It was easy to convince myself it was not a problem. "After all," I told myself proudly, "unlike many of my neighbors I can easily park not one but two cars in my garage." Surely that was worth a gold star because I knew for a fact that most of my neighbors had a reason for always parking in their driveway. Whenever their garage doors stood open, it was glaringly evident there was no room to spare.
Long ago, we rented a house in the city that had a "Model T" garage. These garages were built prior to 1935 and therefore they were too small the larger vehicles that came later. Nowadays these garages are only useful as storage sheds.
When the owner of the house announced she was going to replace the garage that was more than 60 years old, we were thrilled. Finally we would have a shelter in which to park our cars which really take a beating in Minnesota weather. When we parked our cars in the new garage, I vowed that I would never let a garage become so cluttered that we could not park our cars in it. I made that vow almost 30 years ago and I have kept it but... Sigh... it seems like there is always a but, doesn't it.
We moved into our present home almost 11 years ago. I adamantly refused to allow the garage to become a dumping ground. Well, I take that back. I refused to let it become a big dumping ground but little by little, things crept in. Most of these things were not very large. They were small things that gathered on shelves, along the wall or in corners. Some of them were things that we fully intended to get rid of when we had the time, someday but we were too busy to deal with them at the moment. We were going to take them to the the recycling center but whoops! It was closed today as well as tomorrow so we would take it later this week or next week or next month.
Then winter would come and it was -20F outside so today was not a good day. We'd better wait until spring. Oops... we've been getting a lot of rain and we need space to spread things out. We might be getting rid of a lot of this stuff but we don't want to be doing it when it is wet and muddy out. We had better wait until summer. Sigh... now it is way too hot out. We will wait until fall. Oops! School is starting again or my husband was extremely busy at work. We were too tired at the moment. We didn't have enough time. We didn't...
Yesterday we resolved that enough was enough. The problem wasn't bad. We could still function and it certainly wasn't as bad as the neighbor's across the street but it was disorganized and though we hated to admit it, a lot of it was probably junk just hanging around, taking up space. It is a good thing that it did not occur to either one of us to check the temperature outside until it was too late. It was a scorcer of [C32°|F90°] with a heat index of [C38°|F100°]. Grrr!
We gritted our teeth and drank plenty of water while we did the task at hand. We pulled out our cars and set to work. We pulled everything out into the middle of the garage and began to sort. While we did find a few things that needed to remain, we found things that we no longer needed. We found things that were broken. We found boxes and even bottles that were empty. We found things that we no longer had any use for. We even found things that were, well, that was the problem. We had no idea what they were!
We filled the trash bin as well as two large bags of trash. Then we took two loads to the recycling center. We carefully cleaned the floor getting into all of the crevices. We were amazed at the difference. We thought we had room before but now, well, we could see how even though our mess might now have been as evident as the mess of someone else, it was still a mess and we needed to deal with it.
We're not finished with our project quite yet. The trash won't be collected until Friday. We want to add some more shelving and hooks. We need to make sure there is room for our outdoor table and chairs to be stored this winter. I need to get some new carpet remnants for the steps leading into the house and clean the rug on which we wipe our feet. After all, it can only hold so much dirt. GASP! No wonder we were tracking in dirt all the time.
If we are not careful, little unobtrusvie things will slip into our heart. We ignore it thinking it is not that big of deal or else we tell ourselves we will deal with it later. The problem is, if we do not deal with things right away, they do not get better. They become worse. Then one day we look around and to our surprise we realize that we have a mess on our hands. We try to tell ourselves that at least it is not as big of a mess as what our neighbor has but do you know what? It is still a mess and we need to get rid of it!
Periodically we need to sort though our heart, discarding the things that are not pleasing to God, getting rid of the broken, useless and even harmful junk that clutters up our life. We need to clear it all out and allow the Holy Spirit to give our heart a thorough inspection and cleaning. In order to keep our heart clean, we need to put forth the effort to keep it clean and fresh. It seems like a mammoth job and in fact it is if we attempt to tackle it ourselves but with God's help, all things are possible.