Have you ever been caught off guard by an unexpected visit? I'm talking about the kind that sent you running around the house, cleaning up all the little messes as fast as you could. Maybe you didn't have time to run the vacuum or wash all the dirty dishes, but somehow you were able to make the place look rather presentable and welcoming.
Has this ever happened to you?
Unless you're a Martha (either of the Stewart name or of Bethany fame), I am guessing you know what I'm talking about. Even if you are a Martha, I bet it has happened a time or two. ; )
My favorite tactic for speed cleaning is stuffing any extraneous items in the closet. What's yours?
In the same way our physical clutter gets stuffed into the closets of our homes, our spiritual clutter finds its way into the closets of our hearts.
When you run into a friend at Target, do you grab the bitterness that is showing on your face over a fight with your loved one and hide it in the depths of your spirit?
When you run into your pastor at the grocery store on aisle 9, do you automatically hide the discontent you were just showing your kids on aisle 4? Chances are, discontent found itself behind a closed door at the sight of your earthly Shepherd.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think there's anything wrong with setting your feelings aside for the sake of a pleasant conversation; however, the problem remains in the closet of your heart and needs to be dealt with at some point.
If you continue to stuff your feelings inside the closets of your heart, pretty soon there will be no room left and we all know what happens when the junk flows out of the closets and clutters up the place... there is an overflow that causes major congestion. We then tend to blow up and all the stored up, stuffed in emotions come bursting out of our closets (or chest).
Often times this leads to the "ugly cry." You know the one I'm talking about. You are so distraught and so disheveled that you can't even make coherent words between sobs because everything is just too overwhelming. Other times, the emotions come out in one big fight you later regret.
The emotions do come out... eventually.
What would happen if you dealt with your emotions on a daily basis? Better yet, what would happen if you tended to them the moment they surfaced?
In Chapter 13, you may have discovered some feelings you didn't even know existed. I hope you took the time to search the depths of your heart. I hope you found the ancient ruins of your past and drug them out of the closet... into the light... so you could put them in their place.
We all need to clean out our closets.
Isn't it always easier when we don't let them get out of hand?
Stop, Drop and Pray for the hearts of the people you care about. I hope you'll be happy to know that there is already an answered prayer on our list!