lessons from a trash can

lessons from a trash can

Today, I learned a lesson from a trash can.

It’s trash day today, and as I was walking my awful smelling trash cans out to the road, I had some thoughts.
When I first got my trash can, it didn’t stink. It was brand new. But over time, as we kept throwing trash in it, bags may have ripped, or empty food boxes or drinks get thrown into the trash can, and now there is trash stuck to the bottom and it’s all gross and nasty. 
At one point we had so much trash that we needed a second trash can. Don’t judge me and my second trash can, you’ll miss the point. So we got a second trash can.  This one was lightly used not new. It didn’t have an awful stench, but it was new. However, it ended up breaking and we needed a new one. Two months later and we finally received a “new” trash can. Guess what?  This one was heavily used, not new at all. It was already stinky to high heaven. Now I’m dealing with someone else’s stink. Sounds a little like life, huh?

I thought about how this is so true of our minds. As believers in Christ we are given new thoughts, new actions, new intentions. Yet over time we keep putting the same ole trash in, expecting to stay new, clean, fresh. We know the saying trash in, trash out– but do we really believe it? We justify and say “It’s just a movie” or “They’re just words, it doesn’t really affect me that much!” But the truth is– it DOES affect you greatly. Over time we start treating our minds as a dumping ground. We read the Word of God, but it falls on deaf ears because we have becomes calloused by the world.

Isn’t this also how we are with our bodies? We want something new. We get tired of the old ways of dieting. We go on that sugar detox to get a fresh start. We start exercising and losing weight. Yet, we find ourselves back where we started– bingeing, dependent on food, self soothing by emotional eating. We clean ourselves up, just to trash ourselves again, and we are left wanting. Wanting something more: health, wellness, and real life change.

lessons from a trash can
We need a good scrubbing. I’ve never cleaned my trash cans. I’m not sure I can handle that kind of stench, to be honest. However, what if I did? What if I carefully tended to my trash cans to get the stink out and then maintain the cleanliness of them? It is quite possible they wouldn’t make me want to vomit on trash days.
So it is with us. We need a good cleaning. A fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. Renewed minds. We need to repent and turn away from the things that steal our purity of thought and heart. We need to do this daily. Confession and repentance should be the mark of a Christian’s life.

So, I ask you– what’s the trash in your life? Is it the way you abuse your body with food– either through neglect (binge eating) or obsession (strict dieting)? Is it your mind? Are you filling it with what the world has to offer– sex, vulgar language, or maybe even something as “innocent” as comparison? I challenge you to take time today to see what trash you have let into your  life. Where do you need a good cleaning? Invite Jesus into that space. He isn’t afraid of your mess, I promise. He can handle it and clean it up. You just need a willing spirit, a broken and contrite heart.

I hope you will be real with your Jesus. He already knows anyway. Let’s strive to live in purity of heart and mind. Let our actions speak to those around us– not out of self-righteousness, but out of HIS righteousness imparted to us. Be bold and brave and humble to admit when you are wrong or have fallen short. We are not perfect. The world needs us to be real and genuine. I believe it’s craving it, actually. Be encouraged today, friend. No mess is too big or too stinky for Jesus to come in and clean up.

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