When I got married three years ago, it was like the King of clean and simple lines married the Queen of clutter.
Yes, I admit that I am that sentimental person who hangs onto everything. Everything has meaning - from a piece of furniture, to a knick-knack, to my children's kindergarten drawings. My attic was...shall we say....a disaster?
Enter my loving and patient husband. He knew my "deer in the headlights" look and so he pared down a huge job into little chunks. It's taken three years, but you could hold a small ball in our attic. There is room to move, Praise!
He's also helped me around the living areas of our home. I truly have adopted the truth that less is often better. I suffer from an anxiety disorder and, not surprisingly, I found that as I cleared out the clutter and over abundance of stuff, my anxiety levels went down.
Was it hard to part with some things...you bet. After numerous garage sales, I found, however, that I was happy that some of my "beloved" things were going on to a new home and would be appreciated by someone else. It was time for them to move on. Other stuff simply needed to be pitched.
I've been reading this month in the Gospel of Luke. In chapter 9, Jesus speaks to this very issue. Listen carefully to what He says after He commissions the twelve to go out and proclaim the Kingdom of God...
"Take nothing for the road," He told them, "no walking stick, no traveling bag, no bread, no money; and don't take an extra shirt." (Luke 9: 1-3)
Jesus would definitely not approve of how I pack my bag for trips - with extra outfits "just in case".
Jesus is clear when He tells the disciples to live simply and travel light.
He really breaks it down to bare bones. Why so?
I believe that Jesus wants His disciples to learn to lean on Him for their sufficiency and not their "stuff". In the unknown up ahead, Jesus wants His disciples relying and depending on Him, not the comfort of their belongings. He wants them to trust that He will provide for their needs.
I've asked myself why I hold onto my stuff?
Does fear of the unknown make me hold onto what's comfortable around me like a security blanket? I can see it, touch it, grab hold of it, whereas God is a lot less "tangible" at times.
Even harder questions...
Do I want "fear" to be my anchor in the storm or do I want "Faith" to be my anchor?
Am I willing to trade the "known" for the "unknown"?
Do I really trust that God will be sufficient for ALL my needs?
Further on in Luke 9, Jesus talks about the twelve taking up their cross.
Then He said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23)
Think about it realistically. Can I realistically pick up my cross and follow Jesus if I'm dragging along all this baggage?
I have this vision of me fumbling to carry my cross (which is what really matters), because I am schlepping along suitcases filled with physical and emotional stuff and baggage.
Some time, some where, I have to leave some thing behind...
My mounds of stuff may temporarily sooth my feelings of insecurity, but eventually they will rot and rust and turn to dust.
Can I wrap my little pea brain around the fact that God is enough?
God is even MORE than enough.
I am finding that as I clear out the clutter in my home, in my mind, in my heart...as I leave the comfortable but useless baggage behind....
I have more room for Him.
How about you...do you find it hard to part with stuff? What are you clinging to that God would have you let go of? Is there something hindering you from leaving it all behind to take up your cross and follow Him?
Dear Heavenly Father, how I thank you for your patience with me. You coax me to leave the "known" behind, take your hand, and step into the "unknown". Help me to trust you and not to live in fear. Help me to leave the comfortable behind and trust in your "enoughness". Guide me to live with only what I truly need. Enable me to trade in my chaos for the sake of Christ. Show me the way - your way - and help me to walk in it. Help me to travel and live light so that there will always be more room for You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
ps. Speaking of living simply, the children at our school in the Middle East live SO simply. We take for granted that when it's cold we hike up the thermostat or when we're hungry we raid the fridge or the pantry. Not so for the children of Redeemer Christian School. This blue jug of propane barely takes off the chill in the classroom in the winter. This meal in school is the only meal they will get for the day.
In an attempt to live simply, might you give to those who barely have anything? Heat, food, shelter...we need your help today.