Nov 12, 2022 06:00am
Fresh Starts

When was the last time you got a fresh start?

During the last few weeks of October, my wife and I moved from Conway, Arkansas to Maumelle, twenty minutes south. I am a youth pastor at a church in Little Rock, and we wanted to be closer to the church so we could be more present in the lives of our students and host events at our place, which would not have been possible with the distance between Conway and Little Rock.

We had lived in the same apartment in Conway since we married three years ago. It was a small apartment with two bedrooms, which was just enough space for the two of us. Because we both had accumulated belongings before the wedding, we both had plenty of stuff and not a lot of room to store it. The second bedroom in our Conway apartment ended up being a stand-in storage unit, packed wall-to-wall with totes and boxes that remained unpacked.

Our new apartment is significantly larger. It’s still a two-bedroom unit, but the bedrooms and their closets are significantly larger. However, the larger bedroom did not mean more storage space. My wife and I are expecting our first child in March, so that bedroom will become a nursery. In essence, that meant we either had to downsize significantly, or we had to rent an off-site storage unit somewhere, an extra cost I did not particularly want to pay for. That brought us back to downsizing.

I expected the process to be laborious and exhausting. However, after less than two weeks in our new apartment, working only a couple hours a day, we have donated or thrown away so much excess stuff that we did not need anymore—clothes from our high school days, odds and ends collected and stored away for mildly sentimental reasons that time allowed us to see were not actually necessary, and so on. It took help from parents, siblings, and friends, but in the end, I was ecstatic to see how much we were able to get rid of. All it took was a fresh start and a desire to declutter.

Sometimes in life, things can start to feel cluttered. We get burdened down by regrets or responsibilities or bottled up grudges. Our hearts and minds can become so over-stuffed that we feel overwhelmed and unable to carry on. We need to declutter, but we don’t know where to start. After all, we’re so busy grinding away at our 9:00 to 5:00 job that we barely have time to think about our weekend plans, let alone a total life reset.

But Jesus offers the reset we need. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us we can “Cast all [our] anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Is it really that easy? How can we just give it over to Jesus and let it go?

Because in Jesus, we truly can have a fresh start. He died to make it possible. For some, their burden may be the sin they have been carrying their whole life. Until Jesus erases that sin, no comfort can be found. But God knew we could not bear the weight of our own sin, so He “demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

If you are unfamiliar with Christianity, religion, and faith, know this: it’s as simple as admitting Jesus Christ is Lord and believing that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9). At that genuine step of faith, God freely saves anyone and breaks the bonds of the sin holding them captive.

If you have believed in Jesus for some time and still find yourself trapped in the clutter of life, you can bring your mess to Him anytime. Lay it down at His feet. Let Him do the sorting. He can toss out the excess, the junk you don’t need that is only taking up space. He can free up room for the things that will improve your life. Find those improvements in His Word, in fellowship with His people at a local church, and in time spent in prayer. Access the freedom that God offers, and then use it to spread His love and good news to those around you.

Whether you find yourself in a mess or not, know there are people around who still live with life’s clutter. Show them the way…and if you can, lend a hand. It’s always easier to clean with a little help.

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