I’ve watched the show Hoarders just a handful of times. I found myself completely shocked and asking, “How does that even happen?” The truth is that no one just wakes up and decides to create that kind of mess. It happens over a period of time, often months and years; it starts little by little. A small mess is made and is not cleaned up…then another, and another. Over time, the mess gets bigger and bigger until you feel overwhelmed, like nothing can be done. Hope is lost. Eventually, the mess continues until it becomes so unbearable that it destroys your life.
This isn’t just true of the people whose story is told on the show. It is a common story for many, including myself. I’m not talking about the literal mess. I’m talking about the figurative messes we sometimes create. Whether in relationship (no one just goes from happily married to cheating on their spouse) or finances (that mountain of credit card debt didn’t happen over night), it just takes one small mess after another being left unresolved to create such a similar state of disarray in your marriage as the homes we see on the show. And just like the owner who can no longer walk through rooms piled with junk, at some point, you too will have to deal with the situation. The truth always finds a way of coming out.
So what can be done? If I want to grossly generalize what happens on the show, I would narrow it down to three basic things.
First, to your Heavenly Father and then to those affected by the mess. Admitting the truth will not be easy. In my own life, I need reminders of God’s grace and His strength within me. We are reminded in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that His grace is sufficient for us. No matter what we’ve done, His grace is enough to cover all of it. We are also promised strength when we are weary and power in our weakness (Isaiah 40:29). These are exactly what we need to move forward.
2. Deal with the Consequences
It would be nice if, once we did the hard part of confessing, all the mess would disappear. That would require a fairy godmother with a magic wand. The last time I checked, I wasn’t Cinderella (and you probably aren’t either). So what now? Figure out the damage done and do the hard work of repairing that damage. Don’t lose hope though. It took a long time to get to this point. It is more than likely going to take time to get things back to where they belong. In cases of broken trust and damaged relationships, it could take even longer and include some moments of backslide. In those moments when you begin to lose hope, Isaiah 40:31 promises us that those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
3. Seek Counseling
You may have created the mess on your own, but it will take an abundance of wise counsel to handle the aftermath. You will be victorious when you surround yourself with trusted friends who will help hold you accountable and a counselor (preferably Christian) who will help you work through the deeply rooted causes behind your actions (Proverbs 11:14). Without identifying and addressing these issues, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Have faith that each step you take will bring you closer to dismantling the chaos and establishing peace once again in your relationship. Rejoice in the hope set before you, be patient during the times of trouble and be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12). Above all else, remember that you are Loved.
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