Clergy View: Cluttered Garage, Cluttered Soul

Our garage is a mess.

And it's driving me crazy. Like many Minnesotans, we have items which get used constantly in the winter while taking the summer off and vice versa. Different seasons, different roles.

The problem came about when we didn't transition well from one season to the next and then

like a game of Tetris, the tools from one project got stacked near the lawn stuff brought in out of the cold and set on top of the snow items required for functioning in this odd winter we've been having.

The garage wasn't always a mess, and it certainly didn't get that way overnight, but little by little, one choice at a time. What was meant to be a place for work, pleasure and automobile storage, has become a place of frustration, toil and clutter.


How many of our spiritual lives are that way? We sing "let every heart prepare Him room" around Christmas, but our souls can be so cluttered we can hardly open the door to let the Lord in.

Psalm 18 speaks of the Lord being our fortress, rock and deliverer but also speaks about bringing us out into a broad or open place. Imagine it. Spaciousness. Openness. Isn't this why our area is so desirable? Even if we find ourselves bound up in a building during our work day, we're never more than minutes from open places, are we?

While David is likely writing about a field, an open place could be a lake, golf course or seeing an open road or trail stretched out before us on the snowmobile, motorcycle or bicycle.

And while the space around us is important, it can wake us up to what we're yearning to be happening within us. We run around with conflicted hearts and cluttered minds while the Lord is inviting us out into an open space, giving us a chance at having a spacious soul.

As we grow spiritually many of us treat our lives like we've treated our garage thinking, "There's an empty space there, let's fill it." We overlook our primary roles and over prioritize secondary ones. We fail to mature into the next season of life because we haven't prepared for and faced the reality of the conclusion of the current one. We continue to fill our lives with all sorts of "things" (good and bad) until we're so overloaded we're much less a functioning "shop" where productivity and growth can happen, but rather a cluttered museum with echoes of vitality scattered around.

What is the state of your soul? Was it always like that? What's happened to make it how it is? What would it look like for life to less resemble the picture you've created of my garage and more like vitality in an open space? May we guard against the vacuum of nature by setting our gaze on the Lord and respond to His invitation to meet Him and make our soul a more open space, whether it’s out in nature, or within the hopeful confines of a dusty, disorganized garage.

Mike Garry is pastor of Communitas Church in Brainerd.
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