I have trouble getting rid of everything. I've read books about letting things go, thanking them for their service or the joy they brought me and saying goodbye but I just thank them for their service and say I might need you sometime again and quickly put them back. I also avoid messy overwhelming areas in my home. I tend to stash stuff I don't want everyone to see somewhere, a room a closet, anywhere. I struggle with toys. How did we accumulate so many toys? It started out as a couple of baby toys. And now our play closet is full of all kinds of stuff. Some things we haven’t even looked at in a year. But I don't want to let it go because it might be a good project someday, or so and so gave that to the kids, or it has some memory attached to it.
Stuff accumulates over time. It can feel overwhelming. I’ve wanted to get rid of the stuff we don't need for about a year now. I even redid my playroom closet because I thought that would help me get rid of stuff, but I think it all just went to the basement and keeps coming back up as the kids discover it again. If I don’t actually start letting go of the clutter, I’m afraid of how overwhelming our home will be in a year.
It's natural for me to accumulate stuff, and not only do I have an overwhelming amount of toys, I also hold on to my emotions. Over time I accumulated a lot of hurt. I didn’t quite know how to explain my pain but it was there under the surface. The anger, frustration, resentment started consuming me. I coped by drinking, or eating, or lashing out at others, really any way to take my mind off of those feelings. Then comes the shame for the way I am behaving. I am worthless I told myself. Why am I still here?
I didn’t realize I was in this state of mind and consumed by so many feelings. I shut down, wall myself off, act like everything is fine. I put on my face, the one that speaks I am happy and perfect and nothing is ever wrong. I help others to the extent of hurting myself in the process. I never say No, because I’m afraid of people being angry at me. I was stuck in this place for years. It manifested itself in so many ways, so many different masks.
I couldn’t experience joy. I couldn’t be happy. I was always thinking what’s around the corner for me? What kind of trials does God have in store for me? More trauma? More ridiculous situations that I just have to grin and bear? More annoying stuff for me to take in and hold on to? Why me?
One day my counselor said to me, "Do you want to experience joy in your life someday? There is hope." And I cried. I thought, wow that would be nice. To be free of all this pain and hurt. Is that even possible?
Yes, it is possible but through a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I don’t think God wanted me to live in pain, fear, and anguish. For a time I felt like maybe I deserved all of this. Some of the things I have done in my past, maybe this is my punishment.
Over the last few years, I have stopped. Stopped the pretending. Stopped ignoring it, like its not there looming over me. I had to be brave and face my issues, face my pain, face my past.
I had to face some things, I had hidden so far down deep inside me, I almost forgot about them. I brushed them off like they were no big deal, void of any feeling at all. Yet, they shaped me and molded me into this person I didn’t like or want to know and I could barely remember them because I didn’t want to. There were years of my life that I can still hear myself saying, just forget about it. Go have “fun.” “Fun” was getting wasted and not remembering a thing. Putting myself into vulnerable situations because I just didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care if I was around or not.
Facing the pain, the anger, the resentment, the shame, the fear, the guilt, the bitterness, all that “Stuff” that accumulated over the years was one of the best things I've ever done. Honestly I’m not sure I would still be here had I not taken the time to truly experience the pain and not just ignore it anymore. It’s a daily fight to not let that “stuff“ take over again.
My hope is that my story encourages you to stop. Stop accumulating all the pain, anger, resentment. Stop trying to hide it and stuff it down so deep it comes out in scary situations. Stop taking it out on other people. Stop hurting others because you will never get back at the people that hurt you. Forgive them. Let go of the pain. Release those feelings. Its easier said than done but I believe God is with us. Even in our darkest moments when you feel like Why, why am I here. He is bringing people into your life that will help you. My goodness, when I look back at the last fifteen years, I can think of several people he threw into my life. I wasn’t looking for them but they came to me. I didn’t want to know God but I loved these people and they knew him. They had such a joy and light about them. I made excuses for why they would never understand my pain, they haven’t lived what I’ve lived through. But they remained right next to me, they saw the beauty and the light in me when I didn't deserve it.
But in the end, I had to face this “stuff” to be able to see the beauty and light in myself. To be able to experience joy and happiness. And to know that there really is hope. I believe in all that “stuff” that brokenness there is something beautiful and stunning in it. I wouldn’t be who I am without some tough life experiences.
And I am grateful. Gosh did I just say I am grateful for all this “stuff” I have had to face? It's true, because now I can see the light and share it with others. I can help those that need me and hopefully be that light for them in their darkness.
So my friends, gather up all your stuff. All that clutter that sits around collecting dust, or maybe you lost in the basement. Go through it all and let it go.