Junk rooms. We all have one. You know, the one room in your house where you store the stuff that you will use one day. Or maybe, if you’re like me, it’s stuff you have already used and you might need it again. Maybe. It’s sentimental. It means something. You felt good when you were using it. Throwing it out would be like trashing your memories and all the blessings that came along with them.
This weekend I decided that I would clean out a room in my home where I had stored nearly a decade of teaching supplies. I had a pretty extensive library of children’s books that were just sitting there. Stories held captive within the pages. I had read all of them. Some of them dozens of times. I got so much joy from the children’s reactions to them. I loved the way they made me feel when I read them, like I was making a difference.
I never thought I would move on from teaching. I loved it. It was me. As much as I enjoyed it, it wasn’t what I had dreamed of doing all my life. Growing up, I wanted to work in journalism. I enjoyed writing and never once considered becoming a preschool teacher.
But God is pretty peculiar with my plans. My desires, many times, are not at all what God has planned for me. And while I am learning to let Him dream for me, I am still pretty stubborn. Maybe you are lucky enough to have it all together, but I don’t always know what I need. I tend to forget He knows what’s best and hold on to the stuff that feels good. The stuff that’s comfortable and that I know well. The stuff that once brought me great joy. Even if they are yesterday’s blessings and no longer fulfilling I have a hard time letting go. I don’t need two bookcases filled with children’s books anymore. My kids are passed them and I am no longer serving in a classroom.
Keeping things hidden on a shelf does nothing except harbor anxiety within myself. Doing that transforms God’s blessings into something He never intended for me.
It is a great challenge to let go of something that I know was a gift from God. This could be a job, a volunteer position, even a relationship. If He gave it, that must mean He wants me to always have it. Right? Cleaning out something that I find precious in order to trust that God has something even better? That seems ridiculous. That seems way too hard and a whole lot scary.
So, I was sitting there amidst the cloud of books and memories when I began to tear up a little. It was painful to pack it all up. What if God called me to teach again? I never know what He’ll ask me to do next. I should stay prepared, right? If He asks me to teach again I would need all this stuff.
That’s when it occurred to me that God has never asked me to do anything without giving me the tools to do it. There has never been a time when I have been obedient to answer His call on my life when he didn’t equip me properly. When I have truly been in His will, everything I have ever needed has been laid at my feet like manna ready for me to pick up and carry. His blessings are always perfect.
I needed two bookshelves filled with children’s literature in the past. But it’s useless to what I am doing with my life today. God gave me everything I needed then. Why would I doubt that He’s going to give me everything I need today? Why should I have any reason to question that when He asks me to do something in the future, He won’t give me exactly what I need at just the right moment?
When I allowed the dust to settle on that truth, it was much easier for me to call upon a friend who could use my books. The thought of her using them to teach her children gives me great joy. It makes me feel like I am making a difference.
And all I had to do was clean out my junk room.
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