When I think of a closet I think of hiding. Hiding our true feelings–pain, sorrow, weaknesses, fears, insecurities, questions and our emotional responses to the problems we often face. Satan would love to keep people in a place of hiding for in hiding there is captivity but when we come out of that place of hiding safely, in Christ, there is freedom!
Many years ago when we resided in a different state, our home was used regularly throughout of the month for Ministry for seven years. There would often be a diverse group of beautiful women of God in our home to receive the Word and prayer. The rest of the month our home was open to any person who needed prayer, biblical counsel or marital support. I normally prefer a clean home and with people visiting regularly it was mandatory. However, there were those times when the door bell would ring unexpectedly. You know, those moments when your hair isn’t combed, the bathrooms haven’t been cleaned yet, the kitchen sink is full and clothes, coffee mugs, shoes, Bibles and tons of books are all over the living room and you are not dressed your best. Suddenly the bell rings and in that moment I would call out to my family, “Throw everything in the closet! Hurry up the bell rang!”
It is those moments that I would move as if I were running a marathon. I’d throw a beautiful dish towel over the pile of dishes in the sink with the hope that the person would pay more attention to the beautiful towel than to the bulging of dishes peeking out from under the towel edges. I quickly had a family member run and clean up the bathrooms while I would throw EVERYTHING into the CLOSET to hide the mess. I’d throw my hair in a bun and answer the door with the biggest smile on my face and say, “Praise the Lord! It’s so good to see you!”
At the end of the visit, I’d open our closet door and shake my head because often things would tumble out. I would think to myself, at least it remained hidden while our company was here. Sadly, this is often the way we live as Christians. People often hide everything in the closet of their heart and mind in order to portray some false Christian image. We throw all of the negative thoughts, damaged emotions, bad habits, insecurities, fears, past pain and inappropriate behaviors into the closet where the world cannot see. We put on the smiles, and offer the Christian greetings with the appropriate Christian clichés when all the while we are hurting inside.
Side note: I learned long ago that while throwing my things in the closet when company came was not necessarily a problem, but doing that spiritually was dangerous and damaging! I’m grateful the Holy Spirit showed me that many years ago. If you came to my house now, I wouldn’t throw a thing in the closets either. Take me as I am or don’t take me at all. That was a refreshing lesson to learn and I pass that on to you. If people won’t love you when your house is not exactly the way you want it to be when the door bell rings, or if they won’t love you when you’re hair is crazy or you’re having a bad day, then they’re not really for you in the first place. Love is investment. Love is pure. Love accepts. Love looks beyond the dirt and grime. Love picks up a dish cloth and says, hey let me help you friend as we visit. That’s love.
We are often afraid to allow anyone to see the real us because there is a fear of being thought of as weaker Christians; falsely judged or worse, rejected. To be you takes a willingness to be vulnerable and that’s not always easy for many people particularly for women. Truth be told, anyone who visited me back in the days when I used to throw everything in to the closet, and they happened to come on a day when I just didn’t worry about it and I allowed them to see the messy moments in the kitchen sink or items tossed about due to real living, they related to what they saw as opposed to turning away.
Same is true emotionally and spiritually. We have such great opportunity to support one another to get out of our closet mindsets. I used to live the closet mindset. Not just with literally throwing things in the closet that were tossed about if unexpected company arrived but I also lived that way emotionally and spiritually in my younger years in Christ. Early in my walk with GOD I would hide my feelings, pain, shame and fears, always believing that no one would ever understand. I was afraid of being judged, misunderstood and perhaps not even liked. I was a huge people-pleaser due to the pains of my past. The ironic twist is that while I was living behind the masks of smiles and hiding true pain, I had no idea that all around me were women feeling and living the exact same way. I had no idea all those many years ago, what God was about to call me to. Often what you’ve lived is so that you can be used by God to help others get free. Needlessly we live hidden in the closet when JESUS has come that we would have life and have it more abundantly.
John 10:10 (NIV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
We have a Lord and Savior who identifies with us in every way.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV) Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
The closet allows us to hide temporarily however at some point the door of our closet (heart and mind) will be opened and everything will spill out and be revealed. So why not do this in a safe place, with a safe person—someone who loves you unconditionally and whose correction and comfort will touch you deep within and make changes in your life that you would never imagine. That someone is JESUS.
My prayer for you is what I have often prayed for myself. Make this your own prayer:
Lord Jesus, all things lay bare before You including the very pains in my heart, my negative thoughts and my fears. Please clean out those areas and bring them to light. Heal me Lord and I will be healed. Thank You for being a safe Person–a safe place for me to rest in. I love You. Thank You for loving me in Your Name I pray. Amen and Amen!
I’m praying for you with love!
Note: This was originally written for A Martha Heart ministry when I wrote for them a few years ago. I have since tweaked it and I am sharing it here for all of you to be encouraged.