Cleaned out the refrigerator the other day. One nice thing about having plenty of home-time. I get chores done that normally I don’t do. Well, let’s face it – cleaning out the fridge is not the most fun activity in the world.

But, alas . . . something had gone bad. Really bad. Really fast. It took a day or two to find the offending monster. A couple of pieces of sliced turkey had slipped in the back and proceeded to exude pungent aroma that about knocked me over when I opened the door.

Once I got it out, and out of the house, it was much better. Yet, there was a lingering odor. Not as bad as the original offender, but truly smack in the face when the door opened. I cleaned where the offensive stuff had been and put some baking soda on the middle shelf, but *sigh* that did not get rid of the smell.

I had to take everything out. Clean every surface. Wipe everything off. Then put everything back.

Yay! That worked! No smell!

It took a bit of time and wasn’t really the most fun I’ve ever had, but both Phil and I really appreciated the effort and the result. Neither one of us gagged when we opened the Fridge after that. What a blessing. A blessing we didn’t realize we experienced until it wasn’t there. We felt profoundly grateful for no smell after days of getting hit with a bad smell. I even found a jar of unopened peach jam!

Isn’t that how it is with an old habit we no longer appreciate? We get rid of the offensive item, but there is a lingering stench of what was. My old habit of inactivity still stinks up my life if I let it. My old habit of worry or fear reeks through into my moments of joy and creativity.

Time to take everything in my life out of the box and look at it. Where am I now? What blesses me now? What steals that blessing and robs me of the opportunity for joy?

When I had a “dark night of the soul” some years ago, I imagined a hand-woven bushel basket full of my life. This basket was full of what I knew or thought I knew. What I believed or thought I believed. What I chose to do or thought I had chosen to do. I tossed everything out. Pretended I didn’t know anything, believe anything or acted on anything.

As each day unfolded and life presented a thought to me or an action, I asked myself, do I really believe this anymore? Do I really want to do that? I tossed a lot of old beliefs and patterns out. There were a few new ideas and new patterns I discovered that I wanted to add to my basket.

Just like cleaning the fridge, it took some time. Just like cleaning the fridge, it was wonderful to have that stinky stuff gone from my life! And I discovered some new stuff that I took delight in!

What’s holding you back from joy? Fear? Where did it come from? Is it yours? Do you really want to keep that stinky stuff? What’s hidden behind that fear? Can you root around in there and see what you might find?

You have time now. It’s not gonna smell any better later!