One of the most difficult things about getting my house ready to sell is decluttering. I am one sappy sentimental sister. Like I feel emotional pain when I find a birthday card that someone has given me. My inner-sap wants to save it forever because that person could be hit by a bus tomorrow and I’ll never see them again. I’m not kidding. My struggle to hold on to all that stuff means packing it into boxes and probably paying to have them stored, even though they may never see the light of day again. I romanticize the thought of my sons treasuring my treasure when I’m old and gray and remembering me with fondness. It’s important that there are tears in their eyes as well. Anyway, it wouldn’t be such a big deal if it were just old cards, but it’s not. I have cabinets full of dishes we never use, boxes full of books we’ve already read, drawers full of clothes we rarely wear, and it’s time to move them. Again.
I hold on tight because I have a hard time trusting that I’ll ever have anything nice again.
If you live in the United States, you’re probably aware that we are a nation crazy about having more stuff than we could ever possibly need. We stuff our homes and fill our two car garages until we can’t park our cars in them with all of our glorious stuff. Then when Christmas and birthdays come around we ask our kids what they’d like to receive as gifts and they’re completely stumped. Like we have to give them ideas for more stuff. Does anyone else have to do this besides me? It’s CRAZY. Hello, you’re reading a crazy person’s blog!
We might even be able to justify all of our awesome stuff because we need it or might need it in the event that war-torn refugees come to stay. We’re always thinking ahead. Obsessing. Planning. Worrying that we won’t have enough. But somewhere deep down we believe that if it all falls apart tomorrow, we’re screwed.
Remember the bible story about Moses leading the children of Israel through the desert? God had rescued them from slavery in Egypt. He had performed miracle after miracle on their behalf. The Red Sea wasn’t just a story to them, they walked through it on dry land and then watched it drown every single soldier that tried to take them back. And yet it didn’t take long before they started to freak out about not knowing what they were going to eat every day. They had been so used to being in captivity that they were used to settling for what they got from the slave masters. This new found freedom stripped their security away and exposed them for what they were. Afraid.
In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough food for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions…”-Exodus 16:2-4
Every day the Lord rained down manna for breakfast and flew in quail for dinner. Those that tried to gather up more than they needed were met with a nasty maggot mess the next morning. He would not allow them to hoard his goodness. They had to trust him for it every day except for the sixth day when he would allow them to gather enough for the Sabbath.
It seems kind of mean to test people when they’re under a lot of stress. Kind of like having a fire drill when there’s a tornado coming. Testing shows us what skills we’ve mastered and which skills need more practice. Ugh.
I don’t think God hates my stuff. I don’t think he thinks my stuff is a great big sin and needs to be burned on the altar. I think he knows I’d be less stressed if I wasn’t constantly worried about what may or may not happen to my stuff and where I’m going to put it. My trust matters more to God than my stuff.
He says, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”-Matthew 6:25-27
Every day his mercies are new. Every day is a chance to trust him again. Every day is another day to learn to master my stuff instead of allowing it to be my master.
I’ve been using this FlyLady decluttering challenge to get my house ready.
I’d love to hear some feedback today. Any tips to save our sanity would be treasured, but not stored. 😉