Last week we helped move our daughter, her husband and their six month old daughter into a new apartment. The entire move was accomplished in a single day with the help of a rental truck, dozens of boxes, and willing friends and family. I’m not certain why it is so, but moving-in always seems easier than moving -out. The new apartment was empty and clean; each appliance was new and shiny, the walls gleamed with fresh paint, and every bathroom tile was buffed to perfection. By contrast, the old residence appeared cluttered and in need of a thorough cleaning, as is the state of most apartments on move-out day. Yet at some stage in their mutual existence, the new and old apartments both were filled with furnishings the owner believed they needed, and later, just prior to a new occupancy, the rooms were emptied and cleaned. Space must be made in the old before the new can be moved in.
People are the same in that respect. Old feelings, hurts and resentment, must be moved out before something better can replace them. Imagine your heart, soul and mind combined together in the form an apartment living room. It’s not a big apartment, so there is limited space, and right now the space is filled with boxes; dozens of boxes in differing shapes and colors stacked one upon another. In my living room I can see there are the boxes stacked to the ceiling in the far corner, making the box at the bottom of that stack very difficult (impossible?) to reach. Today is move-in day and I bring three more boxes. I have a box of love for my granddaughter, a box of forgiveness that I have carried since high school, and big box of contentment; because I have been so blessed in my life. I look around the living room, but it is too crowded to set down the new arrivals. I have a choice to make: either leave with the new boxes and return them as unopened, or make space by taking something out that no longer is required. We all have things (emotions, memories, feelings) that can be removed from our heart-mind-soul space, but we tend to leave them as they are because those boxes are typically very old and fragile. We wouldn’t want to re-break an old hurt, so we avoid even touching that box.
Yet my new boxes are worthy, and I need them. So I make the choice that three old boxes must be thrown out into the nearest dumpster, or to a Goodwill store. To my left I see Envy. It is a small, green box and there are stains on the outside as the contents fight their way to escape. It is not the only green box in my living room, but I know my space will be better off without this one. I reach down and toss it out the door and onto the porch, and then I leave Granddaughter love in its place. My room brightens a little with the change. One down and two to go. Next, in the corner trying to hide I see Kept Anger. The Anger box is elsewhere; it isn’t a bad box to own because some actions require anger. This box is Kept Anger; it is old and refuses to let go. Anger can be productive in the moment, but like rust on steel it can destroy its host when it stays for too long. On to the porch I send it, replaced by Old Forgiveness – forgiveness that should have been given long ago. (Forgiveness is best when it is fresh). Lastly I find Self Righteousness. This box loves to be in the center of the room so it can be noticed; because the content “knows” it is better that what is inside the other boxes. It is a heavy box, and I strain to carry it to the door; yet I know I can do it, because I was the person who carried it in when it first arrived. Contentment takes its place and I make a note to myself that today’s changes made my living room better.
The moving experience last week brought home to me an old, but true adage: that God wants to improve our life. He wants to add more Love, Joy and even Wealth. But we are filled vessels, and He cannot add what He wants until we remove something that doesn’t belong; something that God did not give to us in the first place.
Make today a moving-out day, so tomorrow can be your moving-in day.