Several years ago, a neighbor asked me to help her clean out her deceased mother in laws house. At first glance, the house was adorable; a sunroom running the length of the house with 100-year-old crank out windows, mature shrubbery and an old fashioned covered front porch. However, looks can be deceiving– as once I entered the house I was taken aback by all the “stuff”.
Lola had accumulated large quantities of chairs, baskets, gardening equipment and supplies, canning supplies, sewing supplies, linens, hats, sewing machines, books, nic nacs, china and more. The house was filled with a lifetime of things that may or may not have meant something to her.
As we shuffled from room to room, I could not help but think how meaningless all of it really was. My grandmother had a small house and very few possessions but the things in her home were her prize possessions; she did not keep everything, nor did she collect more than what would comfortably fill her tiny house. As children, we were taught to be respectful of her furniture and knew what trinkets she held most dear and we were not allowed to touch.
On the other extreme, I once knew a woman who became a minimalist. She pared her belongings down to only necessities, donating the rest. Her home was cold and sterile and lacked warm sentiment–perhaps this was true of her spiritual state at the time, as she had just gone through a painful divorce.
Some of us may be suffocating by “stuff”, continually buying and acquiring because we lack discipline and because we are trying to fill a void. In an attempt to suffocate our fears, we surround ourselves with things. And yet, the extreme minimalist may feel so out of control in other areas of his/her life that the sterility of a home with nothing and just the act of purging brings a sense of control.
I have been on a personal journey during the past few years to purge my own home of excess. Admittedly, I have lacked discipline in the past. Previously, if I liked something ~ I bought it. I have a weakness for antique pictures and art. I am not a nic nac kind of person and have purged most of the nic nacs from my home. Cluttered rooms give me a cluttered mind. I lived in a cluttered environment for many years while raising my family, but found that clutter impairs my overall sense of well~being.
Those years spent raising children, working and doing too much, with too many expectations of myself (perfectionism), left me with little time for contemplation. It was a set up for disappointment until one day I realized that I had little or no sentimental attachment to most of what I had accumulated but rather, I was gathering, trying to fill my half empty cup with things other than God, and was in desperate need for an intervention from my Savior.
The Bible tells us in Isaiah 55: 1-2
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”
Why spend your money on things that will not satisfy? The Lord says, “come to the waters…come buy milk without money and without cost.”
Only He can satisfy.
If you are suffocating in “stuff”, take some time to ask God to come and fill your cup with those things that truly are the “richest of fare.” Take time to think about the state of your life and your spiritual health today. Ask God to show you what you need to purge. Our souls crave that… which only our Savior can give.