Empty Boxes, Overflowing Life

I have a hard time letting go. Of anything. We’ve spent the last week going through stuff that’s been packed away in storage for the past year and a half, and it’s been rough. When I say we, I mean Megan. I am going to help, I just need some time to adjust to the idea of throwing my memories away.

It used to be worse. I used to save napkins every time I’d visit Disney World — obviously because a person needs a collection of vintage, 100% recyclable napkins. (An Oprah special on hoarding helped me get over that one.) Then again, paper napkins don’t seem so bad next to the poof-a-scent-every-five-minutes air freshener from my college apartment I’m still keeping. For now, anyway.

I suppose it’s time to toughen up, though. The reality is I hadn’t thought of most of that boxed stuff the entire time it was hidden from my sight…and that’s kind of my problem. I don’t want to forget. There’s something about that old air freshener that brings me right back to that old apartment, to the excitement and nervousness of pursuing a new relationship, and to Megan, back when she wore really ugly clothes in a compelling, I-love-you-so-much-I-can-overlook-your-taste-in-fashion kind of way. Sigh.

I think one of the scariest stories in the Bible is when the rich, young guy asks Jesus what he can do to live forever, and Jesus tells him to get rid of all his stuff and follow Him. The rich guy goes away sad because, obviously, he has lots of stuff. And maybe even an air-conditioned storage unit of memories.

So, where does that leave me, aside from in the valley of the shadow of a bunch of Home Depot boxes? Thinking. Thinking that I’m attributing value to things not because I really value the things themselves, but because I value the comfort, security and warm-fuzzy feelings they give me. Letting go of my air freshener isn’t letting go of my past, it’s letting go of past things so I can follow Jesus into the future He has for me.

I don’t think Jesus asks us to give up stuff because he’s a minimalist; I think it’s because He has crazy amounts of grace, blessings and love to pour into our lives, and we need all the space we’ve got to make room for it. I think He wants us to be free from stuff that literally and, a lot of times, figuratively weighs us down. And not just so we can be free (because that’d really be empty), but so we can be open for Him, for Love.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” — Jesus

Thinking, Thinking…Bam!

Earlier tonight, I had some quiet time with God. It was nice, but I left my solitude feeling a bit uneasy. The room was quiet, but I wasn’t able to quiet my mind. I was hoping for a little burning bush moment, but I just kind of sat there. So, I came downstairs, plopped on a chair next to my entrepreneurial wife (she’s making jewelry), and started scrolling through my Twitter feed. When all else fails, Twitter tends to offer at least 140 characters of wisdom. Sad, I know.

I started tweeting and eventually iMessaging a friend: “I don’t understand God. He’s too big. And I think too much.”

I went on with what has become a bit of a schtick with me, only it’s my life. Sometimes I think so much, I feel outside of myself and wonder which thoughts and emotions are authentic and which are fabricated because I think I should be thinking or feeling a certain way. It can be crippling if I don’t stop to breathe. I sat in my chair, dizzy with thoughts.

“All this worrying isn’t of God.” Bam. God used my friend to break through the confusion and make it clear: I’m not thinking, I’m worrying.

I’m beyond being an introverted, thoughtful artist. I’ve become somebody who doesn’t fully trust in God, and Him alone. I’ve tricked myself into believing my own thoughtfulness is sensitivity instead of a complete disregard for the Truth that lives in my heart. I’ve become a person of little faith.

Ouch — right to the heart. Burning bush moment achieved.

I know my struggle with worry probably won’t end tonight, but I also know that the Living God loves me enough to break through the noise and confusion inside my head to remind me He’s good, He’s intimately involved in my life, and He’s happy with who He created me to be.

And that — the reality of the God of the universe being crazy in love with me, sinful, worrying me — that just blows my mind.