Ever have the urge to clean out a closet or office, only to get in the middle of the task and feel overwhelmed by it all? The worst is when someone walks in while all the junk is out of hiding and question what you were thinking! I spent the morning cleaning out my kitchen pantry (this is not a picture of my pantry). Thankfully, nobody walked in on me, because it was a mess! I love to cook and to try new recipes that involve ingredients that I don’t use everyday. I have a pantry that is packed with various oils and spices, many that have been used only once or twice. I’m not a hoarder in any other realm, but am more likely to buy an ingredient than to even bother with looking to see if I already have it. Ridiculous, I know. I pulled every single ingredient out, checked for expiration dates and multiples, and put everything back together again. I wasn’t terribly surprised to find three jars of turmeric and some garlic powder that expired in 2006. I even alphabetized my spices so I can quickly see if I have one or not!
Bear with me, there was a significant thought that came to me while doing this mundane task. Our marriages can be a lot like my packed pantry; full of old stuff that we hold onto for no other reason than to say we have it. Sometimes we need to take the time to pull everything out and look at it, re-evaluate it and decide if we really want to keep it anymore. It takes hard work to get rid of the clutter of years of accumulation, and it looks the messiest, and the most hopeless, when you’ve got everything sitting out in the open. But you’re also the closest to the goal that you’ve been in years. The key is to keep at it; keep picking up every item and intentionally deciding if you need it anymore.
Those hurt feelings from a misunderstanding years ago? Maybe it’s time to address it and throw it out.
The shame of a critical spirit against your spouse? Perhaps now you’re ready to make the decision to stop it once and for all, and get rid of it.
The memories of those first weeks in your first home together? Hold onto that, place it in the front where you be be reminded often, if you want to.
You get the idea. You are in charge of your pantry, nobody else gets to decide what stays and goes. Do the work of cleaning it out, so you know what you’ve got and also what you need.