Sometimes I amaze myself by the full blown, all out pity parties that I have – especially when they are about the silliest of things.
Like why God has given me this closet? Yes, I actually had that thought. (I am ashamed and have repented, so you can go ahead and laugh at me. It’s okay.) But I will confess the full thought here because I cannot be the only one.
It just hit me one day. I was trying to put away groceries, but the refrigerator was too full already. Likewise the pantry, so I left some non-perishables on the kitchen counter, determined to deal with them later and sat down to read my mail and pay bills. But there were stacks of papers already on my desk and even some peeking from the pigeon holes, so I just placed the new mail on top of the old stacks. On to the laundry – to fold and put away the freshly cleaned clothing. But the linen closet was already stuffed and the racks in the closet were full. And that is when the frustration set in and the pity party began.
“Lord, what is up with this little closet?! I miss the closets I used to have in my old house! Don’t you remember, Lord? Shelves organizers, drawers, space! Why did you bring me to this place? Why do I have to have these little closets?!” This might be a good time to tell you that I’ve moved into a home built in the early 1900s. The home is lovely, but people obviously didn’t build closets much less BIG closets back in those days.
And then it hit me. This is the closet that the Lord has given me. And that being the case, the problem is not the closet. The problem is the stuff. Hmm. Let’s go even deeper. Might the problem be a lack of self-discipline and self-control?
Stuffed closets, packed refrigerator, overflowing desk drawers, stacks of books and piles of papers. Even my phone’s battery drains because of all the apps I’ve downloaded, the texts I’ve sent and the pictures I’ve taken. Let’s not talk about email inboxes!
It is not the closet (Forgive me, Lord!); it is me. It is my lack of self-control and self-discipline.
Okay, so my closet is overstuffed and my desk is junky. “Is that a sin?” you ask. Well, let’s turn to the Scriptures.
We are instructed by Titus 1:7-8 (ESV) to “be above reproach…to not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.
Galatians 5:22-23 teaches us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,(and) self-control.
It is 1 Peter 5:8-9 (EXB) that most makes clear the problem for me. “Control [Discipline] yourselves and be ·careful [alert]! The devil, your enemy, ·goes around [prowls] like a roaring lion looking for someone to ·eat [devour]. ·Refuse to give in to [Resist] him…”
Overstuffed closets, junky desks and even full mailboxes may not be sins, but the questions that they should raise in us include “Are these things – having them and pursuing more – interfering with my relationship with God?” “Is all my time spent dealing with my stuff?” “Does the clutter of the stuff rob me of peace?”
Proverbs 25:28 says, “A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.” (MSG) That kinda summarizes how I felt the day I had the “too little closet pity party,” like the doors and windows had been knocked out and a wind was blowing through the house creating havoc in every room. And therein lay my problem – no peace and no contentment because of too much stuff.
You may be fine with your closets and your stuff, but this week examine your peace and contentment. Determine to take whatever action necessary to deal with those things that rob you of the peace and contentment Paul describes to us in Philippians 4. As for me, I’ve learned to be content with the closet that God gave me!