If you were to visit me in my office you would see a tidy desk, an efficient filing system and a clean room. I hope it would be a welcoming, yet professional, environment where you would feel at home and confident in my ability as an accountant.
In fact, I could take you round the rest of the office and generally it's clean, neat and tidy.
But there is one door and behind it is the stationery cupboard. Opening the door and stepping into the cupboard is not for the faint hearted. It's a mess. Whenever anyone goes into it they search for what they need by pulling things out of boxes, piling them on top of other things, leaving them on the floor and there they remain once the required item has been located. As you can see from the picture, it's not a real room but only the space under the stairs.
There's a lot of history in that cupboard: A3 paper with sixteen ruled columns - long replaced by spreadsheets, Tippex now replaced with the backspace or delete buttons, paperclips, staples, typrewriter ribbons, dictation tapes all archaic and no longer useful or functional. Old boxes and packaging material which, of course, might be useful - one day!
What it needs is for everything to be pulled out, sorted and mostly thrown away. Then, what we use regularly could be put back (tidily) and we would all be able to see what we needed at a glance. The area right at the back of the cupboard, the part way out of reach under the stairs should be closed off to prevent further generations of junk being stored (in the hope that one day it might be useful).
Will we ever get round to it? I doubt it - we've not done so in the thirty years I've been there and we're too busy to even begin to think about doing it.
I think there is the equivalent of my stationery cupboard lurking somewhere in the depth of our heart. A part of our heart that is behind a closed door which looks good from the outside. It's a door we don't want to open and certainly somewhere we are not particularly keen on sorting out. As with my stationery cupboard, there may be some things that could be useful but we can't seem to locate them because of all the debris that surrounds them.
There is only one way for us to sort out the stationery cupboard of our heart and that is to be brave enough to open the door and begin to look at what is there. Then take it all out and ask a question: "Why is this here?" In some cases, when I look at the things in the cupboard the question may be "How on earth did that get there?"
Stationery is one thing but our heart is most definitely another. The stuff buried in our heart consists of memories, wounds, pain, failed relationships, the consequences of our actions and so much more. It is often too overwhelming to even begin to think about opening the door to the secret place of our heart.
If my stationery cupboard was open to visitors it would be an embarrassment. Thankfully, it's not, it's only my staff who have access to it. Our heart is slightly different. Whilst we think we have a closed door to hide all the pain behind, people can often see beyond the door and see what we are trying to hide. Remember Jesus said that out of our heart the mouth speaks. What we try and hide has a way of sneaking out when we least expect it. The pain leaks! We may try and hide it from others but we can't hide it from our Father.
Our Father is interested in the stuff behind the door. Not because he wants to condemn or judge but simply because he wants you to be free. Free of the weight all that clutter represents. Free of the old, useless things that you no longer need to carry around with you. Free of the failures and the memory of things that have gone wrong.
And yes, it appears too overwhelming to suddenly open the door and go straight in to pull everything out in order to have a major clear out.
I suggest you let your Father be the guide and instructor in this process. Let him open the door and take one item out at a time. Look at it together and decide if it is useful or whether it should be thrown away. Remember there will be some good stuff behind that door so take time to find it and celebrate it. As you work through the cupboard allow the Father to comfort you as each and every item is discarded. Let his comforting love be the thing that replaces those things which are removed.
He wants to fill the stationery cupboard of your heart with his gentle, comforting love. As he does you will begin to live more freely and lightly.
Living Freely and Lightly
Jesus promises that, when we come to him and allow him to lead us to the Father, we will begin to live freely and lightly.
© COPYRIGHT 2018:
Mark Gyde - A Father to YOU