When I was a little girl, I had an old wooden chest where I stored my favorite toys and treasures. I loved collecting things, but I also loved holding on to them, sometimes for way too long.

As the chest got full, many items got crushed. Soon the chest would overflow, and my room would become cluttered. Then my mother would make me go through the chest and get rid of stuff. I resisted at first until I realized that made room for new and exciting items.

This cycle became a familiar pattern throughout my childhood. To this day, I still hold on to things too long. And not only things but emotions too, and it is an unhealthy habit. I often hoard and suppress my feelings. When I do, my heart becomes crowded, and, like that old chest, I feel crushed on the inside, especially when what I am holding onto is unpleasant. The clutter within can be mentally and emotionally overwhelming.

The more upset I am about a subject, the harder it is to open up and share my feelings or any details of that struggle. When friends ask how I’m doing, I muster the most cheerful and confident voice I can find and defer to the age-old nonresponse, “I’m fine!” That answer is usually the furthest thing from the truth, but I feel compelled to hold tightly to whatever is troubling me.

I’m sure you can relate. Most of us don’t like to share the details of our lives with others, not even our closest friends. Instead, we keep the issue bottled up inside. There are many reasons we do this, each unique to the situation and the persons involved. We fear being misunderstood, rejected, judged, or worse. And so we isolate ourselves and our issues from others.

I am so thankful that even though we sometimes feel alone in our struggles, we are not. There is always Someone we can turn to for comfort—and that’s our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Bible promises that He is the only One we need in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1; Psalm 91). First Peter 5:7 says we can “give all [our] worries and cares to God, for he cares about [us]” (NLT).

No matter how hard we try to hide our issues from those around us, there is no hiding from the One who loves us the most. God knew us first, and He knows us best. God says in Jeremiah 1:5, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb” (NLT). God knows our innermost thoughts and hurts, and He wants to comfort us.

Second Corinthians 1:3–4 states, “God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (NLT).

Tears often stream from my eyes when I face difficulties, but I am grateful for the reassurance in Romans 8:26 that He knows our hearts even when we don’t have the words to speak. Psalm 56:8 tells us that God keeps track of our sorrows. He collects our tears in a bottle and records each one in His book. He knows, and He loves us despite the trials. Even when we’ve brought them on ourselves.

No matter what you’re facing, you can find comfort in knowing that the One who knows you best is the One who will support you in your most vulnerable moments. Invite Jesus in. Open your overflowing storage chest and release your pain and worries, fears and tears to the One you can fully trust.

He’ll take your burdens and give you the peace you need to declutter your heart and mind. And you’ll be freed up to receive His beautiful blessings.

CARLA OWENS loves the Lord and seeks daily to know Him more intimately. She is the director of Victorious Living’s Prison Correspondence Team.