Clean Out the Closet!

When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same any more. A new life has begun! –2 Corinthians 5:17 TLB

I knew I was overdue to clean out my clothes closet when I tried on three outfits for church one Sunday morning and none of them would do.

My wardrobe included three pairs of polyester slacks I’d worn nearly every week for ten years (I exaggerate not) and were coming apart at the seams, missing buttons at the waist, and were way too baggy since I’d lost some weight. My sweaters were fuzzbally, nearly transparent in places, or had shrunk in the wash. Most of my skirts, blouses, and dresses were tired and lifeless and looked like I felt. And most everything was way outdated.

Over the years, I’d added a piece or two to my wardrobe here and there, but, instead of removing anything to make room in my four-foot-wide closet, I simply shoved the old stuff back where it was hard to reach. My dresser drawers weren’t much better. I had to iron anything before I wore it.

Finally I decided it was time. No more hanging on to stuff in case I lost weight or in case I’d want to wear it someday. No more “fat” and “skinny” wardrobes.

My tastes were changing, too. Instead of prints (usually flowers), I wanted solids in shades that complimented my coloring and in styles that complimented my body shape.

So after a daylong shopping trip and another daylong closet-cleaning session, I had fifty empty hangers, two empty dresser drawers, a healthy donation for Goodwill, and an equally healthy donation for the garbage man—and a feeling of being set free.

Every time I wear one of my new outfits, I feel like a new woman, lighter and happier than I’ve felt in years. Amazing how hanging on to useless old things can bog us down.

We do the same spiritually, don’t we? Those old sins are hard to let go because we have a hard time believing we are truly forgiven and so we refuse to forget. We won’t forgive ourselves, so we carry around a load of guilt, thinking this is our penance.

Is that what God does? No!

When we asked for His forgiveness and accepted His Son, we were changed inside. Not patched up, like a garment that needs mending. We were born again (John 3:16), given new life—His life in us. We became not fixed-up versions of our old selves, but brand new persons!

We were washed completely clean (1 John 1:9). All our sin-stain was bleached out entirely by the Son, and our hearts are now as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 51:2,7). All the garbage of sin and guilt was flung as far from us as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), and God remembers it no more (Jeremiah 31:34).

So why do we? Perhaps because we feel unworthy? But God considered us worthy enough to send His Son to die in our place and open the way to Heaven.

So, Christian, clean out your closet and toss the fuzzbally attitudes, oversized guilt, outdated shame. Don your new clothes—clothes as clean, fresh, and new as a spring morning—clothes that will make you feel like a new person—because, Child of God, you really are.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of my salvation. Amen. (Psalm 51:10,12)

Read and reflect on Matthew 9:14–17.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Image 600-02377761 © Lisa Brdar

New Beginnings

 

See! The winter is past . . . Flowers appears on the earth; the season of singing has come. – Song of Solomon 2:12 NIV

 “New” is in the works these days. It’s exciting. And a little daunting.

Hubby’s retirement is on the horizon, and it’s been what’s occupied my mind and my schedule for the past several months. (Which is why I’ve put fiction writing on the back burner.)

A new beginning. For him. For us. While we’re walking away from a season in our lives, we’re walking toward another season. (No, I won’t be retiring. I love what I do. It’s a calling. This speaking and writing and ministering to my little flock.)

As we stand at this threshold, I think of Lazarus, the man whom Jesus brought back to life. He, too, had a new beginning, a new lease on life.

But he had to first come out of his tomb and then be freed from the grave clothes – strips of cloth that bound him.

I, too, have been in a tomb – a tomb of fear of the future. The unknown. The uncertainty. Will we have enough money to survive, let alone travel and live our retirement dreams?

I, too, have been bound by grave clothes: Worry, anxiety. About finances. About health. Will our health and strength hold up?

But Jesus called me – by name – out of my tomb: “Michele, come out! Be unbound. Be loosed.”

I need not fear the future. As Corrie ten Boom once said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

He holds my future. He guides me, protects me, provides for me. I need to read Psalms 23, 139, and 91 every day. And remind myself of His promise to never leave me, never forsake me, to be with me always (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20).

He holds not just my future, but also my present. I need not be shackled by fear, worry, and anxiety. Yes, life happens, but I have a place to go to get what I need not just to survive but to thrive: my prayer room.

“Don’t be anxious about anything,” Paul reminds me in Philippians 4:6–7. “Instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

We are all walking away from one thing or another, and walking toward something new, into a season of spring and daffodils, into a time of new beginnings, new hopes, new life.

What tomb are you being called out of? What binding do you need Jesus to loose?

More important, what new beginning are you stepping into?

Remember, you can trust the One who leads you, loves you, and lavishes His best upon you.

Thank You, Lord, for new beginnings, second chances, and hope. Thank you for spring and all it means. Amen.

 “Retirement is a NEW beginning, your chance to reset life, expand on your interests and find new opportunities for your best retired years.” – Wendy S. Fisher

Read and meditate on John 11:38–44 

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.