Although I am sure I am not a candidate for "The Hoarders" television show, I can be a tight wad when it comes to getting rid of stuff, especially if I think there is any remote chance that I can use it again or if I sense any hint of value in the object.
Case in point...the extra mattress and box spring set that we had to decide what to do with last weekend. It all started when Hubby and I upgraded our bed set last fall. After discovering that neither one of us was sleeping very well and that I had developed the habit of "noisy sleeping" we concluded that the mattress was the villain and that it needed to be switched out for a newer model. Much to our enjoyment the newer king size bed solved our sleeping dilemma; it even put an end to my bad nocturnal habit of "noisy sleeping".
However, now came my new dilemma...what to do with the extra mattress. I know, I know. I can hear you saying,
"What! You haul that baby to the dump right now!"
But, let me give my side of the story. Sure it wasn't working for us to sleep on every night but that didn't mean it wouldn't work for the occasional house guest or for one of the kids to sleep on when they come home, which is rarely I might add. (Hum, do you suppose this story will encourage more visits especially when they discover that they are sleeping on hand me down beds?) And the mattress looked fine...not worn out at all.
It still had life in it.
It still had some usefulness in those springs.
It still had value.
At least that was the argument going through my warped brain. Oh, maybe I am a candidate for the aforementioned program. I spent months (yes, I said months...call the network!) debating which mattress to pitch, our former one or one from another bed which could then be replaced with our former mattress. It pains me now to think how much brain energy I put into this question.
Finally, last weekend I decided that enough was enough and the oldest mattress in the house would be the candidate for the landfill. Hubby was more than willing to help out and haul it off. But as we carried it down the stairs, out the front door and placed it in the pickup, I started sensing my hand gripping it tighter with a reluctance to let it go. I jokingly commented that if I took a knife and sliced up it's fabric cover or stained it with a pot of coffee or can of paint maybe I would have a clear conscience as he drove away with the set. And to make this story even more pathetic I must tell you that the mattress that left my house that day was almost (brace yourself) 30 years old!
"Hello. My name is Mary and I am a hoarder."
Okay, now that I have shared that ugly story with you let me share what God had to say to me later. I read Ephesians 5:15-17 (Phillips Translation)
Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as men who do not know the meaning and purpose of life but as those who do. Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days. Don’t be vague but firmly grasp what you know to be the will of God.
God encouraged me through these verses to hold tightly to what I know He wants me to do just as my silly ridiculous self wanted to hold tightly to a mattress, of all things. I had to spend some time examining my heart.
How tightly was I grasping God's will for me in my life?
I realized that rather than hold on with a white-knuckled grip to God's direction for me I was vaguely holding it with a limp wrist and letting it slip through my fingers.
How did I know this?
I looked around me and saw unfulfilled applications from His word.
I saw poor choices of how I had spent my time lately.
I saw a lot of cutting corners in taking care of responsibilites.
I saw some unhealthy habits creeping back in.
Comparing my grip on God's will for me and my grip on an old mattress I concluded that I was expending energy grasping the wrong thing.
I don't know if God really cared about what I did with that old mattress but I do know that He cares about what I do with His will for me.
He says to hold on tight and don't let go!