Take Inventory, and Clean Out Your Junk
The fight for a disciplined, godly life is like cleaning the junk out of your closet.
Sometimes you have to go through your stuff and ask, “Why do I have this?” “Does it fit?” “What does this piece say about me?” “Is this necessary?Appropriate?”
As you sort through your closet, you might find items you haven’t worn in ten years, old scuffed shoes, high heels that pinch, unflattering pieces, those what-was-I-even-thinking!?!- pieces, or items that are no longer appropriate for your life. If it’s just taking up space, if it’s no longer useful or serving you well, and is no longer a reflection of you as a person, it gets the Marie Kondo treatment! It has to go!
When we evaluate our goals and priorities as women who love God, we need to take inventory of our lives and purposefully “lay aside” (take off, get rid of) anything that harms us, slows us down, distracts us, keeps us stuck in ruts, or zaps our energy.
We have to say no EVEN GOOD THINGS in order to do the good works that our Father has planned for us.
Some of us need to get rid of extras: oversleeping, overspending, overeating, over-talking, over-emoting, over scrolling.
Others might need to choose to add to and put on: punctuality, follow-through, trustworthiness, trusting more, praying more, studying more, fellowshipping more, exercising more, contributing more, loving more, forgiving more.
Others may need to sort through: wrong attitudes, conflicting priorities, unhealthy friendships, heart issues and idols, paranoid or obsessive thoughts.
Think of those extra weights, no matter how beloved, as chains around your ankles, dead weight, slowing your progress, making everything disorganized and harder.
Whatever the Lord brings to mind, can you deal with it appropriately this week?
Sometimes the simple mindset of: “OK, Lord, I’m __ years old and I’ve had enough of this in my life. It hasn’t brought me happiness. It’s a lie I’m hanging on to for security and I know my security is in you. Help me to be done with this.”
“Lord, you’ve told me to love this person, and I’ve chosen not to do that. It’s been ___ years that I’ve held on to this indifference/jealousy/anger/hatred and I’m ready to repent of all those years of sin and finally do what is right before you. I love you enough now to want to obey.”
“Lord, I’ve struggled with over ________ (fill in the blank: overeating, drinking, talking, spending, worry, anger) my whole life. I’ve used it to fill a void only you were meant to satisfy. It’s been a temporary comfort but hasn’t brought the lasting joy I sought. It has been a liar, and where it offered me happiness, it’s only brought me ______(the consequence of the excess: more weight, alcoholism, debt, unstable emotions, broken relationships, etc…) Help me to believe that your Word is the truth and that your ways are the ways of life, peace, and joy.”
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight (hinderance) and the sin that so easily entangles (ensnares) us and let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1
“Christian women need to get rid of every association, habit, and tendency that impedes godliness.” Barbara Hughes
Imagine that the women in your life (daughters, nieces, women in your church, neighbors) are looking at you as a representative of Christ. They know you claim Christ, so are they learning sound doctrine from your words and actions or are they learning a skewed gospel? If they followed your actions, would you be leading them in godliness or worldliness?
In my circles, we’re keen to promote sound doctrine, but can I just be frank? Knowing sound doctrine is good. Really good. But if you are not living it, you are teaching “false doctrine” by your life. When lips say one thing, but actions preach another, your “cloud of witnesses” is harmed as well as your testimony. Those “little hindrances” are really a big deal, not only to you but to the next generation who is watching your life and realizing that they can’t fully follow in your footsteps.
So what is it you need to clean out of your life during this 8-week study?
What is keeping you from winning in the race marked out for you?
- Maybe you need to check the purity of your heart?
- Maybe you say you love and know God but you are failing to adhere to His commandments (“If you love me, keep my commandments.) or failing to love the people He died for? (“By this will all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another.”)
- Maybe you need to simply set an alarm clock, start an exercise routine, or eat smaller portions. (“But I discipline my body, and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 1 Cor. 9:27
- Maybe you need to shed unhealthy friendships or those who’d deter you from seeking God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
- Maybe you simply need to speak less.
- Maybe you need to shut off your phone and open your Bible.
- Maybe you need to ask someone for forgiveness.
- God’s plans for you are good! He hasn’t set you up for failure when He planned out your life.
The gospel that saved you from your biggest threat (eternal separation from God) is the gospel that can save you from the smaller sins we struggle with on a daily basis.
“His diving power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3
Whatever God brings to your mind, get rid of that obstacle so you can run unhindered in your pursuit of godliness.