I’ve put it off as long as I can…again.
Here I sit, surrounded by intimidating paper mountains that have risen up out of a whole army of little mole hills of my history--all strung together and stored in cardboard boxes.
I can mix enough metaphors about this situation to make myself grasp for reasons to abandon the project in favor of a better time. Perhaps I can do it tomorrow, or next week, or some other make-believe future rendezvous with this excess baggage.
I am an organized person, a believer in the Boy Scout motto to always be prepared, but this monster that holds me captive seems to have a life of its own. It renders me helpless in my determination to manage and systemize this mess of paper minutia. One afternoon spent going through old pictures, documents, and keepsakes reduces me to pain almost too deep to bear.
All the imaginary beast has to do is whisper, “Remember the bad. Forget the good. You could have done things differently. WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?”
Then, as if it were all brand new, I cry copious tears. The smug intimidating ogre wins again. I repack and shove it back into space I need. Every time I begin again, it’s as if a strange multiplication has taken place in the interim. Paper-offspring have spawned in the dark to wait patiently for the next battle with me and my resolve to take control.
I wander away for a much needed cup of coffee. Other chores call to me of their great importance. It seems imperative to sweep leaves from the porch or replace the oven light bulb or put a drop of oil on that squeaky back door. Then it’s time for lunch. (After all, how can a person work with no fuel?) The cats want in, or out. The phone rings. Clean clothes need to be folded. Pretty soon it’s time to cook supper. By the time dishes are washed, night is creeping in with a well rehearsed and subtle message for me to just do it tomorrow…when I have rested and feel fresh.
In the wee hours, as I toss and turn with debilitating dread of facing material evidence that generates nearly unbearable heartache and regret, it occurs to me there is an answer.
“What does God have to do, “I say out loud to the darkness, “hit me upside the head with a spiritual two by four?”
I pray for wisdom, and smile at the picture He brings to my mind of my good friend and the perfectly wonderful thing she does every morning. She puts on the whole armor of God. I don’t mean just by resolve. She actually goes through the motions as she speaks the verse. I fall into peaceful sleep thinking about her lovely routine.
When the new day dawns I can hardly wait to confront my raggedy old enemy bent on making me sad. Like my friend, I speak with certainty as I wrap truth around my waist. I put on the breastplate of righteousness and then slip my feet into the gospel of peace. As I approach the herculean paper task before me, I am dressed to the nines--including the helmet of salvation. I hold my shield of faith aloft and slash through the next few hours with the Sword of the Lord…His Word.
The trash bag fills quickly as I take a stand against the fiery darts of memory the evil one flings to pierce my tender heart. I sing praise songs as I work with purpose and confidence through years of accumulation.
After the large pile of rubbish drops in the bin at the curb, the weight of the world seems to lift off and evaporate.
How could pounds of paper have such power to push me to a place where I question the absolute healing of my once broken heart? Forgiveness is complete and I have moved on and am filled with joy and peace. In fact, I never even think about the past until it’s time to consider a new plan to clean out the boxes of what I seem to be convinced is a representation of my life.
Faced with one last stinging ambush from useless scraps of waste, my plea for help triggers God’s tiny nudge in the night to remind me there is nothing to fear from a toothless paper-monster. My serious heart protector is on duty at all times. I am safe.
Ephesians 6:14-17 (NLT)
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
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