“Be still, and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10, NIV
Some friends of ours recently moved into a new house. Well, a new old house. It has been a labor of love for them as they transformed a 1940’s era home into a modern house for them and their son. As with any move, it is work to find new places for all of the stuff. The stuff that fit so well in one place, doesn’t always fit in the new place.
I know that too well with all the moves my husband and I made over the years, especially when he was in military service. But, I actually looked forward to moving and the process of sorting through the old stuff, eliminating some of it, and buying new stuff. I use the word stuff, because that is really all it amounts to. It might be books, furniture, dishes, toys, memorabilia, but after I had packed and repacked it all over the years, it is just as easy to call it “stuff”. The longer we lived somewhere; the more “stuff” we accumulated.
The same can hold true, when we stay static in our own spiritual lives. We get complacent and keep ourselves busy with our routines, our families, our jobs and our spiritual disciplines. Our lives get busy and cluttered with the “stuff” that hinders moving forward. We keep doing the same things, expecting change and growth, but it seems to never arrive. We feel stuck. Our lives begin to feel mundane and we are tired all the time. We are stressed out all the time. And we wonder why.
This, for me, is especially true as Christmas approaches. I know in my mind that I do not need to be stressed. I should be enjoying the advent season, “preparing the way of the Lord”. I want to take the focus off the present buying, decorating, event attending rush of Christmas, and just enjoy it. And enjoy Him, Jesus, the real reason why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.
But, I get stuck. I feel the stress of the shopping, the traffic, the other people who are impatient in the stores. The grouchy sales people who really don’t want to be working. The rising prices of food, the busy schedule of events and trying to find time to meet with family and friends.
The most happiest time of year, suddenly, becomes the least joyous, the least happiest and the more stressed. And somewhere in it all, Jesus is lost. Misplaced, if you will, in my mind and pushed aside in my heart. He is replaced and reshuffled in importance with all the “to do’s” of the Christmas season prep. And along with Him, my joys disappears. I have cluttered myself- my mind and my spirit with “stuff”.
What I need is a de-clutter session. A time to sort through all my to do’s and anxieties. Getting rid of what I don’t need anymore. Making space for Jesus. Making space for growth and for joy, the joy I miss in my stressed out state. A place where I can sit with Jesus. And just be still.
My lists can be rearranged. I can make time in my schedule. I can remove all the stacks of boxes filled with worry that keep me from Him. I can toss them away, keep my shopping lists short, prioritize the events that matter with the ones that do not, reminding myself, that I can get together with friends and families regularly, instead waiting for the busiest time of the year.
One of my favorite Christmas carols is Joy to the World. (Truth is, I like all the carols) but in this particular one, the third verse of the song says, “Let every heart prepare him room.” We might miss the impact of that verse when we sing it. But, the verse implies the question for ourselves; “Have we made room in our hearts?” And I am not just referencing salvation here, but have we pushed Him aside a bit? Is there enough room for Jesus in our hearts? Or our minds?
My challenge for myself and for you this week, is to make time and space for Jesus. Sort through your stuff. Shift your schedule. Turn off the distractions, leave your phone on silent, or better yet in another room and go sit with Jesus. Be still, and know He is God.- God bless- Nancy
p.s I welcome your comments on this. Do you have a difficult time making space for Jesus?