Spiritual Hoarding...Who Me?
Hoarders - the show that makes me frantically look for the remote so I can change the channel. I just can’t handle watching the horrible mess and piles of garbage while waiting for something furry to crawl out. It’s so sad how people allow their homes to fill up with junk to the ceilings and all the while they are numb to the chaos around them. Yet, many of us live our spiritual lives the same way. We are spiritual hoarders. Holding on to old behavior patterns, disgusting lies we’ve believed and obscured views of ourselves.
Many times when helping a friend move or clean their house, I can recall them saying, “Don’t throw that away” or “I may need that someday”. We ourselves may even be guilty of holding on to things just because it feels comfortable or we’ve always had it with us and can’t imagine life without it. However, it can be very dangerous trying to maneuver and step around all the “junk” we have internalized as we try to live an overcoming life. This is where I’ve decided to become very transparent and share what the Lord has been revealing to me personally about hoarding in my own life.
It’s no secret that I love music and I love to worship my God. It’s also no secret that I have found myself in a full-time job for 8 years that isn’t exactly what I’m wired to do. In fact, it’s the total opposite of everything I felt I was created for and has NOTHING to do with music. However, I have still had the opportunity to lead others in worship on the weekends and weeknights. Of course we all know that burning the candle at both ends is not healthy and during these last few years I struggled with my identity. Even though I knew without a shadow of a doubt WHAT I was called to DO, I seemed to have forgotten WHO I was called to BE. As musicians, it’s very easy to get lost in titles, positions, opportunities, experiences and even the music itself. However this can apply to any job or gifting. We become about the job we are in or the job we think we want. We are consumed with DOING something specific instead of BEING who we were created to be. This WAS me. I say “was” because last week I had an awakening…a revelation.
It was Monday, a gloomy Monday as well. I was exhausted from a long weekend of ministry and work. I was back at the job I felt I wasn’t “called” to…sitting at a desk…calculating numbers. MATH and ME do not mix on MONDAYS. But it was in my weakest moment…when I was tired, frustrated and desperate that the Lord said, “Lay it down”. What??? My job??? Oh, God if only I could. But that was not what He wanted me to lay down. It was the music…leading people into God’s presence. The one thing I loved to do. Something that brought me great joy. The one thing that made me feel worthy and valuable. Wait right there! That was the problem. I had believed that I was only accepted and useful when I was doing something that I felt gifted in. Part of my identity was in music and it was slowing becoming an idol. It was the source of belonging and yet it was also the source of rejection. It was my greatest security and my greatest insecurity. I believed that I couldn’t be happy if I wasn’t doing music or if an opportunity passed by me, I immediately felt rejected.
I had become a spiritual and emotional hoarder by collecting negative thoughts about myself, believing lies, making inner vows and perceiving rejection that wasn’t even there. All these things began to cloud my vision and block the view to my true identity…an identity found in Christ and Christ alone…an identity as a daughter of the most High God. Not a worship leader or a singer or anything else. It’s only when we are stripped of everything that we can see WHO we truly are and we can embrace it. Then when we are faced with the lies and rejection or the compliments and admiration, we can handle them with grace and integrity.
So…I decided for the first time in my life to lay down an area that I love and enjoy in order to take a spiritual inventory. Starting in April, I will take a sabbatical from my position on the worship team at my church. It will be a time of rest, pruning and purging. I will be throwing away some old judgments of myself and finding a true identity in the One whom I worship. I believe this time will be life altering for me as I move into a new season with new doors to open. But I want to be ready! I know the Lord has me right where I am for a purpose and I need to find contentment alone in knowing that.
This is not an easy journey to share, but I share it so that others who may find themselves in the same place can be encouraged. Encouraged to take inventory and take back their lives from the enemy who wishes to clutter them with lies and distractions. It’s time to throw away some things. Toss the garbage that fills our homes, hearts and minds. Spend time with our families, time in the Word and time with our God. I know that I don’t have to be leading worship in order to feel His presence. He is everywhere and He will be right there in my living room at home as I seek to know Him more. He is our source of acceptance, love, worth, provision, hope, joy and value. Our job, position, title or gifting does not define who we are.
We must lead ourselves before we can lead others. So as you take a spiritual and emotional inventory of your life, I pray that God will show each of you what needs to be let go, laid down or thrown away. Sometimes they are very good things that need to be laid down, but only for a season so we can gain God’s perspective on them. It is a painful process whenever we are pruned, but we will rise up stronger with much fruit.
John 15:2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.