Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hanging on to "Stuff"

My adult daughter's family moved into their own home in town, about 10 miles away last month.  It is a change to not have them here, but it was time.  She is due to have another baby in August and they needed to be settled in their own place before then.  Now, I am going through the house and stripping the possessions down even further than ever.  Some of what we don't need has been given to them, the rest is going to be donated to a local church for their rummage sale or if not in usable condition will be trashed.  Having lived with the tight quarters of 2 families in a 2-bedroom home for about 7 months has renewed my drive to get rid of unnecessary things.  To those who have been reading my blog for a time, you know that this has been an on-going project for a couple of years or more.  There is a reason for that.

When I first started the purging of the home of unnecessary stuff, I got rid of a lot.  I was content with the results and felt good about it.  A few months later, I realized that the stuff that I found to be important enough to keep really wasn't worth having.  My priorities were starting to change.  I found that many things were being kept out of sentiment or habit, not because they had a true value to us.  I kept them because it was comfortable.  With this realization, I began to become dissatisfied with the results of my initial purge of the clutter.  I began sorting through again and got rid of even more.

Here we are a few years later and I am doing a massive purge again.  This time, I am focusing on keeping as little as possible.  Scary huh?  I keep thinking back to a home Joe and I toured at a museum in Ohio.  It was a period home and like all museum reproductions of homes, it was very sparsely furnished.  How often I have been told that today, that sparse of a home would be unrealistic!  Why?  Are we so caught up in keeping up with our neighbors that we can't see a blessing in the sparsely furnished home?  I know that few people will see it as a blessing, but that is okay.  To each their own.  For me and Joe, there is a blessing in it.

I look around me tonight at the house and I see way to much.  If you were to follow the idea of having a place for everything and everything in it's place, our house would definitely have too much!  I have dealt with the lack of storage space in this house for years.  Like many old homes, there are no built-in cabinets or storage of any kind.  We literally have to build or buy each and every bookcase, cabinet, etc. for this house.  With that in mind, I look at things and ask if it is really worth going to all the expense of buying shelving or a cabinet to store these things.  I find that 75% of the time I can without guilt or hesitation say "No" that is is not worth it. 

Joe sacrifices time with family to go out on that truck for 6 weeks at a time and make an income to support us.  Is it being loving to him for me to spend the income on buying storage items for things that are simply clutter?  Is it teaching the children good stewardship if I squander the income and resources on things that do not have a use in our home?  If I hang on to stuff or buy stuff just because I want it, am I showing my children an example of the "I want it there for I am entitled to it" attitude that is so prevalent today?  Joe does not spend 6 weeks away from the family to support whims and fancies that may come to our minds.  To expect that of him is foolish and hateful.  It is telling him that I do not value his sacrifices. 

In parallel, how often do we take the sacrifices and blessings from the Lord and squander them?  Do we hang on to stuff (aka old habits or attitudes) thinking that we need them, when all they are really doing is showing dishonor to the Father?  We all have sin to overcome in our lives.  Think about a bad habit you have.  It could be an activity you participate in, an attitude, or even a pattern of thought.  Is that bad habit really so important in your life that you value it more than you value your Father and the sacrifices of His Son?  When you look at them together, how does your habit measure up?

I pray that the Lord continues to guide me in seeing where I place my human nature above the worth of His Love and sacrifices.