Recently, in what seemed like a fruitless quest to find something good to watch on Netflix, I came across a show called Hoarders. It’s one of those shows that involves a psychologist who attempts to help people make a full recovery from a life-long illness in two days. Aside from that foolishness, it is an interesting show. I learned from it that 19 million people in America suffer from hoarding disorder.
I enjoy rooting for the people who are being buried alive in their own houses. They bravely agree to let strangers come into their houses and film their mess in exchange for help getting rid of their stuff and their problems. A psychologist comes in with a cleanup crew and talks with the hoarder about what they are willing to get rid of. They set up an area outside the house and have the crew bring things out to the yard. The psychologist talks with the person about each item, asking if it’s okay to throw it away. If the person wants to keep it, the psychologist will explain why it should probably go. But they will never force the person to throw anything away. Sometimes, family members are there trying to tell the hoarder to get rid of this and that, but the family members tend to make it worse. They try to just throw everything away without asking.
Some people think we don’t need God. But the truth is, God is the space outside our minds where we can remove the clutter in our heads that threatens to bury us. If we open our hearts to him, he will show up with dump trucks driven by angels. Then he will stand next to us as we remove long-buried pieces of garbage, like anger, resentment, pain, lust, fear, disappointment. As we sort through them, he’ll ask “keep or throw away?” We can move our mental and spiritual garbage outside while we decide what to do with it. And in the outside daylight of God, we see more clearly what stuff is good enough to keep and what stuff should be thrown away.
God will stand by us and gently nudge us to make the right decisions, but he won’t force us to throw anything away. He might point out that what we are wanting to hold on to has been soaking in rat feces and urine for a long time and that it is making us sick. If it seems like something perfectly clean and good, he might point out that we don’t really need it at that time and that the little house of our mind doesn’t have room for it just yet. And he’ll remind us that if our house is clean, we will have room for the stuff that really makes us happy: time with friends, fellowship with others, communion and joy.
At any time, we can abandon the process of cleaning. We can kick God out. We can tell him to take his dump trucks and helpful angels away, and he will oblige. But he won’t go far. He’ll wait. Eventually, when the clutter in our minds gets too much, he’ll be there for us again, asking “What do you want to throw away today?”
You can have my shame today, God.
You can have my fear.
You can have my grudges.
Just make my mind clear!