When I was a young mom (wow, does that feel like a reaaalllly long time ago) I was determined to be very intentional and organized with the pictures I took of my children. (Now this was back in the day when people actually took pictures with a camera of some sort, removed the film out of the camera and had them developed at a photo processing store. What a hassle, right?)
I stuck to the plan. Printed picture after picture, roll after roll. I bought album upon album and had my children’s lives laid out in chronological order just as I envisioned (well, sort of).
Yes, I produced album upon album full of printed pictures. But when one album would fill up I often couldn’t find the same one, so over time my album collection – although organized – was mismatched in size and shape. And because I was so thorough in documenting our lives in pictures these albums began taking up a whole lot of space in a closet. But they were safe and sound, not hurting anything, even forgotten at times, so I wasn’t really thinking about all of the issues with having so many photo albums until…
It was time to move. Oh great, what to do with all these books of pictures? Where will I put them in the new house? Turns out I didn’t have a closet to stuff them in like I did in the old house, so after we had unboxed everything else in the new house the boxes of photo albums sat upstairs in the bonus room, all alone, unpacked, making a mockery of my goal to be boxless. Those organized albums of life became my nemesis to declaring our home box-free after the move.
I needed a new plan. As I may have mentioned before, I didn’t think I was a hoarder until I had to clean out all the stuff I had saved in my parents’ rather large basement “for one day when I need it” or “for the kids when they move out.” Well, well, well, the last time I was visiting my parents I found some white photo boxes that I used for – hmmm, what did I use them for originally??? I had saved them so long I don’t even know what I used them for when I bought them – but with those boxes I devised a new plan for my pictures.
I brought all those boxes to the new house and am now taking out all the pictures from the mismatched, falling apart albums and placing them (in chronological order, of course)in these picture boxes. Those will take up far less space, still be organized and will be uniform in their appearance (ahhh, music to an OCD person’s ears!).
I’ve been looking – examining – every picture as I remove it from an album and put it in a box. I’ve noticed details that were long ago forgotten, such as furniture we had when we first got married, horrible paint colors I chose, and I don’t even know what I was doing with my hair in the 90’s but it wasn’t a good look.
Sometimes it takes a major life event to reevaluate areas that have been tucked away, safe and sound like my photo albums. Sometimes we just need to spend time examining our lives and relationship with Jesus to see where we can make improvements. Just because an area hasn’t been looked at or dusted off in awhile doesn’t mean we can’t make it better.
Let me be real for a moment. The latest (I say latest because I will always be a work in progress) area the Lord has revealed to me to work on is the words that come out of my mouth. A couple of weeks ago the Holy Spirit spoke to me Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Mmmmm hmmmm. Let that marinate awhile.
My goal is to be a huge encourager, nothing but good words coming out of my mouth. I fall short every day, but I’m working on it. I say that verse every morning in the hope I will recall it when needed.
So let me encourage you to take some time to be still and listen for the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit to convict you in an area that may have become bulky and forgotten but through the power of Jesus can be renewed and redeemed. Take a fresh look at an old or perhaps forgotten problem area in your life and let Jesus guide you to a new and fresh start!