It is an amazing TV program – Hoarding – about individuals whose homes turn into massive junk piles of hoarded stuff, new (shopping issues), old (garbage) and interesting collections totally out of control. It often takes trucks to clean the pile out.
My purpose is not to criticize those who suffer from this condition as there are usually underlying psychological and neurological issues at play. Rather it occurred to me as I watched that the same thing easily happens in our own lives – hidden inside – just like the homes of hoarders look pretty normal from the outside.
It is the accumulation of stuff in our lives that start to distract us from our calling and a healthy life. It can be the accumulation of the expectations of others, out of control schedules, and distractions that keep us from time with God and living out our calling. It can be relational disconnects, attitudes, sinful tendencies, addictions or simply issues that we know we should address but have not. Over time, the accumulation of this stuff in our lives becomes a burden, a distraction, and we long for the simplicity of a life without the junk – good junk and bad junk that we ought to shed. The truth is that like hoarders, we often do not even realize that we are accumulating stuff in our lives that is unhealthy – it just creeps up on us.
How do we clean out the rooms of our lives and shed that is distracting? Periodically, we ought to ask ourselves some reflective questions:
- Is there anything in my life that the Holy Spirit has been talking to me about?
- Are there any relationships that are broken where I could seek reconciliation?
- Do I have anyone that I need to forgive?
- Are there things in my schedule that are good but that distract me from the best?
- Are there some key commitments I need to make that I currently don’t have time for?
- How am I doing with spending time with God?
- Is my relationship with my spouse and children healthy, vibrant and growing?
- What one thing could I change today that would make a major difference in my life?
Dealing with the accumulated stuff in our personal lives can be a liberating and deeply freeing experience. Living with the stuff we hang on to but that we don’t need or don’t want keeps us from being everything we want to be.