on spring cleaning and the hard work of healing

So, when I moved out of my last apartment I was determined to clean out everything. I mean everything. I sold clothes, a microwave, even my childhood keyboard. Yet, my new place is still full of crap.

So what did I do in April? In the spirit of spring cleaning, I bought myself the new storage bins for under my bed that I’ve been wishing for and boxed up all my winter clothes to move in all my spring clothes. But halfway through (because who would I be if I actually finished something that I started?) I realized how much work it is to go through everything I own and give it a place. Plus, it’s really stinkin’ hard to get rid of things that I once deeply loved.

And do you know what you’re left with when you stop deep cleaning halfway? A freakin’ huge mess. That’s what. And I realized why I’ve been avoiding doing that for so long: it’s a lot easier to daily sift through all the annoying things that I wish were gone instead of diving into the messy, exhausting process of cleaning it all out.

And I think sometimes that’s how I view things in my heart.

There are so many heartaches that I spent years avoiding instead of dealing with, assuming they would just go away or become less of a bother. There are so many joys, so many lessons and purposes in my pain that I’ve learned way later because of my natural neglect of any and everything sad or dark or scary… because if we don’t deal with all of the things that hurt us, we’ll live our lives in a constant clutter of annoyances, wounds, and oozing hurts instead of the abundant life that Jesus offers us. I know this because I do this often… and I have a feeling I’m not the only one.

“He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds, we are healed.” -Isaiah 53:5

Friends, before we even start the hard work of healing, we can be encouraged knowing that our God was the first one to do the most painful part: giving His own life for the sake of His people. His wounds make right every wrong. His resurrection makes true forgiveness possible. His punishment brings us peace, access to God Himself and all of the comfort we could possibly need as we sort through the parts of our hearts that’ve been damaged by the winds and waves of our worlds.

Buds, Jesus’s life was filled with healing people… He made the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, and the dead live again. Do you hear me? The dead were raised to life. Lives were changed. People who had never walked on their own could now run. Those who had never heard the voices of their loved ones could now fill their ears with the music of joy. But it doesn’t stop there. Yes His life was filled with healing His people, but it was His death and resurrection that made healing possible to begin with.

Don’t let me fool you, just because Jesus already did the most painful part doesn’t make sorting through old hurts easy. Pain stinks. Wounds are the worst. I can attest that life would be a bunch easier without them. But do you know what’s better than the ease of a painless life? Looking at all of the things that have hurt us, harmed us, and wounded us and having the courage to work through them, giving each one to Jesus and letting Him heal them in ways that builds our faith in Him and allows us to speak words of encouragement to brothers and sisters bearing similar scars. It’s looking at the lies that our hurts have taught us and correcting them with the truth made possible by the wounds of our dear Lord: that in Jesus Christ we are forgiven, fully loved, clothed with His righteousness, pure, never alone, and never left behind. And the best part? Clearing the clutter of undealt-with-pains leaves room for the previously-unimaginable: living in the aftermath of things meant for our harm that God instead used for our good and the glory of His precious name.

Dear ones, let’s step into the dark corners of our hearts and replace the spiderwebs of lies with the ornaments of God’s precious truths. Let’s do the hard work of healing, knowing that our God not only made it possible, but is with us through the whole process… listening through our tears, cheering us on, and offering us life to the full with each and every step.

All my love,

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