Hoarding: Buried Alive


Parked next to a hoarder.

Have you ever watched the show Hoarding: Buried Alive on TLC? It’s a crazy show that follows people who struggle with hoarding stuff in their houses. This isn’t your typical, everyday pack-rat though. They are so obsessed with their stuff that they have literally buried themselves alive with piles and piles of clothes, pots, furniture, and other junk. Some even have dead rats and expired food buried underneath all the stuff.         

The source of the hoarding for the majority of these people  is to fill a void in their life (And boy do they fill it…). From the loss of a spouse, to kids moving out, to feeling isolated by society, hoarder add layer and layers of worldly items to comfort them, even excluding their close friends and families in order to be with their stuff. When confronted with their hoarding, many hoarders are open to the idea of digging out, but when it comes time to actually sort through the stuff and start donating items or throwing them away, resistance and anxiety build. The things they have collected consume their lives and separating them from it isn’t easy.

While it’s easy to laugh at how ridiculous these hoarders are, they are a good analogy for the human condition. We all have a void in our hearts that we have to fill. A deeply-ingrained need for something or someone beyond ourselves; something or someone that serves as the source of our joy, of our happiness, of our purpose for living.

How we fill that void defines who we are. Just like the hoarders, some people fill their lives with junk that satisfies for a little bit, but in the long run buries them in misery. These things can even be good things: money, clothes, food, electronics, etc. However, they weren’t made to fill the void in our hearts.

Only one person can make us whole and complete: God, and God alone. Anything else will fall eternally short in the long run, miring us in piles and piles of spiritual junk that will never satisfy. As Jared Wilson says in his book Gospel Wakefulness: “I transferred my affections toward a not-God as if the not-God were God, and by doing so I engaged in idolatry which did not satisfy me, did not properly honor the not-God, and did not glorify God.”

When confronted with the things that clutter our spiritual life, we are just like the hoarders: we like the idea at first, but when it comes to purging our lives of the junk we have hoarded in our hearts for years. As Thomas Watson put it, ‎”Christ is never sweet till sin is felt to be bitter.”

What are you hoarding in your heart in an attempt to fill your spiritual void? To find out, honestly ask yourself some of these questions: What thrills you? What draws out your energies and receives your affections? What do you habitually think about to get joy and comfort in the privacy of your heart?

Wilson says, “These can be scary questions to answer. But the truth is, we are already entertained by something in the God position. Gospel wakefulness creates radical displacement of self and radical transference of affections on sovereign King Jesus.”

Cleaning out a hoarded heart through repentance isn’t easy, but it’s necessary to live the gospel-centered life that God calls Christians to live. Until the void in our heart is filled by the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, we will not experience true joy or contentedness.

Learn It. Love It. Live It.

[image credit: Aric McKeown on Flickr]

About Lawson Hembree
Lawson is an entrepreneur, ministry leader, and outdoors enthusiast who also enjoys blogging about business, ideas, and theology. Want to continue the discussion or write a guest post? Let's Connect!

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