Friday, November 16, 2012

Simplifying Life: The "Good News" About My Stuff

I'm a purging failure. There, I said it. If admission is the first step to success, then hopefully I'm a tad closer to my goal. In all reality, I'm so very far from where I was hoping to be in this phase of my fast. You see, the challenge was to give away 7 possessions EVERY SINGLE DAY for 4 weeks. That is a total of 210 items purged from my house. As of today, I have only bitten off a fraction of that total. I am so far behind. That is why I have decided to extend this fast until the end of the month. I'm giving myself two more weeks to get this excess show on the road!

I have a plan for the next two weeks and will try to stay mission-minded. Here are the details:

Clean out my walk-in closet. (There could be a few trolls living in there sewing extra clothes at night for all I know. Every time I walk in, there seems to be more clothes than before!)

Massive Toy Purge of the Boy's Toys (With Christmas around the corner, half their stash needs to GO, and pronto!)

Tackle the Garage (Those of you with babies, get ready! I have some reconciling to do with myself about the fact that I won't be having another itty bitty one anytime soon and will be finally parting with loads of baby gear!)

Bookshelf (Can I just say, my heart hurts thinking about all the books that I know need to find new homes? I treasure them. . .)

I have to say that my perspective on things/possessions has vastly changed this last week. In traveling to a third-world country and seeing with my own eyes people who only have the clothes on their back and the bare essentials for living, I've realized that I "own" way too much. I could give so much more to those in need if only I would stop binging on unimportant things. I have gathered and collected my entire life, yet still seemed unfulfilled. Yet the poorest of poor in Nicaragua have bright, smiling faces and are so very thankful for every little thing that they have. The next time I step into my closet and think I have nothing to wear, I will remember the faces of so many who would kill to have more than one option a day.

Another thing that I've learned from my travels is the sheer joy in giving. I guess I've always thought to myself, "It's just one pair of shoes..." or "It's just a few dollars that I can offer to the homeless man..." or "What can donating my stuff and time really communicate to those in need?". I think as Christians, we focus so much on trying to "evangelize" the poor when the first bit of "good news" that they need is tangible help.  Jen Hatmaker writes in her book:

Sometimes the best way to bring good news to the poor is to bring actual good news to the poor.  It appears a good way to bring relief to the oppressed is to bring real relief to the oppressed.  It's almost like Jesus meant what He said.  When you're desperate, usually the best news you can receive is food, water, shelter.  These provisions communicate God's presence infinitely more than a tract or Christian performance in the park  They convey, "God loves you so dearly, He sent people to your rescue.

A haze somehow surrounds the Christian life sometimes. So much threatens to distract us from the main point. People get caught up with the details and complications and rules, but when Jesus was pressed about what was important, He said, "Love God and love people. That's pretty much it."  And we get to be a part of that love in the form of "stuff". We have so much. Let's learn to give it away.

I'm claiming a "do-over" and continuing this fast until I get it right. Pray that God brings the right people to mind as I seek to bless others with my abundance this week. Now, off the the closet I go!


  1. I'll help! I'm a fantastic purger. This can be what you get in exchange for watching Caedmon ;-)

    I'm kidding but really, I'm such a minimalist that one year I threw away our W2s for taxes!

  2. I have such a hard time with that as well. ugh!