Little by little, I’m going through thirty years of “stuff.” (Stuff is a good word for it, since my junk comes in many categories.) I’m going through, throwing away, giving away, and deciding what to keep. I’m amazed at all I’m finding: pictures of my nieces and nephews from twenty years ago, maps of everywhere we’ve traveled over the last three decades, papers (Ugh! So many papers!), extra this, extra that, old pillows (Why did I keep them?), enough ballpoint pens to start my own company, and my collections.
Oh, the collections! I had an egg collection. It was amazing—only to me. I like the shape of eggs. Their form is so clean and sculptural and pure. (I gave all but the ostrich egg away. Maybe someday the ostrich egg will go, too.)
I still have the pig collection. (I don’t to this day know what it says about my personality.) I think collecting pigs might have been an overreaction to everyone else’s black and white cows and white geese in the 1980s and ‘90s. But still, I look at them and they make me laugh. I mean, who can scowl at a cute little pig?
I love dishes! I really love dishes. It’s good we’ve always lived in small spaces, or I would have been seriously dish overloaded. Because of the lack of space, I have resisted many “buy me calls” from many a dish. As it is, I recently gave away a set of china that a friend had given me many years ago. I still have some cheap, white everyday dishes and a blue and white set of china.
So, I’m slowly going through my stuff. I ask myself the questions: What will make someone else’s day? What might be special to a friend? What should find its way to a trashcan? What can be recycled? What do I really need? What things make me feel at home?
Simplifying isn’t easy. But it’s necessary. Keep what’s beautiful and useful, and throw out—or bless someone else with—the rest.
It’s the same in the spiritual realm. We need to get rid of the extras, those things that clog our spirit in junk, that overload the senses and emotions so that we don’t see the important things. So that we don’t actually have a relationship with God.
What am I talking about?
It’s the “stuff” we collect, for example:
- Traditions not based on Scripture—things we don’t do or do because they’ve always been done that way. They’re those lists of “what to do to be a good Christian,” the items that aren’t even in the Bible. Jesus said, For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition (Mark 7:8-9).
- Condescending, Pharisaical attitudes—looking down on others, when the Bible says, Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).
- Unconfessed sins—when it’s so easy to be right with God. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
- Negative thinking—when God says, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).
- Unloving personal relationships—when the Lord commands love. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12).
- Distractions that keep us from praying always, meditation on the Word, and communion with God—social media, TV, reading choices, work habits, entertainment choices, a crammed schedule, etc. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).
- Loving the world (sinful pleasures) more than God—when the Bible says, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:15-16).
- Being unthankful—when we should realize that everything is God’s. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20).
If we can trash the unspiritual “junk” in our lives, then we can really, truly enjoy the blessings we have in the Lord:
- Salvation—Those who’ve received Jesus as their personal Savior from sin have eternal life. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).
- The sure hope of heaven—That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast (Hebrews 6:18-19a).
- Joy—Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance (Acts 2:28).
- Peace—Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isaiah 26:3).
- A wonderful life—Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10b). . . . And many more!
As I go through my material stuff, I want to trash any spiritual junk as well. I want to enjoy my uncluttered blessings in Christ.
How about you?
(Photos by yours truly.)
(Photos by yours truly.)