I’ve been doing much sorting out of closets and drawers in recent weeks. Many of you will have seen the old photos I’ve posted on Facebook; memories of long ago. It’s fun taking those walks down memory lane.
Yesterday I began going through boxes and files in what was my Dad’s office. He went to heaven five years ago. At that time I sorted through the office but left some boxes to sift through at a later time. Yesterday the “later time” came. It was no surprise to find pages of sermon notes, but suddenly, my breath stopped short. I discovered pages of a type of journal – about me! My Dad had made notes of conversations we had over the years; those times when together we righted all wrongs in the world, solving the most complex of problems. Then there were comments he wrote about plays and books I had written and speaking engagements I had taken. He wrote concerning one play, “Vickie wrote a play for our church youth, I know it’s going to be good.” Another time he wrote, “Vickie performed a monologue she had written about Mother Mary. It touched many hearts.” Still another time he made a note that a pastor had phoned him after I spoke at a conference in his church saying, “Vickie’s words captured all our attention and changed lives.” As I read on I had to keep dabbing at the corners of my eyes to keep the tears from rolling down my face.
For just a brief moment I wondered why he had recorded all these things about me, but ever so quickly the answer came; it was because he loved me and was proud of me. That realization brought more tears of gladness for the relationship I shared with my father, and for this reminder of how he felt about me. As I contemplated this surprise find, I was then reminded of how our Heavenly Father also feels about each of His children. Read the following from Psalm 139:16-18 and mediate upon just how He feels about you.
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life is recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, Oh God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”
Our earthly fathers may or may not be proud of us, but Jesus never stops cheering us on as we walk our earthly paths, longing for the day when we will be able to see Him face to face and hear His words, “well done good and faithful servant.” His thoughts toward us are always the best and most loving thoughts. His desires for us are, without exception, to be filled with His own peace and joy and courage. Just think, every time you succeed at anything in life, He is writing it down; not because He may forget, but only because His love for you and me is beyond measure. Let that sink in and walk today in great blessing with the reminder of Father’s perfect love for you.
I wonder how many reading this have an attic or a basement or a spare room that’s full of — just stuff! It’s easy to fill a room to a point, that in no time at all, it’s so full that we can’t even remember what’s in there. When we do finally take the time to sort through everything that has gathered, we surprise ourselves at having so much clutter. We discover that we have many things that we do not need. So, we have a spring cleaning and we get rid of all that we haven’t used in a very long time. When we’ve finished, we stand back and admire the beauty of the space; all clutter is gone. Then what happens? We begin to fill it all up, yet again, with things we don’t need. Perhaps in time, we clear all the clutter out once more. We repeat this process countless times throughout our lives. Of course, for those who horde, the clutter gets worse and worse until there’s barely anything in the room that’s recognizable or even useful.
We do the very same thing in our spiritual world. It’s our mind that becomes the storage closet where we keep things that we do not need. We throw in worry. We throw in bitterness. We throw in loathing of ourselves and of others, too. We throw in distrust in God. We throw in guilt. The list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Why do we collect so much garbage in both our physical and our spiritual worlds? Worst still, why do we keep it for so long? Garbage will only, with time, rot and stink. When we clutter our minds with garbage and leave it there, our thoughts begin to rot and stink, too. It’s not fun. Garbage covers our peace with the thick dust of despondency.
Apostle Paul encouraged us in Philippians 4:8 to “Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are worthy of praise.” Do you notice that it’s a command? It doesn’t say to try and think about things pure and lovely. It says to do it. In other words, the moment you realize that a piece of garbage has been stored in the closet of your mind — throw it out! How do we throw garbage out of our minds? By choosing and training our minds to think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. For example, when worry gets thrown in, replace it with reminders that God never makes mistakes and He cares for you immeasurably. When self loathing gets stored in a great big box, replace it with the fact that you are so precious to Jesus, that He willingly died so you could have life. When loneliness ends up on a shelf in your mind, replace it with God’s truth that says He will never leave you or forsake you. God’s Word is the best cleaner of all. It removes every stain and piece of dirt in our minds, and replaces the stink of garbage with the sweet fragrance of God’s love. God’s Word purifies.
Where God’s Word lives, no garbage can survive. Therefore, let’s do spring cleaning all year round. Peace will thrive in an uncluttered mind.