Emotional Clutter

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

Emotional clutter devastates a person’s spiritual life.

My thoughts and comments today are about “emotional clutter.”

Your past is filled with memories – some that edify, some distress. Ultimately, you choose which you allow to dominate your thoughts and emotions. Personal history is not neutral. Edifying memories brighten your day, as you recall good times and the goodness of yourself, others, and God. Those memories encourage you, affording strength and assurance today when you remember the pleasant history of people, provision, and places that brought you happiness then and gratefulness now. Your story contains much good from God and others that should be frequently and fondly remembered.

God always has been at the center of your history. A problem occurs when you allow events to obscure your awareness of His nearness. David found solace and strength when He reviewed the struggles of his past in a better, broader context that included God. “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done.” Psalm 143:5 NIV. Your feelings about the past are directly related to the extent you recall God’s providence and presence alongside you.

Human nature is such that the past you will more easily remember is the one cluttered with regret – opportunities missed, mistreatment remembered, mistakes made, failures remembered, hurts collected, grief unhealed, promises broken, intentions never accomplished, friends and family disappointed, potential unrealized, habits accumulated – well, you get the picture. Mental and emotional clutter can devastate a person’s spiritual life. I have observed that people too often remember the things they should forget and forget the things they should remember. Excess baggage, whatever its nature or reason, is needless and unworthy of a Christ-follower when Jesus asks to be your burden-bearer.

There are three simple things that clear the clutter: repent of your failures; release people’s unfairness; remember God’s faithfulness. You cannot undo all the past; it is what it is. What you can do is stop the hurtful impact of what has happened. That requires determined action. See 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV. Deal with it by repentance for what you have done and release for what others do. Some events in your history need to be left as just that – history! Not doing so confines you to painfully and needlessly reliving your past again and again. Reliving your past prevents you from fully living in the present.

A member of my family struggled with a psychological compulsion called “hoarding.” Accumulating unnecessary things gradually became a compulsive hoarding that left them incapable of throwing anything away. Their surroundings became unlivable; their emotional health diminished; their quality of life suffered. There had to be a loving intervention to accomplish what they could not do on her own. Releasing the clutter brought a healthy freedom for her.

A similar thing happens spiritually in too many lives. Hoarding regret-filled memories of personal failures, or hurtful relationships, or unfixable situations immobilizes, ultimately imprisons, a person with emotional, psychological, and spiritual clutter. God has an answer for your painful past, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.” See 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NKJV. Read also Psalm 25:6-7 NKJV. Today can and should be a new day for you. Your story may be different, but emotional and spiritual freedom can be yours.

My prayer for you today is that you bring clutter to the cross for His forgiveness and healing.