Yard sale time!

Have  you ever had one of  those moments where life is going by and you feel like you are sitting on the outside looking in. Maybe you’re a fly on the wall and just watching your own life go by. Thankfully those moments don’t last too long and you can usually get back into the flow pretty easily. But, there are times, when those moments seem to last a bit longer than you are used to, or than you’d like it to.

 I have been having one of those moments;  it’s been about 6 mos. now.

I feel like my whole world has been turned upside down, and all the things that I once believed in are being challenged, once again. This happened about 15 years ago, and it’s happening again.  I suppose every 15 years is a good time to take inventory of your life and get rid of the things that are bogging you down. I now need to decide what to give away, what needs to be thrown away, and what’s to keep.

It’s yard sale time!

You know when your house is getting too full of all those things that you just-HAD-to-have, but, they have served their purpose.  They have seen a better day. All that they hold now are memories of another time and place. It’s time to clean house. It’s time to get rid of what I don’t need.

So, when I realize that things are building up, I get some boxes. I label them. “Throw away,” “Keep,” “Give away,” “Sell.”

I go through, not just the things I’ve been tripping over for weeks, but, I also go through the places I can’t see. I go to the closets and cubby holes and the secret places that no one knows about.

Things that seemed so important at one time and have spent the better part of their lives on my shelf now need to go, or do they?

We finished building our house only one year ago and realized we really needed some space in the basement. The problem was that the basement was filled with everything imaginable. We have no garage, so all the more stuff was stored there. Seasonal things, like lawn furniture and bikes and Christmas boxes and trees. Every season held some fascination with a corner of storage.

Everything came up from the basement. Soon the dining room disappeared under a mountain of perceived important boxes. Once the dining room was filled, literally from floor to ceiling, it flowed out, into the hallway and right into the office.

 I knew there was a problem when I had a 2ft. path from the office door to my computer chair. There had been a window in the office that gave some nice morning light. Now it was covered to the point where my office was being a literal black hole.

OK. This shouldn’t take long. I kept comforting myself with the fact that, “It won’t always be this way.”  I sure wished I was a fly on the wall; on the outside looking in.  But, NOOOO I had to live it.


Sure enough, what seemed like eternity, was actually only 2 months later we signed the dotted line. The basement was finished. What a relief. Wipe my hands, and think, “Whew, that’s done!”

Only to turned around and notice, that although the basement was completely finished with a 22×16 media room, an office, a 4 pc bath and 3 rooms of storage, there was still a LOT of work to be done! EVERYTHING was still in my dining room and main floor computer room! Sigh Not only is everything still upstairs, the entire house is covered with a fine layer of dust!

Is there no end? Let the games begin!

I don’t know about you, but, it seems that my spiritual life often is a reflection of my physical life.

How many times are our lives like renovations?

 We realize that life is not simple as it was when we were younger. We’ve added things and people to our hearts and lives. Over the years we have collected so many things.  Now it becomes apparent that we need to make some renovations.

There are some walls that need to come down, and believe it or not, some walls that NEED to go up!

We find some good people who can help us with clearing out the basement. All too soon we realize that they are not very helpful in the preparation stages. There are some things that we have to work out for ourselves; or with a little help from a strong man.

 In the case of our hearts and lives, Jesus would be about the strongest person I know to help with stuff like this.   Although our friends are great to have around, the renovations themselves have to be done by the Professionals.  Who is more knowledgeable about our lives than the very One who is our Maker, and Master Builder.

The moving begins. The revisiting of the old.  The realization that maybe, just maybe I don’t need all this stuff in my life. That maybe it’s not the STUFF that I need after all. As it’s been down here for a year or many years and I’ve never looked it or used it or needed it. I have to ask myself the question, “Why am I holding on to it?” 

At this point I wish I was that fly on the wall…I’d much rather just sit here and observe, thank you very much!

I believe that God is taking me through that same process, only in the rooms of my heart. Seems HE wants to do a renovation in the basement of my heart and is moving things around. Stirring up the dust and showing me some stuff that I haven’t looked at for years.

I hear Him asking me, “Why are you holding on to this?”

I wait. I’m hoping it’s a rhetorical question and I don’t really have to answer. But, in my favor, He is more patient than I, and He can out wait me any day. He holds up the first item and waits for my answer. “Why am I holding on to this?” Well, it had a good purpose once upon a time.

