Me: Clean out the stuff from under your bed.
Child: There’s nothing under there.
Child: Nothing, just junk.
I began making the girls clean out from under their beds after I discovered there was about a basement’s worth of junk under each bed. One day I was looking for something in the youngest one’s room and pulled on a shirt sleeve that was sticking out from under the bed. When I tugged on it, other stuff emerged, and when I pulled on that stuff more stuff came out. I couldn’t stop there. Suddenly, I had to get everything out from under that bed. The amount of stuff that I pulled out was overwhelming. How in the world did all that fit under there? How come the bed wasn’t tilting?
By the stretch of anyone’s imagination, I am nowhere near being a neat freak, but this freaked me out. Junk upon junk was now covering her bedroom floor. Why is there so much stuff and what do I do with it? Get the girl and make her deal with it. So I called her and told her to clean it up.
Child: But Mommy, I caa-aann’t.
Me: I’ll help you.
Child: I doon’t wannnt to. This is tooo muuuuuch for me.
Me: Like I want to? I’m not going to do it for you, you have to do it, but I’ll help.
And then, working together we got it done. I did most of the work, but she got in there and did her part the best she could. We found many empty Gogurts and juice boxes under there — haven’t I told them a bazillion times not to eat in their rooms? —paper, clothes, trash, more paper, boxes, crayons, dolls with their hair chopped, doll heads, doll torsos, puzzle pieces, jewelry, some money and so much more.
This little scene seemed a bit too familiar to me.
God: Hey, come here and clean this out.
Me: There’s nothing there.
God: Nothing? Really?
Me: No Lord, just junk.
Then He starts pulling stuff out, and that stuff pulls out more stuff and more until it is overwhelming and I have to deal with it. Where did all this come from?
God: See all this junk? I want you clean it up.
Me: Lord, I can’t do it.
God: Don’t worry, I’ll help You.
Me: But I caaaan’t, won’t You just take care of it?
God: I’m not going to do it for you, but you start and I’ll help. I’ll get rid of the junk and clean up what you can’t. Just start and keep going. We’ll get it done together.
Feeling a little overwhelmed I grab whatever is in front of me and when I find the right place for that I move on to the next thing. I get ambitious and pick up too much at once, thinking it will help things go more quickly, but as I try to maneuver my way to the trash, stuff starts sliding off the top. Suddenly, I can’t hold it all and more things start sliding off the sides and then in one big collapse, it all falls back to the ground. In frustration, I begin to pick it all up again, but not as much at once.
I can’t take care of it all, but He is there helping. I look up from my pile of junk every once in a while and see Him doing something, but I’m not sure what He’s up to. All the while, He has been removing the gum that has been stuck to the floor for far too long, He’s been picking up the heavy stuff that I’m too weak to lift, He’s been wiping down the dirty walls and scrubbing the floor, He’s been helping me carry and dump stuff in the trash can and then taking the bags out to the curb.
When all is said and done, He really did all the work, He just wanted me there so I can learn. He showed me where to put things, what had to be thrown away, what could be kept, what belonged to someone else, and convinced me of what I needed to let go. To my absolute delight, He also let me see that it wasn’t all junk—there are some real treasures in that junk pile.
If we refuse to clean, the good things of life and the precious moments we’ve looked for but couldn’t find also stay hidden. It can be difficult, but He’s right in there with us doing most of the work. He not only wants us to be free from the mess, but He also wants us to find those beautiful treasures that we’ve been missing for far too long.