I am a wife. I am a mom. I am a daughter. I am a friend. I am a clown. I am a flower designer. I am a balloonist. I am a face painter. I am a writer. I am a child of God.
I can be terribly stubborn. I am very creative. I’m thoughtful. I love deeply and fiercely. I love adventure. I love to hear people’s stories. I’m curious. I’m encouraging.
And I am a hoarder.
Did that one stop you in your tracks? It’s a hard, embarrassing thing to admit. I don’t want to be a hoarder. I don’t like being a hoarder. It can affect every part of my life, if I allow it. I have been criticized, ridiculed, scorned because of it. I have had help cleaning countless times. At times I can do very well with it, but when the stresses of life hit, my house is likely to show it first.
Very quickly we’re going to deal with what, exactly, hoarding is. Many times I think folks assume that hoarders are just too lazy to clean their house and their stuff takes over. That’s only a tiny part of it. Hoarders, by definition, are people who have a hard time discarding things and are prone to acquiring large amounts of stuff to the point that their home is clogged with it and they are unable to use rooms in their house as intended. For years, hoarding was diagnosed as an OCD and treated as such. There is no magic pill to fix it. Lots of behavioral therapy can help….but doesn’t always. In the last couple of years, hoarding has become a diagnosis in and of itself. It is now considered to be a mental illness all of its own. Scientists have discovered that the brains of hoarders react differently to decision-making than the brains of “normal” people. It is a very real disorder. So, now that we’ve set aside the “lazy” notion, let’s move on.
My family and I moved to stickville a few months ago. We’re renting my best friend’s house. Because of circumstances, most of her belongings have stayed in the house. When we moved, we packed like refugees – taking only what we needed – and left the rest in the other house. But, now, we are going to rent the other house out. So, our stuff has to be dealt with. Let me assure you that trying to sort through the entire house is more than overwhelming to me. It has had me in tears and knots for days. And it has reminded me that, although I’m doing very well in the new home, I had not been doing well in the old one. It has brought the hoarding front and center again.
The problem with having flaws (which we all do) is that it’s easy to get so focused on our flaws, we fail to see the good parts. Think about having a large pimple on your face. You just know everyone is focused on that and the pimple is the only thing we see when we look in the mirror. So, given the fact that I’ve had to face my flaw head-on this week, that was all I could see about me. The broken record in my head kept telling me over and over what a failure I was.
(You know those are my favorite two words!) But God allowed me to find a notebook that belonged to my 9-year-old. It was from school and he obviously had the assignment to write about someone in his life. He chose his mom. As I read the words, it became so obvious to me that I am so much more than this flaw. Not once did he mention that his mom couldn’t keep a clean house. He mostly wrote about the things I had done with him, like playing monopoly and taking him to the beach and the mountains. In that moment, God shifted my focus and reminded me that, although I do have an issue with hoarding, it does not define who I am.
I was overwhelmingly reminded of that aha moment last night when I sat with a friend and she was sharing her dreams with me. She had a list of reasons that she couldn’t pursue her dreams, not the least of which is the fact that she has MS. The funny (not haha) thing is that, from looking at her, you would never know. She looks healthy. And she rarely tells people about her MS…because she doesn’t want to be defined by it. Yet, the enemy had convinced that it could block her dreams.
I think one of the cruelest tricks the enemy plays on us is causing us to focus so squarely on our flaws, we fail to see that they are simply a part of the fabric of who we are. Yes, sometimes flaws can be dangerous. But most of us don’t have dangerous flaws. We have normal flaws. Given enough brain space though, satan can convince us that our flaws are downright deadly and will kill any dream we have. And that, my friends, stifles what the Lord would call us to do.
One of the things I’ve seen over and over, but never tire of is this summary of our favorite Bible characters:
Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sarah was impatient, Elijah was depressed, Moses stuttered, Zaccheus was short, Abraham was old….and Lazarus was dead!
God doesn’t call the qualifed, He qualifies the CALLED!
So. What’s your flaw? Have you let it keep you from what God has called you to do? Today, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to! If God calls you to a thing, He will give you everything you need to accomplish it.
Oh. And be gentle with those around you. They have flaws too.
Be blessed and tell someone you love them!
‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 4:6b NIV