentment, and disappointment have I stocked up and hoarded? I bring them out to review at specific times. They help me rationalize my less-than-righteous thoughts and my sense that I deserve better. I remembered my girlfriend’s questions, “Is it safe? There’s a house?”
The Lord has a sense of humor, doesn’t He? He knows my hoarding of emotional hurts and disappointments is far more dangerous from the eternal perspective than a physical collection. My Father knows that my spiritual home is where He dwells, and from this home His love should freely flow. How will anyone see my spiritual home and experience God’s love through me with all the emotional hoarding and clutter blocking the way?
The man whose house I visited that day said he had come to terms with being a hoarder. He was selling everything. He faced the fact, made a plan, and he dared to get rid of it all. This man’s pile of stuff is much safer than my spiritual hoarding of love not given, grace not provided, mercy and forgiveness not extended.
It is so easy to hoard and pile up hurts, unforgiveness and disappointments, isn’t it? Like the man whose home was hidden behind all his stuff, let’s dare to acknowledge our issues, make a corrective plan, and lay it at the cross of Jesus, freeing ourselves to take hold of the prize waiting for us.
May our Lord give each of us the courage to look at, gather up and get rid of anything that hinders our walk with Him.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13, 14 NIV
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Dyann Shepard loves to share the power of God to redeem, restore and transform lives through life’s most tumultuous storms. She is an author, speaker, and Bible study teacher. She was formerly on staff with CRU, a Stephen’s minister as well as retired CPA. Her passion is writing and speaking about experiencing God’s presence in our daily lives as we open our hearts to Him. Her writing can be found on her website www.personalparables.com, and in various Christian magazines including Just Between Us and The Joyful Life. She is the author of a study of Proverbs, Wisdom, Capturing the Power of our Words.
Join the conversation: Have you asked the Lord to show you what might be hindering your walk with Him?