Last weekend I spent a considerable amount of time cleaning and organizing my basement. Since I am a bit of a pack-rat, the place had a lot of stuff (actually, it still does).
As I went through the items, it was clear that I had two main categories: things that “belonged in there” and needed just to be organized, identified and shelved; and things that “didn’t belong in there at all”, and needed to move to another place, or just be thrown away.
This can be a time consuming project, and the worst part comes when you have something that you know it shouldn’t be there, but you don’t want to let go.
It made me think about how many things we allow in our lives that don’t belong in there. They just clutter the place.
And this can happen in almost any area that I can think: professional, social, spiritual, in the family…
Many years ago I found a somewhat obscure story in the Bible that illustrates what I am talking about:
When Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem some leaders from the neighboring lands were opposing him very strongly. Among them there was a guy named Tobiah. He and his allied did whatever they could to make Nehemiah stop the project, but he persisted and completed it. Later, after Nehemiah had been absent for sometime, he came back and found Tobiah using one of the rooms of the temple in Jerusalem (thanks to some close relations with the priest). This room was supposed to be used for storage of offerings and temple articles. In other words, Tobiah and his furniture didn’t belong in there. So, Nehemiah threw everything out of the room, and had it purified and put back to its intended purpose.
So, when I look at my life, I think: What do I have here that doesn’t belong? Is it a relationship that shouldn’t be there? Is it a habit or an attitude? What are the things that, if they stay, they can ruin a lot of good things around it?
If you identify something like that, the only choice is to throw it away, even if you like it a lot (like some of my junk in the basement).