Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Vicious Circle of Clutter

Have you ever looked around your home and thought that you have too much
stuff or clutter? I think about it quite often. The more that I travel
the path to a more simple life, I am seeing things more clearly for what
they are. Let's face it. The attitude of "he with the most toys wins"
is alive and strong. It plays on the selfish side of our human
nature. We see something that others are buying and suddenly this
thing becomes important. Why? We have survived life all these years
without having that item. Why it is suddenly a critical thing for us to
purchase? Thus the trap. We get caught up in greed.

In the Bible, there are numerous passages that address this attitude.
In the 10 Commandments we are told not to covet what our neighbors
have. Christ spoke of our needing to not seek the treasures of the
world. Yet, if we allow our human nature to have control, the things of
the world seem much more desirable to seek after.

Of course, we all have our ways of justifying our stuff. We convince
ourselves that we worked hard and deserve the stuff. Or we allow others
to convince us that we MUST buy the things in order to be happy or even
socially acceptable. We have all seen or experienced the social
"cliques" who determine your worthiness by what kind of car you drive,
the value of your home, etc. At what point did we allow others to
decide whether or not we are acceptable? Who are they that their
opinion is worth so much? There is a vicious circle in this seeking the
approval of society. You can buy the newest stuff but as soon as
someone gets something newer than yours, you have to upgrade what you have.

When did we give others the power to decide how far into debt we must
go? Keeping up appearances to remain "worthy" in our neighbors' eyes is
not cheap. How much of your income are you willing to throw away? How
much stress are you willing to put yourself and family through in trying
to make credit or loan payments just to please others? When you think
of all the money you spend trying to keep up, what could you have done
to improve your family's financial security if that money had been saved?

I am not totally against people buying nice things. I admit to being a
bit of a snob myself towards certain brands. The point is, what is the
reason behind it? Are you a slave to designer brands or are you simply
paying a little more for a better quality of product to avoid the waste
of having to constantly replace a cheaper one? It comes down to the
mindset and your overall goals. Are you being a good steward of the
resources the Lord has blessed you with? Are you using them to bless
your family and others in a way that shows God's love? Or are you
squandering the resources to please man?

Clutter. In the home it can be a testament or a judgment of your
stewardship of what the Lord has given you. I am realizing that I need
to show a better stewardship. Purge the home of what doesn't bless the
family and hopefully allow it to bless others through donating it to
charity. Then be a better steward in the care of the home and what
remains within it, not allowing the clutter to happen again. I don't
like knowing that in keeping the truly unnecessary things, I am in a
form of slavery in having to maintain those things. In that slavery,
I'm having to spend more time in maintaining the stuff instead of being
able to spend the time doing things with and for my family. I pray that
the Lord will guide me in this process. That He will teach me the
difference between what is His idea of necessity and what is simply
man's idea of necessity or wants.