My husband was amazed when he went into the closet to fix it. What he found was a makeshift system of empty shoe boxes that I had rigged to support the shelves. You see, the first shelf had broken many months before, possibly even years ago. But I had kept going, finding a temporary solution that became permanent until it just didn’t work anymore.
And then another shelf broke and rather than bother my husband (or maybe hear him fuss about the state of my closet), I propped another box under the broken shelf to keep it steady. It seemed to be working just fine.
By the time it all fell apart I probably had three shoe boxes, very sturdy ones, holding up the shelves.
But one day, it all just fell apart.
I thought about how much our lives are like my closet. We use temporary fixes to prop ourselves up rather than deal with and correct the real problem. What is intended to just hold things up for a minute, become permanent fixtures in our lives. After a while, we have so many props that we just get used to them and even forget that we have put them there. Or maybe we don’t want to do the work that’s required to sort out the old stuff we have carried around since high school. Things we don’t wear anymore but for sentimental reasons, just can’t seem to let go. Maybe we don’t want others to see the state of our lives, how messy it has gotten and how many boxes are holding us up, that instead of asking for the help we need, we just go on. It’s working for us—or so we think, until it all falls apart.
What are the boxes propping you up? Is it the anger or bitterness you hold on to? Is it a memory or hurt from the past that binds you? Perhaps it is fear of failure or of the unknown that paralyzes you and keeps you from stretching out and trying something new? Maybe it is denial or just choosing not to deal with the mess you have accumulated in your life. Is your box a diversion like drugs, alcohol, sex or shopping that keeps you from dealing with the real issues?
Sometimes the box was a good temporary fix at one time, but now you have the resources to make a change, but complacency and comfort have kept you in those patterns of behavior. Boxes keep you from tackling the task of cleaning out the stuff that really needs to go. What are the boxes that make you complacent?
I’m glad my closet fell apart. It looks much better now. My husband has replaced the hardware and fixed the shelves with the warning that they weren’t made to withstand all that stuff.
It reminds me of another admonition from Hebrews 12: 1 ,2: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Let the Master mend you, clean out your closet and get rid of any boxes that have been propping up your broken places.