I have a junk drawer. Don’t we all? It’s that place you put all the little items you can’t be bothered finding a home for anywhere else. It’s a handy spot for concert tickets, boarding passes, and every ‘knick-knack’ imaginable. Here, we park things we’re not quite ready to throw out… Rubber bands? They might come in useful one day… Safety pins? Why not hoard a few, just in case…
We moved house late last year and are just preparing to move again. The thing is, when we relocate, the junk drawer remains untouched. Moving generally provides an opportunity to sort out what’s really worth keeping from what isn’t. But our junk drawer just gets transported from one home to the next. It’s shaped like any other box, which we stack on top of the other drawers. So the junk remains, unattended to. And with each year it gets more and more jammed full of forgettable, unused stuff. Everything else in the house is given attention, but it remains… forever junky.
We can tend to think a change will fix everything – that moving houses, or jobs, or relationships, will solve our problems. But while the externals and the dynamics of our life might change – and certainly these shifts can be helpful and necessary – there are some very central parts of us that don’t in the process (if we’re not aware of them). We usually just move whatever junk we have to another location. We keep running with the same heavy backpack.
We can carry around emotional junk for years without realising how it’s impacting us. On the surface, we might look OK – so we can convince the people around us everything is fine: ‘I just found a job – so relieved!’ ‘I just had a baby – life’s busy!’ ‘Just got a pay rise – so I’m good!’ ‘How are you? Busy? Yeah, I know, it’s crazy hey…’
And meanwhile it slowly dawns on us, that despite the change, nothing really has changed. Not deep inside. And we might just have to tip the junk out in front of someone else before we realise what’s there exactly.
I have upended my ‘stuff’ many times, in many contexts – but there are still issues I need to sort through (of course). Thankfully my ‘tidying up’ skills have improved with practice. My ability to sort things out is better than it used to be. But I still need God’s help. He has the ability to help me wade through the mess that keeps accumulating, and also remind me how far I’ve come in his strength. And he has been changing me – over the years – from the inside out, with his unending supply of love and wise counsel. God doesn’t encourage hoarding – but rather, offloading. And believe me, he can take a load off better than anyone I know…
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest…”
(Matthew 11:28 NLT)