I had a baby five weeks ago, so this past weekend I finally decided it was time to clear the maternity clothes out of my closet. And although I can’t quite fit into my regular size, I wanted to at least get the closet ready for the time when things fit again.

But as I packed all the maternity clothes away and started to unpack my normal clothes once more, I began to see my clothes in a new light, noticing things I had overlooked before: items that had small holes or were worn out, jeans with frayed bottoms, shirts from five years ago with the tags still on that just “never quite fit.” And as I noticed all of these flaws, I wondered, Why have I held on to these things for so long?

In my moment of feeling motivated and empowered, I decided to get rid of everything in my closet that was mediocre, worn out, or never really fit well.

And as I worked to remove the things that were always just okay — but never great — I thought, why did I settle for these things?

In that moment, I realized that my closet mirrored the rest of my life. I’ve been known to settle for many things because I didn’t think I deserved something better. I didn’t think I was “smart enough,” “confident enough,” or “pretty enough.” Scrolling through my memories, I recalled a number of times that I settled for something less than I could have.

  • The boyfriend after college who was a “great Christian guy,” but would make offhand comments about how large my hips and thighs were, leading me to question my weight…I settled.
  • Not speaking up for the position that I really wanted and just taking what was offered…I settled.
  • Being my own worst enemy by not trying new things because I was too afraid and simply wanted to play it safe…I settled.

And my closet was just another indication of a way that I have settled: “Maybe when I lose these last five pounds these pants will fit just right”…so I settled.

I’ve settled every time I hang on to a clothing item that reminds me again and again that I don’t quite measure up. I’ve settled with things that never quite fit (and probably never will).

But as I continued to pack things up, I was also reminded of the ways I’ve grown. I know that God has moved me along this process: I am not where I was, and I am moving closer to where I want to be.

And as I took each item and began placing them in bags for Goodwill, I began to feel a little lighter, a little freer. Cleared out, my closet looked so much more organized, filled with things that fit right and looked good.

And as I continued the process of revitalizing my closet, I realized that it is how I want my life to look as well. I want to speak up for what I want. Go for goals that are wildly scary. And walk each day with confidence that God will give me what I need.

What have you been keeping in your closet (literally or in real life) that maybe it’s time to let go of?