Sunday, September 25, 2011

Clutter of Fear

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Have you ever gone through the spare bedroom of your house, a closet or the garage and really sorted through things, tossing the clutter? My dad is notorious for bringing old things “back from the dead” or the trash pile at our house because “You never can tell when you may need something.” Now my dad is probably the most creative person I know when it comes to reusing items: he can make anything out of nothing, it’s awesome. But isn’t it funny when you clear out a lot of that clutter, how much room and space you have? The room takes on a whole new look does it not? I love re-organizing space; my husband constantly shakes his head and grins at how many times I have rearranged our spare bedroom closet. We have only been married for a little over a month and I have probably cleaned it every weekend since then! I have to be transparent with you however; although I may be an impeccable organizer of space in a home, my life is cluttered. Many people struggle with specific sin “cluttering” their lives like pornography, love of money and financial advancements; mine clutter is fear.

I was sitting church last Sunday listening to the sermon on the beatitude found in Matthew 5:3 which states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” As the sermon progressed, I felt this tug on my heart in this area of fears. Being poor in Spirit, as Pastor Mark explained, deals with two components of humility and transparent. Humble in the sense that we need to be willing to admit, “We need help!” Christ did not come to this earth to tell us, “Thou shalt hold it all together!” (I wonder if Jesus/God/Holy Spirit J giggles at how we throw in “shalt’s” and “thou’s.”) No, Christ came to take that yoke upon himself and we are simply to rely upon him. I think when we boil it down, our desire to hold it all together doesn’t stem from a heart of wanting to do things right but rather hidden pride. Pride can come in all shapes and sizes. Proverbs 16:5 says, “5Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” We can all recognize arrogance and are quick to judge that individual for being so arrogant, when in reality, my little fear-fests everyday are not any better. Whether a man is boasting outwardly or inwardly he is still boasting. Fear tiptoes along this line of inward boasting: “I need to perform, I need to do well, I need to be efficient because of xyz.” Or, “If I don’t do this, I am going to look so bad, and/or have to admit that I am not who I should be.” What you should be is a humble, transparent Christ-follower that is dependent upon your God. This “should be” always haunts me throughout my day as if I am not as efficient enough, thorough enough or even funny enough, I am a failure. These thoughts of failure clutter my mind just like the spare bedroom closet containing random things we say we are going to use ‘one day!’ We hoard our fears, churning them over and over in our minds throughout our days as if thinking about them will scare you into performing better. As you look back on your day you may ask yourself, “So….what was I so afraid of in those moments? What did I even accomplish?” It’s silly! But I believe this fear-fest truly stems from a heart of non-reliance and rest in the God of REST! James 5:5-6 says

5Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"? 6But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Grace, some versions use “upholds.” What a magnificent word! Do you ever feel like you need something lifted up during your day? Maybe it’s your body! You’ve exhausted yourself from the trials of the day so much that physically you’re aching of tension (cough, cough, everyday!). Not only uphold but in verse 5 it says that God yearns; He yearns jealously over the spirit he has made to dwell in us! Not a spirit of arrogance, organization-extraordinaire, nor independence from God, but a Spirit that WORSHIPS God. A Spirit that relies upon God. How awful yet wonderful to know that during my day of worry and fear that I have a God jealous over my cluttered mind; readily providing grace without me even knowing it!

So how do we change? We need clean-house: not become more organized, but clean-house on our worries. This first begins with humble acceptance of our need for God; recognize, it’s not about us! No matter how much is at stake, your worrying is making your God jealous because ‘7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline,’ as it says in 2 Timothy. So any other ‘spirit’ ---especially of fear, is counterintuitive of what God has given us: aka, WRONG! Seek power, love and self-discipline. Admit to God that you do not have the self-discipline to remove these fears from your day; that they overwhelm you driving to work or at work or at home with family. Ask for power to overcome them and the ability to love those around you. That is something that really frustrates me at the end of the day, I look back and ask myself, “How did I show recognition and love to those around me today?” Usually my answer is nowhere to be found because my day was spent slaving over my cluttered mind.

Does this all make sense? I hope so. Can you see how when you really dig-deep enough into your cluttered mind, that the clutter is not coming from poor organization but rather a prideful heart: a heart that desires an independent spirit from the God who loves you. Reject the spirit of timidity today and seek the Spirit that provides power, love and self-discipline.

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