A few months ago I was in a planning meeting for an upcoming conference when a friend of mine began to speak about shame. She described our hearts as closets with all of these boxes stacked up. I pictured my own with boxes labeled “anger”, “apathy”, or “lust” stacked up one on top of the other, some right on the edge of falling over and spilling out. Some boxes looked like they had been opened recently and cleaned out a bit while others were gathering dust and cobwebs. She began to describe the “shame” box, this big ignored box at the back of our closet that we don’t let anyone let alone God look into. She spoke about God’s desire to clear out the closets of our heart and to grant us freedom in Christ. I saw him swing open the door of my heart and begin pulling out these boxes and going through them. He opened the “anger” box and pulled out hurt and bitterness and asked “keep or toss?” He opened the “lust” box, and for me that box looks a bit different, he pulled out my lust for marriage or kids and said “keep or toss?” As he got to the back of the closet there was my big ‘ol shame box. He grabbed a forklift…just kidding…kind of. He opened that box and began pulling out things I pictured in that box. Laziness, “keep or toss?” Being bullied, “keep or toss?” Lust, “keep or toss?” But then he got to an area I was unfamiliar with…singleness “keep or toss?” Say what?!? “How did this get in here?” I thought. But that is a blog for another day soon to come. I began to see this clean closet, all swept up, cobwebs gone, light replaced and I was filled with gratitude for His mercy to me. I left encouraged but haunted.
I got in my car, turned off the radio, and began talking to myself out loud. (Yes, I realize I may have looked like a crazy person but this is just the way God made me. I am a verbal person, so if you ever see me talking to what seems like no one don’t panic.) She was right. God the Father had purchased all of those boxes when he sent his Son to die for them and he desires that I walk in the freedom that Christ’s sacrifice affords to me. But as I was driving God began to continue this picture in my mind. I saw His mercy in clearing out the boxes but I began to see something more. His grace. Not only did He clear things out but He filled the closet. He placed in the closet of my heart the Spirit to issue to me the truth of the Gospel. So that when I hear another friend is getting married or having a baby and that fear of being left behind creeps up and I want to pull out that “fear” box (which by the way is lust box too) and hide that moment in there He reminds me of Jesus’ unending love for me. He reminds me that what I’m looking for, whether it is acceptance or security, I have it perfectly Christ. Or when I have worked hard and the credit goes to my boss and that little feeling of “Hey! I did that!” wiggles in and I desire the respect or attention for something the Spirit it gracious to remind me that my right standing was purchased by Christ not my work ethic or how people see me.
But it didn’t stop there. I was reminded of Proverbs 31:25 “Strength an dignity are her clothing, she laughs at the time to come.” He didn’t just clean the closet and send me out into the world in my spiritual birthday suit. He placed in me the Holy Spirit and clothed me with dignity where I once was naked and overexposed. What clothing? Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ…” Clothed! Clothed as sons and daughters not in rags but in robes of the righteousness, dignity and strength of Christ given to us freely and in love by our Father through the Son. I sat in my car, radio off, driving to no where and worshiped. Praises to my Father for seeing me, wooing me, calling me, saving me, cleansing me, and clothing me. He is good. He is faithful.