I’m not fond of opening that door. If I need to, I close my eyes so I don’t have to look. Seeing what it is brings nothing but guilt for not dealing with it, and shame for letting it become what it is.
I’m talking about our toy closet.
When the kids were little, we used this wonderful hideaway under the stairs as a play space. They’d use it to be away from the large family that was very loud and always present. It was a grand place to read without interruption. And until I figured out it was also a place to use to disappear from chores, the kids were successful in hiding.
Once they moved out and grands came, we began to collect toys and books for the kids when they came to visit. John created order by installing two small bookcases with bins to hold everything from trucks to Legos to books that spanned interests.
That lasted until the first grand entered the closet.
Children don’t see order; they lock eyes onto what is desirable and do everything they can to get it. Which means throwing things out of the closet, dumping things onto the floor, and scattering organization to the wind.
In the beginning, we’d make an attempt at reestablishing order once the littles went home. After a while, I didn’t want to take the time or energy to clean up a mess that would be made again. It wasn’t worth it.
We let the closet go. The grands still came and scavenged. Instead of cleaning it, I’d throw stuff back in and shut the door.
I didn’t want to deal with it.
When we decided to finally clean it out, I knew we needed help. Ethan, at seventeen, is strategic in how he thinks. I needed rational thoughts when it came to throwing things away. Everything to me had too much sentiment.
As we cleaned, the reality of what it had become became clear. Toys were broken, games were missing pieces, puzzles weren’t all there.
To add insult to injury, cockroaches were scattered underneath the debris.
We cleaned it out, with Ethan continually saying, “Pitch it.” He was my reminder that some things shouldn’t be held onto.
I have a similar closet in my life. It holds all the junk I don’t want to deal with, hidden things I’d be ashamed to let others see or know, things that aren’t the best for me that I struggle with giving up. Attitudes, desires, fears, behaviors.
Jesus knows the contents of that closet; I can’t hide it from him. I fool myself to think nobody knows my dark secrets, but He knows them all.
No condemnation from Him. His offer is to help me clean it out. To allow Him to enter and help me pitch what doesn’t help me but hurts me. My critical spirit, my jealousies, my unforgiveness.
We all have a closet. Things we choose to hide, even from those we love. But the contents of them are the bondage that holds us to darkness and keeps us from seeing the Light.
Jesus never expects us to deal with it on our own. His help is needed.
None of us are good at getting rid of junk.