And when you think you’ve cleaned up your messes; got a grip on yourself and pushed forward, the basement will start calling your name.
Because you know there’s more, there's always more in the basement.
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We are designed to tackle tasks. Goals are set and we strive towards those achievements. Certificates show mastery, and trophies depict champions. And while all these feats were worth fighting for, how’s the inside looking? How’s the basement inside that beautifully decorated house of yours?
For years I hid behind my talent of movement and dance. I decorated my closet with trophies hoping all the shiny faux gold would outshine the hurts collecting inside. My peers applauded and the audience never disappointed. The stage was a safe haven where I was free to perform my make believe life with approval and grace. I was convinced that If I could just continue with this life the pain would subside and drift away. And even when the curtains closed I hid myself, deep inside the basement of the theaters.
“If we avoid the hurt, the hurt creates a void in us.” - Lysa TerKeurst
Avoiding hurts and weakness is easy in the beginning, but when God starts throwing you more and more life to tackle you might find you lack the extra space to fit it all in. You’ll either put some of them down and walk towards the new, or you’ll stuff them away in your basement too damaged to let go of them now. We all have a basement, the cleanliness of your basement is another story.
I was forced to finally look at my basement, I don’t remember the day or the reason, I just remember the process. The process is still in progress and I know it always will be. Never again will I close my basement door and ignore the growing mess. I’d prefer to keep the door open, that way when I’m walking past I can catch a glimpse of the old boxes that need tossed, or a corner that needs a brighter lamp. Keeping an open relationship with my basement space has allowed me to keep up with the clutter that can easily form, even in a day. I strive to reduce the victimhood mentality that thrives down there. I do routine sweeping away of self induced pity parties and replace them with thankfulness. I kindly ask the gossipers to depart and invite compassion inside.
If you’re confused and unsure if you have a basement try this simple exercise.
Drive by yourself for one hour. No music. No phone calls. No texting. No podcast.
If simply thinking about that makes you cringe you’ve found your basement door. If by the end of your drive your head is swimming, you’ve entered the mess. My prayer for you if that you have the courage to open it up, invite God into the dark corners and ask Him to help you clean up. Because while life can look glorious on the outside and all those trophies and certificates bring you affirmation from peers and the world, your basement still exists. You are human, Darling, and that implies that you are perfectly imperfect. It’s okay to not have it all together, but you’ll be doing yourself an injustice if you ignore your basement. The cleaning can be done in private, it’s up to you if you’d like to invite others in to assist in giving advice where to put that piece of hurt and encouragement to toss out that old memory. I can promise you one thing. If you begin this work in private, everyone will notice in public. The cleaning you do in private will show clearly in your day to day, and that is truly a remarkable accomplishment.
It can be dark and dreary down there, start sweeping.