Making Room for Something New

Tell me I’m not the only one that cannot believe that Thanksgiving is over and it is now the Christmas season, officially.  I’m not ready.  If this gives you any indication of my Christmas preparedness right now, last week, I finally put my 4th of July “decorations” away.  I wouldn’t really call them decorations. There more like leftovers from parades that float around my house for months until I can wrangle it all together and find a place to store it.

Why do I keep this stuff? It would literally end up on the street if we didn’t pick it up. But then once it’s in my possession I’m like, “Well, I can’t throw it out, now. We’re half way to the 4th of July. I might as well keep it.” And that’s how it happens. It’s so subtle, this accumulation of stuff. And it practically takes an act of congress to get rid of it.

Let’s say, I’m president of the house and all the stuff in it (I’m doing my husband a favor here, ok?) My husband would hold all the senate votes and my kids would be Congress because, at least for some household decisions, we run a democracy.

I’ll come into a Saturday morning eager to rally the troops and clean stuff out, old toys, magazines, homemade crafts, DVD’s and (FOR THE LOVE) stuffed animals–if Build-a-bear is ever burned down, it was probably my doing. I try my best to make some sweeping changes, black garbage bags in hand. One at a time I’ll present these one-time gifts for a vote. It’ll breeze through the Senate but inevitably, it stalls out somewhere in the aisles of Congress. Those stinkers just bicker and fight. One representative wants to make room for something else. Another rep wants to hold on for the next generation and the third representative is sleeping through the whole discussion. We’re at a stand-still. I want to wield my executive order pen but there is an uproar of injustice. Screams and tears erupt as they yell, “How could you get rid of my favorite ______!?” And suddenly another piece of me dies, along with the dream that one room would be cleaned before Christmas.

I am sitting here just a few short days before I go shopping with my MIL for Christmas presents for my kids, wondering how much of their stuff I could throw away each night before they would start to notice. I don’t know how else to clean it up. Their grandparents are about to drop a truckload more on our doorstep Christmas morning and there is no room in this house for one more thing! Truly, I feel like I can already hear the jingle bells chiming around their necks, indicating their arrival. STOP, turn around, these tiny people are not ready for your gifts!

I don’t want to take my kids stuff away. And I love giving to my kids. It is so much fun to give, especially at Christmas. I care about the hearts of my babies and I realize there is certainly a heart issue when it is so hard to let go of what they’re holding, even when or if it means they’ll gain something else.

In my own life, I realize my heart is misaligned when I begin to love the gifts more than the Giver.

This is the reason I have a problem being patient, or content, or thankful when I’ve been so richly blessed. This is usually the reason I have a hard time letting go of stuff, relationships, grief, hurt feelings.  It happens when I don’t trust the giver but I’m still desire more of His gifts. Letting go is a trust issue for me, just like it is for my kids.

The story of Job is my go-to when I start to feel this way. Job was a righteous man and was blessed abundantly. God allowed everything—his family, his money, his health—to be taken away from him. He really struggled to understand why God was doing the things He was doing to Him. And even though friends and family told him he should curse God, he never did. He remained faithful even when he didn’t understand.  Because ultimately, He did understand that whatever the reason God took everything away from him, who was He to question the God of the Universe, the Creator of all things, the Giver of every gift.

He didn’t keep his wondering or questioning away from God’s ears. He told Him and asked Him, he questioned and argued.  Finally, the Lord spoke to Job and reminded Him who He was.

Like a parent to a child reminding them of their place in this world, the Lord tells him,

“Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?” Job 38:12

It puts things in perspective doesn’t it? And generally that’s what I need, a change of perspective, to let go of my pride and let Him be God. He’s better at it, ya know.

When I’m all discontent and complaints, when I’m filled with longing and impatience, when I’m (metaphorically and literally) holding on to 4th of July extras at Thanksgiving, it’s because I cannot comprehend His mighty hand or even a finger of His hand. I’m just clueless. I’m a kid trying to hold on to a McDonald’s toy forgetting that my dad owns the McDonalds.

I need to shift my thoughts.  I may not understand the ways of God but I know that what He does is all for love. It’s impossible for Him not to love me because love is His very nature.  And I love Him. I do trust Him. He knows everything so if He’s asking us, His children, to let go of something, then we ought to trust that He’s making room for something new, or trust that it’s just time to hand it over because we’ve had it long enough.

It’s like that Elsa doll that sings eerily, from the bottom of a pile of stuffed animals, to an empty room. Her muffled voice echoes through the house, singing these words of wisdom, “Let it go, Let it go…”

One day, we will, Elsa.

Encouragement, FamilyErin Arruda