Reflections on Leaving – Part 2: Stuff

You would have thought that by now we would be deep in boxes. Packing takes time and time is running out. We have done some light packing but before we could really get going on it we had to purge the house of stuff.

We have moved many times. As Shannon and I approach our 9th wedding  anniversary (on the 25th of this month) I am reminded that this move will be the 6th move in our 9 years of marriage. Our first apartment (where we lived for 2 months) was around 700 sq ft, followed by our seminary digs where we lived in a 400 sq. ft. of space.

There was little room for non-essentials in our little apartment. We had a few chairs to sit on, a small dining room table, a small desk, and the chest of drawers also served as an entertainment center. In the bedroom all we could fit was our bed and two end tables. This small place became a home to us during these important days in our lives. All the furniture in that place had been given to us, or we had bought it at the church’s garage sale. We had what we needed in that small place.

Yet each time we moved we purged, we found ourselves with more stuff than we really needed. This time is no different and in fact I think we have collected more since this is the longest we have lived in one house.

It is embarrassing to acknowledge how much stuff we have accumulated. How did I end up with 5 winter coats? Where did all those TV’s come from? How come my kids have so many toys? Why did we keep x (kitchen appliance, old bag, electronic) if it did not work?

I am sure by now you get my drift, we all could live simpler than we live now. When the moving company came to give us an estimate they were surprised at how little we had, I told him about our purging and he told me stories of people who had not just their home belongings but storage unit after storage unit full of stuff. I can’t imagine!

My prayer is that we become more intentional about what we obtain. Do we really need it? I also pray that we are more willing to part with things that are no longer used, or worn, or needed. I am sure that there are people who would be blessed to get it.

I am one of those people who strives to live simply. I encountered this idea some years ago as I read Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. One of his quotes has stuck with me since then and it speaks perfectly to what we have felt as we have been facing our “stuff:”

We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. ‘We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like’ . . . it is time to awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick.

It turns out that leaving is an opportunity to grow in grace!

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