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No Pain; No Gain! Cleaning Out the Emotional Closet

Introducing, my wife, Enne, as a guest blogger. We have been married almost 33 years. She is Mom to our three grown children, Queenie to our two grandsons, a Mentor Mom to a MOPS group and a high school teacher at Colorado Springs Christian School

Have you ever cleaned out a closet? What happens to the room? It gets messy – really messy! It takes time and effort to sift through everything to decide what you want to keep, what you want to throw away, and what you want to share with others. This is a painful process, but worth the work in the long run.

Being transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2) also takes determination. It seems that most people would rather have Recipe Theology – just tell them the steps to take to achieve their desired result. When we sort through our own hearts and minds (our closets), we need to keep biblical truths, throw away lies of the enemy, and share God’s love with others.

No pain; no gain has been my motto for many years, and it holds true in every area of my life. Since I am a guest blogger on a men’s site, I thought I would try to be clever and use a sports acronym – it’s only one letter off!

E – to grow emotionally, people must struggle in relationships;

S – to grow spiritually, people must wrestle with God;

P – to grow physically, people must endure muscle aches;

M (N) – to grow mentally, people must stretch their brains.

Discipline is not a common trait for many people except maybe Physically and Mentally. Athletes perform basic skills over and over until it becomes second nature, and this is applauded in our society. Even some high school students are willing to put in the work so they can play. Professionally, some pursue mental challenges to further their careers or to score well on college entrance exams.

Emotionally and Spiritually, few are willing to persevere.

Society encourages people to move on from relationships that don’t feel good because they “deserve to be happy,” rather than deepening the ties through love and forgiveness. Churches have battled how to attract members for years because people want to have their ears tickled. When we stuff our feelings in the closet and refuse to deal with all the junk, eventually it will explode.

After Bob’s infidelity, he asked God for forgiveness, and then he asked me. When I granted it, he said we never had to talk about it again! Over the next eighteen months, I shoved so many emotions in my closet that it could not hold any more. The choice was to clean it out or to internalize it to the point of illness, which is what happened. After a benign (thank God!) biopsy, I exploded. That was a turning point toward healing.

However, thorough healing could not occur without spiritual growth. One day, God told me to ask Him to show me my own sin. I knew it was going to be like opening Pandora’s Box! I knew it would be ugly, but I also knew it was necessary. This was another step toward restoration.

As Bob often says, people feed their physical bodies daily, so why don’t they feed their spiritual souls daily?

E – share your emotions with God – He can handle it and He knows them anyway;

S – develop spiritual disciplines like reading Scripture and praying every day;

P – take care of yourself by eating well and exercising;

M (N) – All of the above will make you mentally healthy.

Which questions do you have for or about God or loved ones that you’ve never been willing to ask? Be brave and clean out that closet! The gain will be worth the pain!