Too Much Stuff!

hoarder

This is NOT the home of a hoarder. At least not the kind you find on A&E and grab your spouse to show them you’re not that bad. No, sadly this is my garage today.

I have an excuse, though!!!! We’re selling our house and the realtor and stager both told us we needed to ‘de-clutter’ so that potential buyers could see themselves in our home, not all of our junk. So we spent all of last weekend boxing and bagging, and eventually just tossing all of our overage into the garage. The house looks fantastic.

This morning, however, as I stepped out to the garage for a moment and saw this, it really got me thinking: Do we really need all of this stuff? Its been over a week since we put it out in the garage and we’ve been out to retrieve one thing – the binder with all of our favorite recipes so we could make Spicy Salmon.

I’d say there is a very good chance that we’ll pack all of this stuff up into a moving van and lug it to the new house without having the need to retrieve a single thing for weeks or maybe even months. We’ll unload many of these things on the other end at our new house and open boxes with a series of exclamations: “oh, I forgot all about that!” And THAT is where I’m going to break this cycle. I’m not going to sift through this mess in my garage right now, but I vow on the other end to NOT put things back into my new house that I both did without and completely forgot about for the weeks that it sat in my garage. I’m going to break ties with useless stuff in my life.

Sure, there will be pictures from the past that are important and we’ll hang on to; I’m sure there is some of the kids’ artwork that we’ve stashed in there for posterity. There are likely several dozen books that are important to us that will find a home on a bookshelf in the new house. I’m not suggesting flushing our memories.

But there are certainly pots and pans that we never use, or a few dozen beer glasses I’ve collected over the years. I’m certain there is 10 year old wrapping paper in that pile and there is bound to be a box of Franklin Planners from before 2000. My guess is that at least one of those boxes contains t-shirts I just can’t give up or toys the kids say they still “love.” These things all need to pass on to their next life. If they’re that important, they need to be used, repurposed, or displayed. If not, they are not going to add to the clutter of life anymore.

I’ll encourage you to look at your stuff today (before you have to box it up to move) and ask yourself if it is really adding value to your life? I think for most of us, me included, we too often equate stuff with quality of life. That is really backwards. What leads to quality of life is relationships, experiences, and learning. All the stuff does is block our view of the great relationships we have, hold us in place to avoid new experiences, and drag us into the past to hinder learning new things. So box some stuff up that is getting in the way this week and donate it to Goodwill or just throw it out. Let’s see how much space it frees up for people and other good things in our life. And if you see me between now and the time we move, remind me not to give in to the this pile of stuff!

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Social Media Lent

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Today is Ash Wednesday, the traditional start in the Western Christian Church of the season of Lent. Lent is a 40 day observance by Christians leading up to the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday and the resurrection of Christ on Easter. Like many church traditions, Lent is not a Biblical teaching, but a creation of the early church to remind themselves of final days of Jesus’ ministry and the importance of his final days to the salvation of believers. The tradition calls for believers to deny themselves some common pleasure, vice, or comfort during this time and replace it with prayer, fasting, and remembrance of Christ’s suffering.

Last night, as I sat down to the above fat, juicy, succulent steak on Fat Tuesday and, along with the other diners in the restaurant celebrated a final night of gluttony before this season of denial, I had to take pause.  I realized that if I was going to be serious about experiencing real emotional and spiritual growth during the season of Lent, I should really deny myself something that really mattered to me and would actually cause me to pause every time I thought about it and force me to redirect those thoughts to prayers.

So I’m going to take a Social Media Lent. Shortly after I hit “send” and “post to Facebook” on this blog, I am going to remove the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram apps from my phone for the next 40 days. I plan to continue to blog, as for me that is a writing outlet, not a social media engagement tool, per se, but for the next 40 days I will abstain from social media. I realized recently that I tend to look at Facebook 6-10 times a day and that time is going to be replaced with prayer for the friends that I typically am watching and engaging with in that forum, an email or phone call to that important group of people I call friends, and making time to connect in person with some of the people I only ‘follow’ through social media.

I’ll be back, because I do genuinely appreciate the connections I receive with people through Facebook. However, my hope and prayer for this Season of Lent for myself is that my concern and caring for the most important people in my life will grow during this time and that I will find greater interpersonal connections than I currently have. A blessed Lenten season to all.

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