It wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t all at once. It happened slowly. Junk from our house. Junk from our yard. Junk from work. A little bit from here and a little bit from there. Junk… just JUNK! Every time junk came in we casually put it into our side yard. It wasn’t that big of a deal. Our neighbors couldn’t see our side yard. The only time we ever went into our side yard was to put in more junk. This practice eventually became routine. However, in the back of my mind I knew I would need to deal with all this junk at some point.
The day arrived. We ordered a dumpster. After a few hours and a few scrapes we had our side yard back. As I was moving the junk to the dumpster I thought about the parallels between the physical junk I was moving and the emotional junk we hold onto in our hearts and minds.
- There were a bunch of small things. It wasn’t like we were sitting around the dinner table and one of us said, “Hey, we should fill our side yard up with junk.” It just sort of happened that way. We weren’t intentional about keeping the area clear. Most of the junk we hold onto in our hearts and minds builds up over time. It comes from the people closest to us speaking into our lives, it is the media we digest influencing our perception. It is a lot of little words and little actions do by us or to us that we just set aside.
- There were a few big things. We had a pipe break in our bathroom earlier in the year. I cleared out all the sheetrock, some of the flooring, and the toilet. Yup, into the side yard it went. Some of the junk we hold onto is significant, life altering. It could be any number of things, an addiction, abuse, the loss of a loved one, a failed dream, the loss of a job, a broken marriage, the list goes on.
- It became a bigger than it should have. The junk just started piling up. Before we knew it we had an overwhelming amount. We needed to schedule a dumpster and rearrange our week to make it work. It became a whole ordeal. It would have been easier to deal with as each item came up. Some of the items could have been dealt with immediately. Some of the items would have taken more time initially, but saved us time in the long run. The longer we put off dealing with the junk that inhabits our hearts and minds the bigger ordeal it becomes.
There is something strangely satisfying about hearing lightbulbs pop as they hit a dumpster. Getting rid of junk is incredibly freeing. Here are some ways to get rid of Junk and to keep your hearts and minds clear:
- Preach to yourself the Gospel. We stand with confidence because we are made in the image of God and yet we stand in humility because we are sinners saved by grace. It is important to continue to renew your mind of your identity in Christ. What Jesus says about you is more important than what anyone else says about you. “assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:21–24, ESV)
- Capture Every Thought. The world tends lean into one of two extremes. Either you are a slave to your emotions (as long as it feels good do it) or you are not supposed to feel any emotions (quit feeling that way). The Gospel of Jesus allows us to filter our emotions. Getting rid of junk is not forgetting, it’s moving forward in an appropriate way. I appreciate Jud Wilhite who said, “Capture your thoughts before your thoughts capture you.” “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV)
- Forgive Others. We live in a broken world with broken people. Broken people hurt each other. If you are honest with yourself and with God you will recognize that you have hurt people. However, by the grace of Jesus we have been forgiven. When we recognize how desperately we need someone to save us from our sin, we will reciprocate that same forgiveness to others. I have been forgiven so much, how can I not forgive you?!“bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:13, ESV)
What junk, thoughts or attitudes, has settled into your heart or mind that you need to throw away?