Curtains, wallpaper border, a refrigerator—these were some of the items left behind by the previous owners of the home we just moved into. While we expected the early-nineties country-chic border to be an issue we would have to take care of upon moving in, we were surprised by the curtains and refrigerator that stayed. We assumed they would be taken; no one had mentioned they would be bequeathed to us upon the purchase of the house. So we’ve been left with some unforeseen decisions to make; we’ve had to determine what we will allow to remain, what we can use somewhere else, and what we’re going to get rid of.
And this got me thinking about my emotional and spiritual life. There will be times I will move into a new place and have to decide what to do with the things that are left there, because here’s the truth: sometimes we inherit old things left in new-to-us places. And just like in my house, I have to take inventory. I have to decide what I will allow to remain, what I can reuse somewhere else, and what I need to release.
I have to carefully select what I will allow in my space, because how I have things decorated, how I have things arranged, how I organize and utilize and prioritize will impact my function and growth and ability to mature within that place. And it’s important to know that just because something is left behind in the place of your new arrival doesn’t mean it’s for you; someone else’s left-overs don’t have to be what you use to decorate, arrange, or organize your life; what is in your new space or circumstances does not have the power to dictate how you utilize and prioritize what is now yours.
You don’t have to keep everything left for you.
You do not have to accept everything that is passed down.
You do not have to take ownership of the things others try to transfer onto you.
You must decide what stays and what goes.
Having an extra refrigerator will be nice. I have three starving teens in my house, so an extra place to store more food will actually help me out. I’m keeping it. I like the curtains. They won’t work in the room they were left in, but I was able to move them to another place in the house where they look great and it saves me the expense of buying more. I’m reusing them. While some may like it and think it’s totes adorbs, I hate that country wallpaper border. It simply doesn’t work with the other stuff I have. It stresses me out and gets my focus off the good things in the room it’s in. I’m releasing it.
So how do I apply this remain, reuse, release principle to my emotional and spiritual life? I take inventory. I ask myself some questions about the things I have allowed into my life and answer honestly about the impact they have on my space.
Is it helpful? Does it make your life easier? Does it facilitate growth? Does it give you space to move into the future? Does it operate correctly and without problems? Does it have the capacity to hold all you need? Let it remain.
Is it useful? Is it dependable? Is it something you’ve learned from? Is it working for you? Is it keeping you from having to spend more in another area? Reuse it.
Do you have room for it? Does it take up your energy? Does it stress you out? Does it cost you a lot to keep it? Release it.
What about you? Are there things in your life you inherited—things you didn’t ask for, circumstances you didn’t expect, relationships in dysfunction, attitudes out of line, a past that haunts, labels from others, doubt, fear, frustration? Be encouraged today. You don’t have to keep everything left for you. You don’t have to accept everything that is passed down. You do not have to take ownership of things others—or Satan—tries to transfer onto you. You are a child of the Most-High King. You are made in His image. You are who He says you are. And you have the power—with His help—to clean up your space. You have the authority to declare what stays and what goes in your life. You are capable of change. You are qualified to determine the course of your mind and emotions and spirit and relationships. Ask yourself these questions, answer honestly, and invite God in. He wants to help you.
With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. – Romans 8:1-2 (MSG)