I was listening to a friend talk about her experience with a hoarder recently–helping to clean out a house filled with more than a lifetime of stuff. Everywhere were boxes of worthless junk alongside never worn clothes tags still on. As my friend spoke of trying to clear out the hoarders house, I imagined the scene… and I realized that I am a hoarder too.
Or at least I was. I think a lot of us don’t like to admit it, but that’s exactly what we are before we meet Jesus and before he starts cleaning up our hearts.
I was a hoarder of my sin. I hoarded it all in the dark rooms of my heart because I wasn’t ready to let God come in and do His work to change me. I hoarded unforgiveness and bitterness. I hoarded self-loathing and never feeling good enough. I hoarded comparison and rivalry. I hoarded anxiety, control of plans for life, my importance and selfishness.
Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of good things in there too. There was love and happiness and kindness. But I wasn’t letting God be my God. I was my god. I hung on to so many things that I wanted or things I couldn’t let go of that were not meant for me as a child of God. I held onto me instead of seeking Jesus. Thank you Jesus for your mercy and love and grace and help…you didn’t let me stay there.
I heard God knocking on the doors of my hoarding heart for a long time when I was younger and for a long time I thought God was good, but bible reading and praying and spending time with God was for other people– not me. I felt like I couldn’t quite go to God with all my crap sitting in all those dark rooms. But God is light and He broke down the door as I said yes to baptism, to reading His word, and talking to Him daily…sometimes all. day. long. And to seeking Him over everything else in life.
Slowly, He has cleared out the rooms as I seek Him and give Him control of my life, my decisions, and my relationships. He has opened up the windows and flooded my heart with His love, joy, peace, and goodness. I love the person He is building in me through His Spirit, and at the same time I feel sad sometimes for the insecure girl that used to live there.
There’s still some crap to move out. And there are always new issues trying to find a place to hide in my heart. But as I live relationally with God now, I know He will continue His work on this recovering hoarder’s heart.
Hoarding our sin digs us deeper into our sin, but as we give it to God and are just thankful for His forgiveness, transformation starts to happen. On the flip side, we must be careful not to then become hoarders of God.
As I got closer and closer to God I read His word with a thirst that could not be quenched. I wanted to know more about Him, more about His love for me, more about His forgiveness for me, more about all the ways He could live and breathe and affect my life. I read my bible to benefit me and my life. For a while I didn’t realize that once we have God at our core, our real work begins.
Jesus told us to go and make disciples of all (wo)men and love each other– and those commands are not about me, it’s about showing Jesus to others. So that’s what I have tried to do. Whether it’s starting a bible study, ministering to broken women, talking daily and intentionally to our children about Jesus, being brave and talking about Christ to our co-workers, literally loving our neighbors with meals, meaningful conversations, and prayer…the list of ways to show and tell the good news of Jesus to others are endless if we let God use us.
I can’t be a God hoarder anymore. I can’t walk around knowing the love of Christ anymore without sharing that goodness and amazing blessing with my people and my community. Guys we have to let this big cat out of the Sunday bag and let Jesus shine out to all we meet all week long. You are so important in God’s mission to love the world if you want to be. We can’t keep hoarding to ourselves the love and grace God has shown us, we have to extend that boldly and invite everyone around us into the crazy love of Christ.
So that’s part of my testimony. God saved me from being a hoarder of sin, saved me from being a self-focused-Christian-God-hoarder, really… He saved me from me. And I am so beyond thankful to go serve and testify about a God who cares enough to lift all the heavy boxes from my heart with me.