Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hoarders of the heart

**I thought this sounded like a good idea for a post, but now that it is finished, I am not so sure. It may be.......just dumb. However, I spent a lot of time on it, so I hate to delete it, so whether it is bad or good, here it is:

I personally don't know anyone who is a true hoarder. I have a lot of books, but I wouldn't say I am a hoarder. From what I understand of a hoarder, they hoard stuff that isn't even useful, or at least not in the large amounts that they hoard it. And the really bad hoarders have the rooms of their house so full, they have paths through the junk.

 There's even a TV show about hoarders. I've never seen it, nor do I want to. What could be so fun about watching people who are practically buried in junk they are hoarding? I have many better ways to use my time.

  Hoarding is not only abnormal, it can be dangerous. There's more risk of fire, risk of stacks toppling and injuring or burying the hoarder, risks of blocking exits needed if there is a fire, risk of being kicked out of the house when it becomes unlivable. It is a really bad thing all around. Plus, everyone thinks you're weird.

  But what if we were all secret hoarders and no one knew? What if we really weren't aware of it?

  A few years ago, I read a Christian fiction book everyone should read, even if they normally don't read Christian fiction: Rooms by James Rubart, A young man inherits a large house on the beach, and it turns out to be his heart, full of different rooms. It is a different type of fiction book that does more than entertain. But what if our hearts were really like a house, with different rooms? What would be in them? Could you even find your way through the rooms, or would they be full of things we hoard? And it might be a weird way to think of it, but we do hoard. Let's step into fictional John's heart:

Room #1: You can't see much except stacks of really, really ugly things. Ugly things that stink. And the path through the mess is so narrow, you can hardly fit through, Risking bodily harm, you pull an item from a shorter stack and examine it. Resentment. And under it, it another resentment. You look around and realize the endless stacks in this room are all resentment. Years and years of it. You wind your way through the room to get to the next room.

Room #2: This room is stacked to the ceiling, and it is even harder to get through. You bump one stack, and it crashes to the floor, the items shattering into a million pieces. Whatever it is, it is very fragile. Picking up one of the shards, it reads "hurts". Trying to avoid the countless broken pieces, you step into the third room.

Room #3: You cover your ears as you enter this room. Whatever is stacked all over the room is loud. So loud, it covers any other sound and it is hard to even think. Wanting to get out as fast as you can, yet curious, you search for a stack short enough to reach, but they all seem to be to the ceiling, and almost wall to wall. Finally,  you spy one lying on the floor that had fallen off a stack. You pick it up to see one word emblazoned across it: worry. Clapping your hands over your ears, you rush onto another unexplored room.

Room #4: This room has a terrible feeling to it. A strong sense of foreboding, and you shiver, though not from cold. You feel like someone is peering over your shoulder, but no one is there. You reach out to pull something off of the stack, and realize your hand is shaking. Something falls off of another stack with a loud bang, and you jump a foot, dropping what you're holding. You stare down at it to see a short word on it: fear. You run out of this room to get away from the creepy feeling you can't shake.

Room #5: The next room is locked. And there is no key hanging around. Your curiosity gets the best of you, so you decide to try the old credit card trick, and to your delight, it works. The door squeaks open to reveal total darkness. You fumble for a light switch, but there doesn't seem to be one. Creeping slowly into the room, you immediately stumble into a slimy stack of something. Fortunately it doesn't fall. And the smell. It is worse than a skunk and sewer combined. You want to leave and close the door on the foul room, but you just have to know what was locked away in this room. Your foot hits something on the floor. Although totally grossed out, you pick it up between two fingertips and pull it out to the light to see "shame" scribbled across it. Tossing it back into the room, you slam the door shut, wiping your fingers on your pant legs.

Room #6: This door is closed, but not locked. You slowly open it and peer inside. To your surprise, there's a man sitting inside the room. There are no stacks of anything, just a man. He smiles, so you step into the room, thinking to yourself how familiar he looks. Then you see his hands. They are nail-scarred, and you realize this has to be Jesus. He nods to verify your thoughts are correct. You start to ask the question, but don't, not wanting to be rude "Why don't you get rid of all this trash in the other rooms of his heart?" But He, being Jesus, reads your thoughts. With a sad look, he answers "He won't let me. For me to get rid of the resentments, fears, worries, shame..... he would have to surrender it to me and let it go, and he can't, so it keeps piling up."

  There are still more rooms to explore, but you have had enough. You head for the exit, and see other rooms that are labeled: Joy, peace, love.....". In spite of your desire to get out of this place, you peek in the first, and it is empty. So are the next two. The reality hits you. John is so busy hoarding the bad stuff, he has no time to fill his heart with the good things. Shaking your head in sadness, you exit the heart, realizing soon there will be no room left in this heart for Jesus, for He will be crowded out by the negative and bad things John is hoarding, If there is anything left of John by that point.

   That was just a weird illustration I dreamed up, partly inspired by the book I read a few years ago, and partly from thinking about hoarders. But it does happen. We come to Jesus, and He wipes the slate completely clean, but if you're like me, it is hard to let go of some things. For me:

Unforgiveness - a lot of it aimed at myself

  And although our hearts don't have literal rooms, or stacks of "stuff" all over the place, we do basically hoard negative things in our hearts. But it is even more dangerous than physical hoarding. It can be bad for us physically, but more importantly, it can be dangerous for us spiritually. It can drown Jesus out to the point we aren't even sure He is there anymore.

  But we keep on hoarding.

  Why is it so hard to give Jesus everything? It is often easier to give Him the outward - our money, our families. But it is harder to let go of the inner "stuff." We want to hold onto those things, And some things come so naturally, like worry and fear, it is hard to truly trust Him and let go of what is bad for us and is holding us back.

  But just like there is hope for the hoarders who hoard in their physical house, there is hope for we hoarders of the heart. It takes a lot of prayer, and leaning on God and truly trusting Him. But if we take those steps, He will take it all. All of the worry, resentment, shame, guilt, and everything else that we hold on to.

  I'm not there yet, but it is my aim to be. I don't want to be a hoarder of those things, There are better things to hoard, but yet they aren't really things we CAN hoard. They will overflow to others, which is the way it should be:
Good will

And more.
The answer is Jesus. It always has been, and always will be.

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