The “Spring Cleaning” fever seems to hit me year-round. After a few months of not being able to find things, or forgetting the things in my to-do pile and not enough time to deep clean regularly, I get antsy and frustrated. I get to the point where I’m ready to ship it all off to Goodwill! So I start in with the purging.
With high expectations of emptying shelves and creating more space, I begin with a closet, or a drawer. Soon I’m moving on to the next over-packed area, and the next. Gaining momentum and getting excited, I glance back at my “get rid of” pile.” It is usually at this point that I realize with disappointment, it’s not as big as I had hoped. Just a few things sit by the front door, ready to make their exit.
“Why do we have so much stuff?” the question crosses my mind.
I thought that we didn’t need those things, but as I sorted through the boxes and the Rubbermaid totes, I saw all of the things I didn’t want to part with. The stuff we can’t live without after all. The baby clothes, and the photos. The assorted kitchen utensils that we use a few times a year, and the pretty punch bowls (yes, TWO!) that I love having a party for as an excuse to use them. The old childhood toys go back into their storage containers and the piles of scrap fabric, yarn, scrapbook paper, and several colors of thread and ribbon are folded, wrapped, and sorted because you “never know when you might need it.”
What started out as a day of emptying, often becomes a day of organizing. It’s more about making all the stuff look neat and orderly. And less about living on less.
Living on less. This has been on my mind almost on a daily basis. It’s a thought I can’t seem to shake lately. “Get rid of it,” seems to ring in my mind. But over the days of attempting to get rid of things and to purge the “stuff,” God has revealed to my heart that he’s not talking about the physical things, it’s the stuff I’m holding onto on the inside.
“Stop reorganizing your baggage,” He says.
“Don’t just make it look neat and orderly, let it go.”
“But I need it!” we protest. I need that little piece of me that needs to hold on to relationships. I need the parts that get jealous and angry, because they’re justified. I need to feel secure in my marriage and as a parent. I need to be liked. I need to feel confidant. I need to have a purpose, and it needs to come from a “calling.”
We all know that those things are not important. We know that we don’t really need them. But we still hold on to them. Many times we don’t realize that the closet of our hearts is overwhelmingly packed. When we don’t truly turn those things over to God and allow Him to be the only one we hold on to, the boxes and bags can sometimes burst at the seams. We can re-organize, fold, wrap, and sort the piles, placing them carefully and gently back into the closet. But through the years, more and more will collect, and before long we’ll need a bigger closet.
When we are faced with the opportunity to let them go, we can either turn to the “security” we’ve built for ourselves in those things, holding on because we just might need it one day, or we can empty our hearts out to God and truly get rid of our junk.