Monday, May 10, 2010

Too much and Too Little

I'm on a rampage. No, you should not hide your young children in your home, but if you have a messy closet, you may want to postpone that dinner invitation you've been waiting to give me!
I'm on a mission to simplify my life and the life of my family by cleaning out any unused items in my house. When I say unused, I mean even the perfectly good stuff that we just do not touch on a regular basis. I do not have the drive nor the patience to have a yard sale (WAY too many little tags for me), so I'm giving it all away. And boy, is it freeing! I literally feel lighter when I pass this stuff on to someone else who can give it new purpose.
Recently I passed a few vehicles on roads in Lexington just driving along, but packed down with stuff. The entire back seats of these cars were crammed with stuff. I suddenly felt nauseous. We have too much stuff! I think I should repeat myself. We have too much stuff! We just keep shopping and piling and forget to replace what needs to be replaced rather than adding stuff.

Simplifying does not necessarily mean spending less money. My husband was fascinated by this reasoning as I explained that simplifying may initially cost us more money. He already tells me that even when I buy something on sale I have not saved any money. This is what he says, "Did money leave our checking account?" "Yes" I answer. "Then we did not save a dime", he says. Cracks me up every time! Let me explain why simplifying doesn't necessarily mean spending less money. Part of simplifying for me is making the things we do use more accessible for day-to-day living. That may mean we have to purchase some organizers or cubbies or hooks, etc. Money will go out so that simplicity can come in. But junk has to go out, too. All the extra stuff.

The back end of my van is filled with items we did not use that were sitting in two of our closets. I kept getting so disheartened as the items just stacked and stacked. Too much stuff.

There are too many with too little for me to hold on to too much.

Lately, God has been speaking simplicity into my spiritual walk by reminding me that I am to "set [my] heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set [my] mind on things above, not on earthly things" (Colossians 3:1-2). The phrases "set your heart" or "set your mind" keep coming up. Usually, that means God wants me to study them and think through them. He's wanting to teach me something.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matthew 6:19-20). There is this whole other place that we as believers reference regularly, but often do not live like we believe it exists. How much would it change things to really focus on the eternal rather than the temporary? How much more does setting our hearts and minds on things above change what we value and spend time on here - in this life? The answer, and it's not easy for me to process either, challenges most of the ways I approach life. The answer is that a mind and heart set on heaven and the eternal should change almost everything about my earthly temporary existence. Too much focus on me or my family. Too much focus on how others perceive me or my home or my outward appearance.

Too much temporary, too little eternal.

The junk of the temporary has to go out so that the eternal can infiltrate my life in a way the changes how I live and love. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has "set eternity in the hearts of men." So God has SET eternity in my heart and I am to SET my heart on things above. Isn't He smart? God has asked me to set my heart on something He created space in my heart to hold. What a great God we have! Always equipping us for what He's asking us to do.

So, I'm simplifying. I'm moving things out so that what really matters can come in and stay for a long while - in my home and my heart.

There's too little time in this life for too much stuff to take up too much room in our hearts.

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