This morning, my thoughts have been on the new year, which will be here in just a few short hours. I’m not big on resolutions, because I never keep them. Why deal with that guilt, right? But, having said that, there are a few goals I would like to accomplish.
The house. The longer we live here, the more cluttered it becomes. I’m at the point where I fear we may be heading in the direction of ‘hoarding.’ Gracious, the stuff we’ve accumulated over nearly 45 years of life together! Where to begin?
Well, let’s start with my pictures. I have lots. A couple years ago, I scanned and cataloged the pictures I had thrown into boxes. Now they are sorted into containers by year. I did cull them a bit by giving BIG boxes of pictures to our kids, our siblings, and other folks who I felt would get pleasure out of them. Still, even after that process, I have three shelves of cataloged, boxed, and protected pictures. They tell the story of our lives, before we were married and our many married years. Get rid of those pictures? Actually, I think I’ll hold on to them awhile. What I will do is appoint a picture guardian for a future date, to be determined by lots of factors, mainly my death. No, those pictures aren’t going anywhere for a while (God willing!).
My dishes. A couple of cabinets and dish chests boast dishes of bygone days, when entertaining was a big part of our lives–serving dishes, casserole dishes, “fancy” dishes my mama gave me. Also, a set of Christmas dishes (I had two; gave one set to our daughter) and two sets of China (had three; gave one to our daughter). We don’t entertain so much anymore, and those dishes haven’t been used in several years. I think “maybe” I can dispense with a few of those. Maybe.
Clothes. Closets, drawers, storage boxes filled with clothes–of several sizes. How long will we continue to hang onto those clothes that no longer fit (but may someday)? The space these items consume! I can get rid of some clothes and never miss them. The problem is that as I clean out and am reminded of these items, I think to myself that it’s just such a nice piece of clothing and maybe I can wear it again; so back in the keep pile it goes.
You see my dilemma? And that doesn’t even begin to cover everything. Christmas and seasonal decorations, office supplies (yes, office supplies in abundance!), books–y’all, I have at least eight Bibles!–art supplies, craft supplies… And that’s just my stuff. It’s a lot, I tell you, and somehow I must steel myself to clean out some of it, to begin uncluttering our lives. Someday we will have to move out of this large home into a smaller one, and it won’t all fit. I don’t want to get to the point that I have to make rush decisions about the life I’ve gathered around myself–the “things” I’ve loved and that have filled my days.
My husband and I were discussing this recently, and we arrived at the realization that what we have, what we love, what was so important for our lives may not be as important to the folks who must someday clean it out. If we don’t take steps to clean it out and dispose of items as we wish to the folks we would love to have those things, they may just get chucked out a window into a dumpster and hauled away as trash.
So, 2021 will be the year of deep cleaning and re-assignment of much of that which fills our attics and closets. It may not be easy to do this, but it really is necessary.
What about spiritual cleansing? What do I need to discard in 2021, what do I need to give away?
A biggie here–Anxiety. WAY too many mornings I’ve awoken (awaked? awakened?) with anxiety pressing in hard on my chest. It takes a few minutes to shake the pressure from my soul. I struggled with anxiety for most of 2020, and I won some mighty big battles against it because of God’s faithful and favorable presence. For this, I am thankful. In 2021, my goal is to begin earlier with the positive God-thoughts, to speak aloud the promises of God before I go to sleep and as soon as I awake each day. It’s the best way I know to ease that anxiety. Also, it works! The victories I experienced in 2020 help me to know that greater blessings are ahead in 2021 if I keep this daily goal in mind.
Anger. 2020 was the year of anger for me. Not a burning, righteous anger as much as just being plain mad at what is happening in our lives and in our world. Most of those who know me know that I have strong feelings about the subject of what politicians have done to our country this last year. I won’t go into detail because that’s not the point of this post. Suffice it to say, my anger took away moments I could have been doing something beneficial for my family, myself, and God’s kingdom. I have repented of the unrighteous moments of anger, and my desire is to pray more and fume less in 2021. May it be so.
Despair. Despair… It took me until the final month of 2020 to see this, but I finally understand that our lives are on the path chosen by God, for many purposes: to rely on God more heavily than our own understanding; to love despite all the disappointments thrown in our path; and most importantly, to realize that this life, this very life that God has placed on us is for His glory, to show the world that NO MATTER WHAT, He is in control. What we have experienced and learned from the experiences is to be shared with those who travel the same life situations. Cancer, loss, unexpected and painful events–everyone has their own list. What we do with that list tells the world what we think about God. Do we love Him like we say we do? Does the world see that?
Christianity is not a one and done process. The day I asked Jesus to be my Savior, my walk began. That walk will continue until the day I step into His presence. Growth never stops; we never reach the point of full maturity on this earth. Each day is a new opportunity for us to learn more about God by allowing Him to work through our circumstances.
With God leading, I believe by faith that I’m up for the challenge in 2021. I pray I am. Already I know of events that will take place in 2021 that will bring challenges.
Happy New Year, y’all. May God bless you and bring you peace.