Most women love jewelry, flowers or candy for Valentine’s Day. Not this girl. I asked for a closet organizer. Weird, I know. But when anything in my life is cluttered, it causes me anxiety.
As I watched my husband install it, my heart leapt for joy. I filled garbage bags with clothes hidden so long I forgot I had them and swept the dirt out until everything had a place.
When I was done, I felt something: I felt joy. It took a lot of perseverance to get there, but the thought that my closet would never become out of control again was worth every minute of effort I put into it.
The next morning, my back hurt, and my muscles throbbed from a job well done, but I still felt weighed down, just in a different way. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. That was until a church conflict soon reared its ugly head.
Suddenly, all the old emotions from the betrayal emerged as if they had been on the surface all along. I realized I hadn’t dealt effectively with everything I had felt regarding the tension.
I knew I had to forgive, but I didn’t feel like it. Little by little, that unwillingness crept into my soul and cluttered it, much like the excess of all those cute skirts and tops.
Lysa Teukeurst, in her book, Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, talked about an exercise her counselor had her do after reeling from her husband’s betrayal. He had her write out on index cards each offense he had committed against her. Then she spoke out each offense with this statement:
“I choose to forgive ________ for __________. And whatever my feelings can’t catch up to, the blood of Christ will cover.”
Just like my closet, my soul needed to be organized and swept clean. So I did what Lysa did. I dotted my journal’s lines with words so strong that to say them out loud might make people question who my God really is. I prayed and cried out to God with weeping. But I did the back-breaking, gut-wrenching work my soul needed. I came out of it not only with the emotional and mental freedom a child of God deserves but with a testimony of such goodness and mercy it would make any Father of that child proud.
How about you?
Is your soul cluttered, weighed down by the emotional baggage that comes from bad circumstances or the hindrances of life? If you need to sweep clean your soul, try some of these strategies:
Examine your heart.
Is there unconfessed sin, unforgiveness, anger or bitterness keeping you from being free? Journal your feelings and the events tied to these feelings. If you aren’t sure what those events might be, ask the Holy Spirit.
Name the offense.
Speak out the offense using the statement outlined above. Speak out each offense individually. By doing so, you take away its power. Don’t make a blanketed statement, clumping all offenses together. Satan might try to use an individual event to lie to you and say you are still bound. Don’t let him.
Declare the truth.
Many of us forget the authority Jesus gave to each of His disciples:
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19).
Use your voice and declare the truth. Tell Satan where he truly belongs. Declare your home and church a place where the Holy Spirit is welcomed and where Satan is ousted. That is the authority we have the privilege of walking in every day. Let’s not forget where (and to whom) we belong.
Soul sweeping is tough. It takes hard work, perseverance and repentance to sweep and maintain its cleanliness. But the freedom and joy you gain is well worth the time and effort.