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One of my wife’s hobbies is stopping at those little junk shops along the highway where every nook and cranny is overflowing with things.
Her hope is that she is going to find that one unique treasure that will fill some niche in our home or it will be the best gift ever for a friend.
The reality is that mostly we are disappointed. We walk through, find nothing worth buying and then move on. But there are times when I’m unsettled by all of the things I see there.
And I believe it is the Holy Spirit speaking to me when this happens. And what I realize are two things.
First I’m amazed at the variety of creative items that have been manufactured over the last 100 years. Clearly human beings have been busy creating every gadget and decorative item possible.
And secondly I’m appalled at the unlimited variety of things we collect and hang on to. Then I start having questions.
I wonder why we keep certain items, what makes them special and whether we realized the hidden cost to our everyday happiness and joy.
Consider my mom.
Early in her marriage I can see that she was stylish, beautiful, and clearly a capable woman. She had big goals and was a top student, even earning multiple college degrees.
But something changed inside of her. In the last 25 years of her life every flat surface in her home was covered with something. Tiny walking trails ran through the apartment just wide enough to move.
To her, these piles of things were the treasures of her life. She felt better about herself being surrounded by them and somehow they gave her life meaning. But they limited who she was and who she could have been.
God has reminded me that I am a hoarder too. And perhaps you are one as well. We just hoard different things.
You see, my hoarding is better hidden from the casual eye.
It consists of the many things I’ve collected from my past. It is that unresolved hurt, that lingering disappointment, the critical comments I repeat about myself, my tormenting fears, those things I want to hide and ignore, the half-truths I struggle with and of course my most memorable failures.
These are unsorted piles of things I need to deal with. But I don’t. And likely won’t. They are my “junk treasures”. And I cannot find freedom when I hold on to them.
These junk treasures are what hold me down and limit what God wants to do in my life. Others see the negative influence on my life but I’m mostly blind to it. I think it’s no big deal. That I’m over it. That others are just making a bigger deal than they should. But maybe they aren’t.
In Matthew, Jesus talks much of treasure. He tells us where to lay up treasure (in Heaven). And what is to be our true treasure (a transformational relationship with Him and the Father).
But let’s be honest. For many “good” reasons, the temptation is to accept and live with our “junk treasures”. We look to them for meaning, identity, comfort and value rather than our relationship with Jesus.
I’m sure that nothing satisfies our enemy more than to see us carry these junk treasures around one more day, one more week, one more month or one more year. And to his even greater satisfaction, some of us will carry them all the way to our death.
But we have a choice. We can listen to what others are pointing out to us and not invalidate their caring concerns. We can stop offering the hollow excuses and confront our tendency to ignore our issues.
So take a moment to discuss with your spouse and close friends. Choose to find freedom from the past.
What would they point out in your life that you are needlessly clinging to? What excuses do you offer that they don’t really believe?
Don’t miss what God wants to do because you are clinging tightly to fears and excuses. Don’t be a human junk shop collecting things no one else needs or will ever want. Because there are true treasures calling for your attention.
- Where am I unwilling to accept advice and counsel from those who love me the most?
- What do I regularly excuse in my life that I know I need to grow out of?
- What half-truths do I tell myself to justify my junk?
- What is it costing me to hang on to my junk treasures when in a few years they won’t matter?