So my big project over spring break was to clean out all the kids’ closets and drawers. I know, PARRTAAY, right?!?! Oh how “Spring Break” can transform in a couple of decades… Anyway, I literally touched every little sock, pair of undies, and discarded shoe of all four of my children. These were tedious hours. Not-so-nice emotions surfaced when I realized someone had lost one pricey church shoe, or a brand new dress was shoved in the recesses of the PJ drawer, or so on and so on. Also, there was a bit of embarrassement and “mom guilt” when I recognized that all of my 10 year old’s shorts were size 6-7 and everyone’s toes were scrunched inside of their school shoes. The time had certainly come! So, armed with garbage bags for Good Will and a list of what everyone was going to need for the approaching warmer weather (and a little T Swift on the Beats Pill), we tackled it room by room.
In hindsight I should have taken on this task alone rather than including the kids but I needed them to try things on (which they loved let me tell you) to see what fit and what didn’t. The problem came when certain t-shirts, or nightgowns, or flip flops which they were very attached to proved to be too small. Then, the panic and agony when they realized they were going to be passed down either to younger siblings or to friends was ridiculous!!! I calmly stated that we were not going to keep things that were too small, no longer needed, or useless. I also reminded them that if all their bathing suits or shorts were too small then they could in fact get new bathing suits or shorts that would not show their bootys, for example. We also made a “keepsake” pile for each- things that they could no longer wear but wanted to save…. all my daughter’s Nutcracker T-shirts from every performance she has been in, all my son’s camp T-shirts, anything with a tiger on it for my tiger-obsessed 6 year old… You get the picture. It seemed fine until that evening when little sister walked out of her room in a pair of PJ’s that just this morning had resided in big sister’s drawer…. And we were back to the agony.
All of this cathartic (all be it dramatic) cleaning out brought me to a place of contemplating some things in my faith as I took my cozy place on the couch next to my Bible the next morning and eyed bags of grown-out-of clothes and shoes. Here is where the Word of God took me, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11. I put childish ways behind me. It sounds like the apostle Paul is calling for a little cleaning out of closets himself. In Hebrews 5:11-14 we read, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good form evil.” Do you hear the author (probably Paul again)’s annoyance? I can hear echo’s of my own voice saying, “Your rear end is hanging out of those shorts! They are too small! Let’s get some that fit.”
Are there areas in your faith where you are squeezing into some ill-fitting spaces? Are you hanging on to some comfortable routines when God is calling you to pass them on? Are you still trying to fit into some old revelations when Jesus has a brand new one for you? Does your prayer life look like a bottle filled with milk while The Lord is waiting for you at a banquet table? Maybe it is your very best Sunday dress… the miracle you still stand on. Is it time to perhaps put it in the keepsake pile and go get another one? I’m not saying forget it! No, we will remember and tell our children of all His deeds. But don’t we trust that He has something more for us? Is there a place of leadership or influence that you need to hand down to someone a little younger than you in Christ? They cannot step up until you step out. Are you still just trying to scrape out a few moments a day to read a warm and fuzzy devo after years of walking with The Lord while He is calling you to teach? Are you stomping around in the same ‘ole sin when He is calling you to righteousness?
We have a good Father. He will not leave us with our toes scrunched. And he will not let us go bare-footed if we put away childish things. It is hard to let go and move on in our faith. It may hurt to see someone else stepping into what once was yours. We like to feel as though we have mastered certain areas, worn the grooves just right. But here is the thing, we can never get to the end of our God. Isaiah 43:19 says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Perhaps we cannot perceive it because our head is stuck in a faith that is too small. Just like I was willing to take my four growing children to the shoe store the next day and get everyone footwear that fit, He will be kind and gracious as He leads you to your new thing.
I don’t know where you are on your walk of faith today. Maybe waking up 15 minuets early to pray for your family is your new thing. Maybe putting away childish sins like gossip, sexual immorality, impure language, etc. is your new thing. Maybe a warm and fuzzy “Jesus thought” devo is all your young tummy can hold right now. But if it is, it won’t be for long. Perhaps He is asking you to step out and make a phone call, teach a Bible Study, be real with a group, start writing a something for goodness sakes (ok, that was for me). He is calling all of us to maturity. He is calling all of us to a bold, grown-up faith. He is calling us to the meaty things of righteousness. He is calling us to a broken world that needs the PEACE and JOY that only He can bring and He will use us to BRING IT! We better take off the flip-flops that our toes are hanging off of and get our boots on! And look back there, a little way down the road… Do you see that sister that is ready for some new digs? The ones that you have grown out of may be the perfect fit for her in her new thing!
The Word of God is alive and active (Heb. 4:12). Where things are alive, they are growing. Where we grow, we grow out of. Our faith is a RELATIONSHIP not a KEEPSAKE. Won’t you take an inventory of your walk today and see if there are a few items, a few areas, a few callings, even a few sins that are too small for your BIG God. We can trust that He has a new thing for us and will make sure we are dressed for the occasion!