If someone peeked inside this mobile home's overflowing closets, they might wonder why stuff crams every corner. The answer is revealing. Gone-to-glory relatives leave stuff behind, like old family photos, to become the flotsam and jetsam that jam our closets and cupboards. Some stuff is still usable and so it remains in the cupboards. But is it needed? Probably not. I say "stuff" because I have no better word!
Ah, but the memories attached to things can cause us to keep them. It seems almost traitorous to dispose of such stuff. How can we remove it from our lives when it came from someone dear to us? Even though, or especially because, that person is long gone to glory, we find it tough to part with what they gave us. It's as if we are disrespecting them by parting with the item.
So what can be done with all our stuff? Lord willing, our plan might be to hold a family get together when the COVID-19 isolation is over, a "pick-through-Mom's-stuff-event", giving the kids first dibs on what they want. Then, the remainder of our excess stuff might be donated to a church yard sale or a charity.
There are some steps that may help us to cope when the memories associated with a particular item cause us to refuse to let it go. When we must face such decisions, to help us in this process, our Lord's words apply:
Matthew 6:19-21 – Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NRSV)
As we ponder paring down our stuff, especially while we have time during this COVID-19 lockdown, what comes to mind is guarding our hearts by making God the focal point of the decision-making process. We need to ask Him for guidance as we take these next three steps. First, decide where to donate the item. Second, decide whether we should hold a yard sale and when. Third, decide whether to place what remains in the trash bin or to take it to a recycle centre.
Dear friends, only God can free us from our captivity to stuff and bless us with the freedom that His loving grace provides.
Prayer: Almighty God, You created all that exists. We're asking for direction to deal with everything that You've given into our care so that it may continue to be useful to others after You've called us home, for we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Take Time To Be Holy" (Lyrics)