Perhaps like me you have noticed that time seems to pass with increasing speed of late, days, weeks and months are flying by. Or it is just an aspect of my getting older and being able to look back a few decades. There is so much that I long to do still, and I sense that I need to start thinking about those things if I am to achieve my long-held dreams and desires. I have never really planned much in my life before, things and events just ‘happened’ to me. I am however considering that I might need to plan a few things, or they might never happen.
So what do I let go of, for I am convinced that in the act of a good clear out, new things come along to fill the vacuum left behind. In all areas of my life, I need to have a re-think and decide what do I want to keep, and what is holding me back? This is a big question and the answer not as easy to define. Possibly you know that feeling (approximately two or three months after a clear out) you go looking for something and realise that after hoarding that item unused for years, you now need it but it has gone. You threw it away or recycled it.
I have a lot of things I need to pass on to charity shops or throw out. Things that no more define my life, and I need to let the memories go that attach me to them. A tough one is baby clothes and items, as any mother will know this feeling. The tiny cute little clothes neatly packed up are a part of who you were as a mummy. But as my youngest is now approaching 19 years of age, can I let some things go? I have her little white leather ‘first’ ankle boots and, I have to admit, even a tiny pair of her socks inside the boots. I remember the day I had to retrace my footsteps because, somehow or the other on a long pram-pushing walk, she had kicked one off and thrown it ‘overboard’! My dismay at the loss I can still feel, they cost so much money!! I did find it and there they have sat, in a drawer all these years. Today, I pass on this as a clear out item and am keeping them for a little longer.
Then what do I do with the squeaky dog toy I bought in France half a lifetime ago. I have kept it way too long. Maybe that could go now, so I put it on the ‘to go’ pile. Having made a start I move on to bags and boxes and drawers sifting and sorting. So far I have a save it’ pile, a ‘to-go’ pile and an ‘I-don’t-know-what –to-do-with-it’ pile. Then I come to the most agonizing part of the clear out; books. Children’s books (so many that the loft had to be reinforced to hold the weight) are so hard to part with. I remember the bedtime stories and lose half an hour or so, stopping to re-read some. Surely I need to keep these for grandchildren one day. So I start to sort and tidy them, and the whole clear out plan is in jeopardy. Possessions accumulated over time take almost as much time to decide what to do with them. If I were to contemplate moving house I think I would need a five-year warning to get ready!
Other areas of life which need a flush through are less tangible to consider. Take a clear out of personal values, character traits and habits which hold us back from moving on in life. Nothing stays the same and over time some things which worked fine in the past are now no longer necessary, and new ways can be introduced in place which will keep us moving along the path set before us. Why do we hang on to these things which in maintaining them stop us flourishing and maturing in wisdom and grace? So maybe it is time to change and have less of the negative mindset, the fearful processing or the anxious thoughts that stop our personal and spiritual growth.
With this sort of clear out I think I need to be gentle and kind to myself, not rushing this process and change but let it rather merge in as I learn to let go of all kinds of behaviours and reactions. Being aware of these will help me I hope to move on and maybe one day shall be ready for the great move forward towards those dreams and plans I so desire in my life. Where will I be in a years’ time, or five or ten? If we never take the time to consider where the path is moving, we will struggle to walk along it, and perhaps even decide to stay put in the safety of what we know. The future will never be known if we stay in our comfort zone. I do not want to live less than my hopes and dreams. It takes courage and faith to leave the familiar behind and strike out into the unknown purpose and plan we desire to live in. I guess I am blessed in that I can forge ahead as my children are flying the home nest and I have only myself to consider. Going it alone will take much bravery I think but I can go at a pace that I feel comfortable in, as long as I keep moving towards the goal of my heart.
It is through my Christian faith and trust that I can be sure the path will be even more wonderful than I hope, dream or imagine. So as I sit surrounded by dusty boxes and memories I am open to the new and one day I will see that in God’s timing and with His help I will be changed from one degree of glory to another. Now I have begun to plan and it looks like a trip to the village and the charity shop because the boot of the car is full up! Then a trip to the recycling centre will be next. I feel change in the air and that it is time to prepare for something new.