The Art of Packing Boxes
In the last 8 years I moved 7 times. For anyone who has moved a lot you know how much work it takes to pack everything into boxes and make arrangements for someone to help you move. Then there are utilities, change of address and all the others who must be informed of your move. There is an aspect of excitement, the anticipation of something new. However, for someone who has moved often in a short period of time, I can say that I really do not care for it. The chore is overwhelming though I have become a pro at it.
I didn't write yesterday because I was packing. No I am not moving my physical home, though I imagine some day I will. These boxes weren't physical. I was packing up thoughts and memories in the moving boxes of my mind. Have you ever done this? Just like moving your home from one location to another it is sometimes necessary to move the clutter in your spirit out, or at least box it up and put it in an attic space. I was feeling like my "house" was getting cluttered. I kept running into memories and they kept distracting me from living life and focusing on what I need to be focused. I love my memories, I truly do. However, when those memories stop you from progressing towards a future of promise and hope then they become an obstacle to spiritual growth.
It is no secret that I have been through some things emotionally these last few years that have been tough, but in the midst of the struggle there were times of joy and beauty. There were glimpses of what could have been. Those are the memories that keep me enslaved to the past. I realized that I was living in "What If" land. It is kind of Disneyland without the junk food & cartoon characters. It is a nice place to visit, but I really wouldn't want to live there.
On Saturday I had the great privilege of spending two hours with a friend. She is an inspiration to me, though until now I don't think she realizes just how much. We had coffee, sweet treats and great conversation. I love her joy and her passion for Jesus. She invited me to join her zoom Bible study with her small group. They are studying the book of Philippians using a study guide called "Get Out of Your Head." How great is that?
When you live alone often the only person you talk to lives inside your head. That person lives in your memories, good and bad. While I've been focusing more on praying and talking to Jesus there are times when I talk to the memory raconteur. She reminds me of all my failures, my hurt, my pain, my "what could have been", happy times, missed opportunities, and people who are long gone. The memory raconteur is eloquent and convincing, but alas is just a story teller. She needs to be caged up and only released when necessary.
So I have been Imagining Jesus going through my memories with me. We put them all to rest in different boxes. Some we mark with the words "do not ever open this box again under any circumstances". Some we mark with "sweet family memories - open whenever your heart needs a lift". Then there are those just marked "attic" Imagine Jesus determining what goes in each box. Then Imagine Jesus lifting those boxes and carrying them to secret places. He makes you close your eyes so you don't see where he puts them. Then when he is all done he tells you to open your eyes. There is nothing there but him. The only memory is how he has helped you to tidy up and refocus on who HE is and what HE has done for you.
My conversation with my friend on Saturday reminded me of so much. She challenged me to challenge my thoughts. I love the fact that when we talk and I say something that makes no sense, she has insight to redirect me. She is truly someone God has placed in my life for that human contact we all need. She gives great hugs and dispenses them generously. Her smile is infectious and the peace she brings with her comes from her own life experiences where she has trusted God to lead her through dark waters. I love her honesty, and her willingness to share those not-so-great moments of her own life with me. It makes it easier to share mine.
Are you needing to tidy your house? I suggest that you don't wait. Imagine Jesus preparing those boxes and saying "It is time to move on. We have so much to do, you and I". He is there always ready to help us with these painful tasks.
1 Corinthians 6:19 "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;"
Psalm 143:5 "I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands."
Psalm 42:1 "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, God."