Dealing with STUFF takes such a lot of time and energy. Physical energy, mental energy, emotional energy. Life energy! And other things get put on hold, luxuries like writing and thinking about unseen things. What would it be like for this whole house to burn down with its contents leaving me unhindered by stuff and free to start from scratch? There would be no more decisions to make about stuff--whether it’s going or staying, and how and why and where?
A friend is farther along this way of thinking than I. She’s eager to embrace simplicity and relishes the ideal of getting rid of everything but her Bible! Might not be practical when it comes time for lunch and everybody’s homeless and hungry…These physical bodies do demand a lot of upkeep.
And we are not all called to take a vow of poverty and do without the world and its things. We are only called not to LOVE them. To use things without loving them, this is the challenge. So I’m sorting and culling and being drawn down lanes of reminiscence more often than is helpful for an overly sentimental soul. …Must I really keep the pebbles from Yellowstone? And what of that tiny blanket sleeper a baby of mine now in heaven once wore? A great Pterodactyl wing juts from an old box. His boy grew up. Children’s books wait to be read. Old school books we studied together still seem dear. And what of custom-furnished dollhouses and much-loved stuffies?
Jim urges me to be severe with myself and jettison the excess baggage, the yards of fabric that never turned into clothing. The scrapbook paper that will never hold our memories. The might-use-this-someday things that keep unrealistic ideals alive to haunt me. These need to go to allow for fresh starts. What will I need in order to do what God’s calling me to do in say, the next 10 years? Keep that, he says. For this is the way to holiness, to being all that God intends for me to be--nothing more, nothing less.
What are the questions to be asked in this sifting process, in this holy calling? What do I need for the journey and what is hindering progress?
What are my most precious possessions and why?
If I stood today without this home or its things, what would I want in hand for a new start in a new place?
I jot down these questions in between the heart-vexing work of sorting and boxing. I don’t know all the answers yet. But I am seeing how much I love my stuff. Being surrounded by it brings me comfort and security. Should it? I want to be grateful without hoarding…. to use things without clinging to them…and to never never let my confidence rest in things I see, rather than things eternal.
I need this process of simplifying. It tests and re-directs my faith. And so I keep turning my mind to focus on my most precious of all possessions, the eternal Word given to anchor my heart in things unseen. And I am copying out verses that steer and cheer me in this uprooting process and root my heart more deeply in its true home. These are among my most precious possessions today… May I share them with you?
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. Ps.90:1,2 NASB
Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress. Ps.71:3
When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! I cry to you, O LORD; I say, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in You I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Teach me to do you will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! Ps.143:8-10
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with y eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD. Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you who upright in heart! Ps.32:8-11
[and a quick confession..my children chuckle at the sentiment of this cross-stitched ideal I finished some years back. It is so far from what my life really looks like. I guess they know I love my clutter…]
Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… Heb.12:1,2