As I sit here this morning waiting for the donations truck to arrive and remove our remaining garage sale items from this house, I anticipate the clean, crisp feeling of simplicity. A feeling, in truth, I’ve never known. At least where my possessions are concerned.
As a child, I always dreamt big and placed significant value on things. Beautiful things. I was raised to love and cherish beauty and know how soothing a beautiful home is to the spirit. And so, when I married and began creating our first home this is what I always had in mind. However, because I dreamt big, I was always thinking of the next big house and all the things we’d have in it. The statement it would make, the life it would create for our future family, etc. And as those things came along, I’d save them. As the years went by, and we did get the next bigger house, I began stashing things in places and making little piles with labels in anticipation of the next big house. Then when had our first daughter and the word “stuff” took on a whole new meaning.
Before long, we had more stuff than we could manage. My sweet husband would move tubs around and help me re-organize but the idea of clearing anything out was unthinkable, by me anyway. I know Clinton thought of it, often. Then we had our second daughter and though I had carefully saved all of our baby stuff in anticipation, we still inherited more and more. Not to mention the toddler stuff we now had as well. So, our big house seemed to be getting smaller by the minute and all of my best organizing efforts weren’t actually doing anything more than moving the stuff from one place to another.
Then we got the call to “go” from the Lord. We began walking down the path of becoming a family who lives globally, serving in various locations for various lengths of time. It took us all of two seconds to realize that this has to be done in a manner that is free and unencumbered from the external evidences of a suburban lifestyle (i.e. house, car, fence, dog, stuff). Thus, the arduous task of downsizing commenced. I thought long and hard about what my priorities really were as a wife and mother and what I wanted our lifestyle to communicate to our girls. Did I really want them growing up clinging to their things and placing unnecessary value in them rather than in people or God? Or did I want them to recognize things for what they were-tools that help them live and place value in each other and their God? The filter in which I would weed everything out then became clear. Cleaning house was never so easy.
On the eve of our first garage sale, we stared into the bed of the largest U-Haul truck available, and were stunned that a family of four could sufficiently fill it with so much stuff. But the garage sale was a huge success and by the end of that weekend, we had a manageable amount to store for the next one.
After two more garage sales I realize the evolution I’ve gone through to be here now owning just what we need for this season, and a few tubs labeled “Kenya” in a small storage unit. The dreams I had clung to always seemed so big and yet I realize the irony now is that they were minuscule in comparison with what God had planned all along. I had been dreaming locally and He had been planning globally. The subconscious anxiety and need for control that I have been imprisoned by all these years in hoarding has piece by piece been sold off, even if at 10 cents a piece.
So, this morning, I sit in the quiet of anticipated freedom, trust in a God who provides unfailingly and knows far better what we need, and at long last, the clean, crisp feeling of simplicity.
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?…“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?…“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “…for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25-33