Are You a Hoarder?
By brittany johnson
April 30, 2012
I’ve always been fascinated by the TV show Hoarders on A&E. It’s like watching a train wreck about to happen; there is nothing you can do but stop and watch when you stumble upon it while channel surfing.
The people featured on the show hoard significant amounts of possessions or trash in their homes. Typically, they show these homes, bursting at the seams, packed with belongings the owners should get rid of but instead choose to live their lives surrounded by. The show brings in professional organizers and psychologists to help the hoarders unpack their homes and the issues that brought them to this state.
Besides feeling the immediate need to clean out my kitchen junk drawers after watching the show, what fascinates me most about Hoarders is that the hoarding is usually connected with a past tragedy, like a loss of a loved one or past abuse. Their response to cope with the tragic event is to build up physical walls of junk and metaphorical walls around their hearts. The professionals and family members help the individual heal and then move forward by getting rid of the mess that surrounds them.
Some may watch the show in disgust and become appalled by how people could live in a home filled to the brim—how they are paralyzed to throw anything away to make room for a place that is accessible not only for others, but even for themselves. I often wonder if this is what it looks like to God when He looks into our lives. Does He see us as houses filled to the brim, paralyzed to give of ourselves to Him and others?Learning to love God and love others is learning how to freely empty ourselves of time, talent and resources to those in need, instead of hoarding them to surround ourselves with personal gain. When we give to others, we make room for a place of love that is accessible not only for others, but for ourselves as well.
If you are hoarding your time, talent and resources, is there something you need to heal from in order to give freely? In the same way that the professionals help the hoarder heal and move forward, is there something you need to heal from in order to trust God with what you have? Do you need to learn to give up control in your life to trust in God’s plan or provision?
Maybe you hoard your past sins and torment yourself when you try to unpack those boxes in your life. The Devil may try to lie to you, telling you you have to dwell on your past sins and metaphorically surround your heart with walls of guilt. You then become paralyzed by your past and convince yourself that you don’t have anything to offer or are too ashamed to allow yourself to heal and move forward in your life. When you feel tempted to revisit your past sins, it’s time to let go and throw that baggage out—God has already forgiven those sins for those who have believed and asked for His forgiveness.
God gave His best to us by giving His only Son, Jesus Christ, to come live on Earth and be a living sacrifice for all our sins so that we can have a relationship with our Creator. He made a way for us to break down the walls we’ve created in our lives by our own hoarding so we can live a life clear of clutter and give freely our best to God. Since God gave His best to us, shouldn't we give our best to Him?
Brittany Johnson graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a B.A. in Communication Studies and received her M.S. in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Colorado State University. Currently, she works in higher education in Arizona and writes for www.blaynejohn.com, a website of musings that encourage women to grow in their faith. You can follow her on Twitter @blaynejohn.