Life has been looking pretty different these last few weeks hasn’t it? Our lives can be so fast paced and we came to a shocking and grinding halt a little over a month ago. For many, it’s strange to be home so much, to actually be spending time with family, to not be moving a million miles an hour. We’ve settled into this current pace of life in my house. We’ve been enjoying the time together and holding one another accountable for being present in the challenges and the blessings of this time. But that doesn’t mean the phrase that’s being spoken all over the world hasn’t been said in my house too. “I just want things to go back to normal.”
I’ve shared this before, but I think it bears repeating. Something of this magnitude, a global pandemic effectively shutting down the world, would not happen without having a higher purpose. Consider, perhaps, that we are in this situation because our normal needed to change. There are so many things wrong with what we consider our normal to be, and this pause we’ve been given has brought some of those wrongs to light. I would be remiss not to mention that many people are being adversely affected by loss of jobs and isolation, but many of us have the blessing of using this time to re-write the wrongs in our society. It’s wrong to be moving so fast we don’t have time to enjoy our families. It’s wrong that our habits pollute the earth that gives so selflessly to us. It’s wrong to miss out on the present because we’re always striving for something in the future. I listened to this sermon on Sunday, and boy does it hit the nail on the head. We shouldn’t be asking for things to go back to normal. We should be asking ourselves what needs to change as we create a new and improved normal. The stillness you now find yourself facing is begging the question, what are you taking forward into your new normal, and what are you going to leave behind?
Maybe you’ve already read my blog on decluttering. In that blog I talk about why it’s so important to declutter your space and your life. Each week of quarantine, my house feels lighter as we continue cleaning out room by room. We have gotten rid of so much stuff I didn’t even realize was taking up space in my house! And it feels amazing! I myself feel lighter with each thing we let go. But today, I want to talk about why this practice is so important in preparing you for what comes next. For me, the deeper lesson is found in my practice of clearing out physical possessions.
Even after clearing out two truck loads of junk and one truck load of donations, I still wouldn’t consider myself a hoarder. I would describe myself as a sentimental mom who can’t throw away a single school project, little league trophy, or nostalgic decoration because the memories attached to these things are simply too dang good. Or maybe I’m just trying to justify myself. What I know for a fact is that I have a really hard time letting go of things. What I have in my life is what I know, and without that “thing” life could look different in ways I can’t predict. When it comes to physical objects, I hold on because I don’t want to lose the memory. But I’m the same way when it comes to stories I believe about myself. Who am I if I don’t take care of everyone around me?! The same goes for my relationships. Who am I without this person in my life?!
When I was 14, I came home from Saturday shopping with my mom to find an ambulance in the front yard. My father had suffered a massive heart attack, one second alive, the next second gone. Who was I without him? Without being able to have the identity as his daughter, I immediately took on a new identity, that of a young girl who unexpectedly lost her dad. I did what I expected that kind of girl to do. I acted out, ran around with the wrong kinds of people, looked for love wherever I could find it.
When I was 19, I learned the man who had died of a massive heart attack was not in fact my biological father. Not only had I lost my identity when this man died, I lost it again when I learned I hadn’t ever been his. My real father was somewhere out there with a different family, and where did that leave me? Well I guess I just came from a screwed up situation. I guess I was the kind of girl who wasn’t wanted by her real father and on top of that, had lost the man who loved me as if he was my father.
This is the baggage I carried for YEARS. Not a physical possession but a very real and a very heavy one nonetheless. One that affected my behavior in relationships, one that drove me to prove my worth through my career, one that caused me to always have doubts about my life in the back of my head. It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s and had a hired coach helping me, that I started unpacking this baggage and seeing clearly how it had weighed me down all those years. Cleaning out your house is only a warm up for this kind of decluttering.
God has placed us in quarantine, in isolation to do this work. To unpack the boxes in your attic, your heart, your mind that maybe you’ve been avoiding for a long time. God encourages us and supports us in releasing the clutter taking up space in our lives, taking up space that is meant for blessings coming our way in our “new normal.” Join me in using the mantra “LET. IT. GO.” Better things are coming than the baggage you now hold. Whether your baggage comes in the form of physical possessions, habits, identities, limiting beliefs, the time has come to LET IT GO.
Before corona came around, what were you unhappy with in your life? Was it your physical health? Financial health? Career path? Relationships? Anything about your life that doesn’t bring you 100% joy can be changed right now. You get to choose what you hold space for in life. If you want things to go back to how they were, that’s your choice, but you are just as capable of designing a new normal that looks like whatever you want it to.
I would love to hear from you!