Umm…ok. “Why am I holding on to THAT?” That was what my brother gave me. Remember when…

And we go through the list. 

Oh, this item helped me in a nasty situation!

That, Oh, yes, I remember that. I used that when my kids were little. But, have since learned that that wasn’t the most productive thing, so I put it away. What? You want me to get rid of it? Are you kidding!? My kids remember that! What will they say if they found out that I don’t have that anymore? It’s a part of who I am. It’s how some people know me. What will I look like without it? How will I know how to act if I get rid of it?

It’s a scary place to be. Things that have been with us for so long end up taking up too much room in our lives and cluttering our hearts.

It’s time for me to go through my heart and seriously pick up one thing and look at it and ask myself, is this item useful? Is this item beneficial to my life right now? Can someone else use it? Is it old junk? Can I live with myself if I get rid of it? “How is it working for me?” as Dr. Phil would say. Can someone else use it?

There’s lots of useful stuff here. Poems. Thoughts. Things that may become a book someday. I may hold onto some of that. There are other things here in the basement of my heart that I will have to look good and hard at and consider getting rid of. Such as that memory of the girl who hurt my feelings.

Maybe I don’t need to hold onto some religious mindsets, either. When I was a kid bowling and going to the movies were BAD things for Christians to do. Those are some things that I need to pull out of the box and ask, “Why am I holding on to this?” Is this TRUTH? Is that what the Bible says? What does that Bible say about these things?

My Throw pile seems to be getting bigger and bigger, and my Save pile? Well, I’m sure I won’t have a completely hollow and empty house when we’re done. This whole process will need to be revisited periodically throughout my lifetime. I’m sure the Save pile will be just fine.

It’s the Give pile that I’m having the hardest time with. Some things I need to give are good things. Like time. I have time, and I can give that to some friends in need. There are some other things in the Give Pile that will be harder to give. The suggestions of well-meaning people. I need to give them back. They don’t necessarily need to know that I am not keeping them. I just don’t need those things right now.

Beliefs.  Where do they go? Do they get thrown away? Is this a case of throwing away the baby with the bathwater?  I have to look at them all over again.  What shape are they in? Did they get warped in the packaging? Or in the storage? What does the original look like? Does it line up with the Word?

The part I hate the most about this whole process is the fact that it has to be done at all.  Can’t we just leave well enough alone?



There are a lot of other people a lot worse off than I am!  The bottom line is: I don’t like pain.  I avoid it at all costs. 

Then, I watch the show HOARDERS and think…O.k.  Just pull a truck up to the back door and we’ll just throw EVERYTHING out!

They tell me that that’s not a sane option.  We know something has to be done.  The house has to be cleaned up once in a while, because people live here and life gets messy.  We collect things and don’t even realize that some things have snuck in.

Some things have become such a part of the house, that I don’t know if I should give it, throw it or keep it. Fear has a way of lurking around the corners and hiding behind the boxes. I am always trying to get rid of it, but, it’s like the dust.

In a renovation, no matter how many times you dust the whole house, and try to keep the basement door shut, that fine layer of dust seems to coat everything. At first you don’t notice, but, when you go to wipe ONE thing, it becomes so apparent that there’s no recourse but to finish dusting the whole item. Next thing you know, you’re working your way around the room, and just when you think you’re done, you notice the trim and borders around the room, and ceiling fan. It hides everywhere. It seems you’ll never totally get rid of it; and if you ever do, the workers will show up again, sand a certain piece of a wall, and Voila, you have DUST again!

 Fear works the same way. Hiding right out in the open. Just when you think you’ve got it all, it shows up again in another place.

Sometimes you can be in denial, and it’s not till someone takes their finger and wipes it across the desktop of your heart and you see the true color that you can admit, there’s a fine layer of fear there.

So, we allow the renovations. The disruptions of our lives take over and we hope and pray that when it’s all done, we’ll be better for it.  The trial was finished. What a relief. Wipe my hands, and think, “Whew, that’s done!”  Only to turn around and notice that although the renovation God was working on me was finished, there is still a lot of work to be done.

God only has our best interest at heart. He, who began a good work in me, will be able to complete it! Philippians 1:6

God is not like a human contractor who will take your money and do a half job, he has a vested interest in completing the job, He completes it because he lives there!

Written by:

Sharon Macdonald

Filed under: Discipleship