Well…my closet rod fell the other night, for the second time this month, so my mom encouraged me to lighten the load and get rid of what I don’t wear anymore.
It was evident the clothes were too heavy and the rod would only continue to fall.
I hesitantly responded, “Oh…okay…I’ll do that” as a soft, broken-hearted smile slowly inched across my face.
BUT Y’ALL, I SO DID NOT WANT TO…so my fallen clothes may or may not have remained untouched for a few days.
Ugh, okay…three days to be exact! Sheesh!
On the third day, I made the mistake of showing my friend the 100-clothes pile-up while we were FaceTiming. Much to my surprise, he proceeded to tell me the same thing, “You need to get rid of the clothes you don’t wear anymore. Take them to Goodwill! It’s just going to keep falling!”
I PUFFED UP MY CHEST AND SAID, “OKAY, FINE. I WILL!!!!”
The next morning, I walked into my room and looked at my clothes just lying there…you know…being clothes.
I heaved them all onto my bed (where I discovered two handfuls of clothes, hangers and all, weigh exactly the same as half an elephant) and then began weeding them out.
My mom and friend were right.
I needed to let go of the clothes that no longer served my post-high school body (HAHAHAHA, YEAH, I SAID IT)…clothes that were only taking up space and weighing my closet rod down.
I went through every dress, every t-shirt (one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind), and every pair of pants. Tie-dyed overalls, blue jean vests, a homemade Christmas tree dress — you name it.
“I *have* to keep this long, black, Goodwill dress with sleeves from the 1970’s in case I ever need to dress up like a Pilgrim again.”
“This shirt is such a pretty color. It’s not that tight on me. Maybe I’ll keep it for when I lose weight.”
Don’t act like those thoughts have never run through your mind.
Okay, okay…maybe the Pilgrim outfit is just me but admit it, that second thought has crossed your mind before!
We have the hardest time letting go of that armpit-stained (I talk about armpits a lot, don’t I?) t-shirt from 2006 or that shirt with our friend’s face ironed on it that we made and wore for her birthday (we sure do know how to celebrate the birth of our friends).
We keep adding and adding to our already overflowing collection because we just can’t accept the fact that these items no longer serve a purpose in our lives.
We think, “I’ll lose weight” or “But this has been in my closet since high school” so we end up letting EVERYTHING stay.
Then, as you can assume, our closet rods start to dip a little…and then a little more…and eventually, they pop out of the walls and throw our clothes up everywhere, as seen below:
For the record, my nephew plays in my bedroom so that is not my treasure chest of toys you see there in the corner.
Or is it…? *winks*
As I was going through my priceless treasures, one item at a time, I couldn’t help but think about how our lives are a lot like those closet rods.
The older we get, the more our priorities change. The things of the present become things of the past. Unfortunately, we often fail to realize this. Or, even if we do realize it, we don’t do anything about it.
We don’t want things to change. We’re scared of change, of things being different.
We want everything and everyone to stay the same, forever.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s not life.
In order for us to grow and become the men and women we were created to be, we must use discernment and know when to catch and when to release, when to hold on and when to let go.
Just as I had to suck it up and remove the articles of clothing that didn’t fit my current lifestyle (against my will), we have to suck it up and remove the unhealthy habits or relationships that don’t fit our current lifestyle.
In NO WAY does this mean we’re not grateful for the time we had with _____________ (insert unhealthy habit, thoughts, relationships, etc. here).
It simply means we recognize where we are in life and where we’re wanting to go, and the sacrifices it will take for us to get there.
Whatever it is we’re refusing to give up, no matter what the reason, if we know it’s causing us more harm than good AT THIS EXACT POINT IN OUR LIFE, it cannot stay.
Don’t get me wrong, there was a time when that 80’s jacket fit and we could wear it every day, and that Hump Day shirt may have served us well for two years in college, but because we literally wore it every Wednesday for 104 Wednesday’s in a row (give or take a few), it’s now faded and that camel looks less like a camel and more like a wrinkled llama shedding it’s fur with every wash.
In the same way, there may have been a time when a friendship or job or unhealthy habit (worry, pride, self-centeredness) served us well and was everything we wanted.
However, just as our bodies change, our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs change as well.
Things just don’t “fit” like they used to.
Our bodies go from being a size medium to a size large, and even then we wear an XL because it’s roomier and we like the way it feels.
Likewise, we go from needing someone or something that makes us laugh to needing someone or something that meets us where we are, that challenges us and gives us room to grow.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that we cannot hold on to things or people forever.
Oftentimes, hanging on causes much more damage than letting go.
THE GOOD NEWS IS:
Just as we put our winter clothes away for a few seasons, there will be times when we need to set aside things or relationships for only a few seasons. Not forever, just long enough for us to grow separately until we “fit” each other again.
THE BAD NEWS IS:
If we never let go of anything, whether it be for a few years or a few decades or forever, we’re only hurting ourselves.
We may not realize it at first, but, sooner or later, if we don’t start releasing what is weighing us down and no longer serving its original purpose in our lives, we will start to “dip” a little, and then a little more…until we eventually break!
We’ll go from feeling like we can handle everything, to feeling as if we can’t handle anything.
Remember, not everything has a place on the “closet rod” of life, and there is freedom in letting go of the people and things that weigh us down.
Like our closets, our lives need a good “spring cleaning” every once in a while and we need to lighten our load.
What do you need to let go of today?