A few days ago, a large box was delivered to our door. I used to wonder what kind of people paid for regular dog food delivery. Now that I have two dogs, we’re those people. I always laugh because the box is huge and almost impossible to lift but on the outside, it says, “Box may be heavy.” It’s really an understatement. My remarkably strong children hefted the box just inside to the entryway, and then walked away. (No judgement) And the box stayed there for a couple of days. In that time, I brought in a huge duffel bag my daughter uses for dance and left it in the entryway. I pulled two baskets of laundry out of the dryer and left them in the entryway. In a short time, this area became a dumping ground for clutter. It all started with a very large box.
Yesterday, I decided to take a few minutes to clear out the box and duffel and baskets. Let’s be real. I had my husband lug the bag of dog food to the garage. Then I cleared out the rest of the stuff. He walked back in and marveled at our now clutter-free foyer.
“Wow! This looks a lot better.”
“Well, there aren’t any large cardboard boxes here anymore if that’s what you mean.”
This sparked a discussion. He mentioned that people always use the phrase “the elephant in the room” and there’s a time for that, but there’s also a time for the “large box in the entryway.” You see, an elephant is remarkable. If you actually saw an elephant in the room, even if you didn't want to say anything, you’d be like, “Whoa! What’s with the elephant over there?”
But if it’s…say…a cardboard box, you might not really notice it. People often get deliveries and they come in boxes. It's not remarkable. However, in our lives, the cardboard box in the entryway is something we’ve allowed to clutter up our hearts that we kind of don’t notice anymore. Maybe it’s selfishness or bitterness. These “boxes” are there and they complicate things and attract all kinds of new clutter. Maybe it doesn't look like selfishness, but shows up as a lack of intimacy between you and your spouse. One of you chose to put yourself first and it became a habit, Over time, that box was placed in the entryway and no one moved it. Maybe you wouldn’t call the box discontentment, but you do yell at your kids all the time and you don’t know where that anger is coming from.
It’s important to note, I used the website to order dog food, I didn’t order a cardboard box. However, the dog food comes in the cardboard box. I didn’t go looking to be bitter. But maybe something happened to me and I chose not to forgive. And my lack of forgiveness was packaged in bitterness. At first, I noticed it. But instead of disposing of it, I let it sit in my entryway. I had to step around it when I walked inside or outside. I was less concerned about other clutter, because the huge box was already there looking unsightly. I couldn’t invite anyone in because the box was in the way. Do you see how that can happen?
So, what are your boxes in the entryway? What things have you unintentionally held onto that are taking up residence in your life and causing all kinds of problems? Maybe it’s jealousy or an insecurity. Those are boxes.
When I finally decided to clean up the clutter, it was pretty easy. I had to make a few trips upstairs. I had to get out the scissors and break down the box. I had to haul it out to the recycling.
Getting rid of jealousy and selfishness is tougher than breaking down a box, but it might be easier than you think. I don’t want to sound like a pop psychologist, but it’s true that identifying a problem is a huge step. Being able to name those boxes makes it much easier to throw them away. And remember, I had to ask my husband to help me carry the bag of dog food to the garage. Sometimes removing the boxes requires us to reach out to a trusted friend for help.
Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” When it comes to cleaning out clutter, God wants so badly to take out the trash that keeps us from being in right relationships with Him and others. Trust Him and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to let go. And even if it's not easy, dealing with the wreckage that results from holding on is much more difficult.
I was amazed at how much better I felt when the big box and all the other clutter was gone. The floor looked shinier and my mood lightened. I had a skip in my step that wasn’t there before. I felt ready to tackle bigger things. Just remember, the boxes aren’t elephants. They’re normal things that creep in so we barely notice. But, believe me, you’ll notice when they’re gone.