Remember going to your high school youth group trip and towards the end of the conference, your camp counselor or youth pastor handed everyone a piece of paper (with a pen) and told you to write down all the things in your life you wanted to give to God?? Then everyone crumbled up the roughly torn sheets of paper, gathered around the fire, and awkwardly threw the paper in quickly hoping no one would see what you wrote down?
There’s just something about throwing things in a fire that feels freeing.
Did you have much cleanup to do from hurricane Ida?
Perhaps there were (or still are) a bunch of downed trees, branches, limbs, and leaves that blew all across your yard.
One of the hardest things about after a storm is the cleanup.
You don’t want to deal with the mess, but you can’t leave it there. (Especially if it’s something that affects your neighbor as well!)
So, you get to cleaning.
You rebuilt the collapsed fence.
Cut down any shrubbery that looked loose or flimsy.
You raked all the leaves.
Picked up any fallen branches.
Tidied up the garden.
Fished out any leaves from the pool.
Swept the front porch.
Just drive around your neighborhood (or anywhere in SELA right now) and you’ll see, in front of houses, the piles of debris from Ida stacked high on sidewalks.
Although that is what is currently in the front of your yard until storm trash pickup happens, maybe you were able to burn what was in the backyard.
As I was putting leaves, branches, fallen tree limbs, pine needles, and any other debris I could find into the burn barrel in my backyard, I remember thinking about the scenario I mentioned at the beginning of my blog. I recalled that moment of throwing into the crackling, flaming campfire the paper that contained all the things I had written down that I felt drew me away from Christ and hindered my walk with Him.
Malachi 3:2-3 (TLB)
“ ‘…For he is like a blazing fire refining precious metal, and he can bleach the dirtiest garments! Like a refiner of silver he will sit and closely watch as the dross is burned away. He will purify the Levites, the ministers of God, refining them like gold or silver, so that they will do their work for God with pure hearts.’ ”
Friend, what things do you need to cast into the fire and burn off of your life?
Is it the bitterness that you feel towards your parents for not being there for you?
Is it the unforgiveness you have in your heart against that coworker that always insults you?
Is it the constant gossip you speak to your toxic friend because it makes you feel better about your life?
Is it the anger or impatience you project onto your spouse or children because you’re stressed out?
Is it the addiction that leaves you feeling empty, hopeless, and worthless?
What is that thing, friend, that is keeping you bound up in depression and resentment?
Identify it. Ask Christ to forgive you. Forgive those who hurt you. Forgive yourself, and leave that ‘thing(s)’ at the foot of the cross and never pick it back up again.
I can’t even begin to describe how liberating it will be for you!
Toss that debris in the burn barrel and watch how God will take those ashes and turn them into something beautiful.
Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.”