Roadblock to Freedom – Stuff

Hey y’all!   How is everybody?  I’m doing pretty well.  I just need somebody to come hold my hand and talk to me while I move stuff from one box (unpacking) to another (donations).  Lucky you!  Grab a cuppa something and let’s get to work!  You can sit and relax while I work this weekend. 

I cringed after the second moving truck arrived in June.  Boxes are still everywhere, the attic has a ton of stuff, all three bedrooms are full, the kitchen is too small; the laundry room can’t contain all the stuff, and the garage has one side about half full.   Really?  Only ONE person and one 30-pound dog live here!

There’s no crime in owning stuff, but it robs me of peace I could be enjoying.  In my middle-class life, inventors have introduced hundreds of ‘necessary’ gadgets.  Coupled with that is the ‘save that – you might need it someday!’ attitude of my parents who lived through the Great Depression in the 1920s, the Dust Bowl of the ’30s, and WWII in the ’40s.

I’ve been doing some serious meditation on the subject of simplicity.  The Scriptures allude to selfishness being linked with chaos and disorder; the opposites of peace.  (2 Corinthians 12; James 3)  Finally, it came down to a question.   Do you keep this for you, or because somebody else thinks you need to keep it?

For hundreds of years, one was considered wealthy if they had a photograph of family, a few pieces of silver or china, a piece of furniture passed down, or a quilt hand stitched by grandma or mom.  I found a rich heritage in my furniture here – all but four pieces either belonged to a family member, or were given to me by them.  I have a few quilts, and thousands of photos!

The question of the hour is:  how many of each thing do I really need? My heart longs to simplify my belongings so I can spend that upkeep time in prayer or ministry.

How many towels, blankets, sheets?  Flatware sets?  Insulated drink cups with hard plastic straws?  Oversized coffee/tea/cocoa mugs?  How many old cleaning toothbrushes am I really using?  ‘Reusable’ take out containers?  Do I really need two of every kitchen gadget?  Six crock pots?  VHS tapes?  (Some of these have sat in a box in my basement in Kansas for 11 years, then moved to Ohio with me.  You know, I might watch those someday!)  How many of the boxes and boxes of photos do I keep?  Mason jars?  Do I really need multiple large Christmas glass platters?  I haven’t used those since about 1990.   How many trash cans can I really use?  More than one in each room?  Really?  Moving boxes by the dozen?

How about all the clothes that don’t fit…  and do I need a different top for every day each month?  I do own a washing machine!  I’m jealous of nuns in habits.  So much simpler!

My mom was an article clipper.  Apparently I picked up the trait.  Do I need to keep papers outside of the necessary tax paperwork or owner’s manuals?

Craft and sewing items are a problem for me.  Do I need to keep crafting tools and directions I’ve used one time?  Or every tiny scrap of fabric?  Or every stray button that came with that outfit I donated to Goodwill years ago?  Or rick-rack from the 1960’s, just because it was Mom’s?  (Maybe I can make a wreath for the sewing room from it…   Yikes!)  How about every tote bag and organizational packing container I’ve ever owned?  I have a workout bag from 1979.

During the month of August, I hope to do some spiritual decluttering, as well.   I’ll be searching for things that rob me of peace, such as unforgiveness, resentments, or anger with someone or a situation.   Places where I’m fearful and not fully trusting the Lord, or places where I haven’t believed He really loves me.  I want to allow Him to point out sinful habits, even small ones, that I can take to Him for forgiveness and healing.  Goals that aren’t His goals for me, and accomplishments that I’m driven to by self- rather than drawn to by the Holy Spirit- are also on the list.  All of these things are ultimately rooted in pride, the source of spiritual clutter!

What about you?  Do you need to declutter either materially or spiritually?  Do you need help with that?  Find a friend who doesn’t mind throwing stuff out of the house with you, or who can give you permission to get rid of ‘stuff’.

If you’re cluttered in your heart and stuck with unforgiveness or anger, find a pastor or a priest.  They can help you get those things out of your life so you can live in real peace.

 

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