Thursday, January 17, 2019

Are you a hoarder?

Treasures come in all forms, from small to gigantic, 'observable' or 'unseen'. The 'unseen' treasures can be the most valued of all to us, but never really known or appreciated by others. They are 'just ours' - to be enjoyed and appreciated by us and us alone. Memories can be treasures - unseen by others, but treasured up in our hearts and frequented as often as we like. They aren't 'tangible' like a diamond ring, but they are appreciated and felt nonetheless. Treasures can be 'laid up' in all manners, as well. Today, if someone has way too many 'treasures' we might just call them hoarders! They make entire TV shows to show the unhealthiness of being too focused on saving all these 'tangible treasures' that one can amass, but have really little to no use of over the long range. I wonder if it is possible we also can 'hoard' intangible treasures - such as memories we should have let go of long ago because they don't really provide any benefit or enjoyment for us. It has been said the things we ponder long enough, or frequently enough, will be the things that guide our actions. If that is the case, then maybe some of the thoughts we 'hoard away' really need to be discarded once and for all in order for them to no longer have the influence they do over our actions!

Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (Matthew 6:19-21 MSG)

Stockpiles exist because someone is either preparing or hoarding! Stockpile a load of lumber in anticipation of building a room addition and you are preparing your materials for the project that is ahead. You are stockpiling because the lumber is expensive, the budget is small, and you will need to have things all in place before you can begin the project that will provide added room your family will utilize as an office, new bedroom, or the like. Stockpile a load of guilt and shame in your memories and you are not preparing to build anything other than walls that keep you 'boxed in'. The wrong stuff stockpiled, or things stockpiled just for the sake of never letting them go, are the things we call 'hoarded treasures' - they are not really valuable in the true sense of the word, but we have placed an 'unhealthy' value on them. Sometimes a 'memory hoarder' needs to let go of the 'unhealthy' treasures they have amassed in those unhealthy relationships!

Examples of hoarded memories that might just be unhealthy in nature could range from those memories of wrongs done against you to the ones we created after engaging in activities that we knew to be wrong. We don't exactly 'build walls' of guilt and shame overnight. Our actions, and those of others, create those walls over the course of time. The wall is always built brick by brick, board by board, or stone by stone. Even cement walls are erected in sections! Even a hoarder begins by saving away that first 'treasured item'. He doesn't just back a truckload of 'treasures' up to his home and dump them there, creating him as an 'instant hoarder'. He brings one item into his home, then another, and another - not really parting with them - until one day there is a massive increase in his 'treasures'. The problem is that no one really wants to 'steal away' those types of treasures - they are not valued by anyone else and the 'burglar' isn't even enticed to give them a second thought!

Most of us are 'guilty' at times - we say or do something that makes us 'feel' we didn't 'do right' or 'perform well'. We might file that memory of guilt away, not really dealing with it at the moment. If we do, we might find ourselves revisiting it later on, sometimes repeating that revisit. One day, we realize that guilt wasn't really dealt with in the moment and we have been 'treasuring' it (and similar memories) way too much. When we come to this realization, it is hard to part with those 'treasures' because they have taken up a whole lot of space in our lives - they have become the walls that we have been enclosed within. They weren't 'healthy walls' for us to build, but they have become walls of 'comfort' to us. Can guilt bring us comfort? Sometimes even the unhealthy stuff in life can provide a sense of 'comfort' or 'security' to us - because the walls seem to protect us from what we fear may be on the outside of those walls! Unhealthy memories are not walls we want to keep erected in our lives, but until we deal with the fear of what may be outside of those walls, we won't desire to be free of them! Just sayin!

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