We’ve all got junk.
One day I want to write a book with that title.
You’d pick that book up, right?
It’s easy for me to point out your junk, and ignore (or justify) mine.
There’s junk that accidentally got packed from childhood. There’s junk that slipped in when that boy said, “I’d date you if you wore a sack over your head.” (Word, 13-year-old boys can be mean.)
There’s junk from hurtful conversations, whether I was the recipient or I started it.
Regardless of where our junk came from, it’s there.
There’s a few approaches when we look at our junk.
- Pretend I’m perfect in public, and beat myself up in private
- Point my finger at all the people who contributed to my junk, so I don’t have to deal with my own
- Acknowledge my junk, but leave lots of room for grace and growth
- Laugh at my junk, because we all have it (still leaving lots of room for growth)
- Forgive those who piled the junk in our trunk (sorry, couldn’t help it), even if that person is staring at us in the mirror
#1 leads to shame and guilt — two of the most useless emotions in the world.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”wOeau” via=”yes” ]Guilt and shame keep you trapped. Conviction and transformation sets you free. #TheUnburdenedHeart #TheMendedHeart @suzanneeller[/ctt]
#2 keeps us trapped as a victim. It also builds an emotional wall the thickness of a steel bunker.
#3 is hard, because it requires that we examine our own hearts. We exchange guilt and shame for anticipation of God’s work within. It’s foundational to healing.
#4 is a beautiful gift. Combined with #3, it makes us feel human again. Oh-so-human, but wrapped in God’s redeeming power. We are works in progress. We’ll never be perfect. We aren’t afraid to admit our quirks and weaknesses, but totally bathed in hope of what God is doing.
#5 is the hardest heart work of all. Sure, they don’t deserve it. Sure, it shouldn’t have happened. Certainly, we don’t allow them to harm us or those we love as we heal and grow, but we are wide open for whatever God is trying to dig up and root out. It’s housecleaning time and the junk has to go to the curb.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”bfkyB” via=”yes” ]I am ready to stop pointing out your junk, and get rid of mine. #TheUnburdenedHeart #TheMendedHeart #nomorejunk @suzanneeller[/ctt]
I don’t know if we are ever junk-free, but there comes a time that we are junk-aware. Our desire is to live free, so when junk tries to climb back in or some old junk finally wrangles itself into the light, we grab the hand of God and start to unpack it.
We recognize it in others, but that’s not our focus. Rather than trying to fix anyone else, we are in a continual joy-filled junk removal process in our own lives.
So, which do you choose?
Can I be honest with you as you answer that question? The last three options are hard. Heart work doesn’t come cheap, but you are worth it.
Forgiveness will help you clear out some of that unwanted junk. If that’s your battle, The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness will gently help you begin the process.
Read a chapter of The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness for free.
It’s just for you. ♥
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So true that it’s easy to get caught up in guilt and shame or to focus on others’ junk rather than dealing with our own. It is hard work to let God in so we can deal with it well, but definitely worth it.
I would most certainly pick up that book and buy it 🙂 Amen to slamming the door on guilt and shame and welcoming conviction and transformation!!
Blessings from one who has some more junk to unload…let’s lighten the load together!
That’s such a powerful way of thinking about our need to process the past — not shame-filled and not in denial. Just holding our hearts up to God for healing.
Suzie Eller, you continue to speak confirmation and encouragement to my heart where I am. The last six months has been a “clean out the junk drawer” season. Forgiveness is happening that has needed to happen and I am sure more is needed. My prayer has become, “Lord, show me my true heart condition”. He is faithful to show us. I have done # 1 and #2 in the past but praise God He has helped me move to #3, #4, and #5 this year. He told me this year would be a year of freedom and it truly has been.
AMEN, AMEN, AMEN! I am constantly encouraging the women in my life to be vulnerable with one another and open and honest about their stories. When we share our stories, shame loses its power!! Love your book. <3
Yep, I would most certainly buy that book! I have grown so weary of us all trying to hide behind “perfect” as if there were such a thing. So grateful for this group of women here who are so real and honest. Thanks for leading the charge Suzie!
I didn’t write a blog post about this, but I posted something in my group today that sounded a lot like learning to empty out the junk I have been carrying around and letting God change me, so I will share it here. It’s brutally honest–it’s how I am learning to cope with the emotions and realities of life with chronic pain:
So what do you do when you have failed and you feel it in every muscle ache and twinge? The emotional tension fills your body like flames fill a burning building. You are overcome.
You begin to know your Savior in a way you haven’t before–as the One who truly loves you even when you fail. You learn that He will really be there for you even when you don’t deserve it. You grow in ways that you haven’t yet but desperately need to. And you find that He is good and kind, even when you don’t deserve it.
And what do you do when the pain increases even after the feelings of failure and stress have subsided? Even after you have resolved it in your heart with God?
And the pain worsens.
You worship. You sing. You praise and lift your voice to God in song. You meditate on God’s Word. You fill your head, soul, and body with truth.
You take a bath to relieve your body of the stress and pain. You finally realize that you aren’t perfect, but that is okay. You will be okay.
You learn that He will sustain you through all of it–the pain, the failure, everything. You will learn from it and move forward.
Even when you fail.
And you trust that what His word says is true. He loves you. Fully. Forever.