These last few weeks I have struggled to put into words my thoughts, emotions and desires, constantly feeling overwhelmed. This process has not only been full of revelation but constant reminders as well. Anyone who has gone from a lot to a little knows this is a layered process. Downsizing is a huge undertaking, and one in which you will come against powerful challenges. I don’t mean the challenge of deciding on whether to keep or get rid of a sweater. It is much deeper than that. The battle you will face is the one in your mind. It is one thing to downsize your belongings; it is another to downsize your logic. Believe me, once you have jumped the hurdle, you will never want to jump it again.
It would be one thing for me to say, “Yeah, get rid of all your stuff!” but on the other hand you have to be careful to not be careless. We have gotten so “caught up in the moment” of letting things go, we have neglected to remember that it is God who has blessed us with EVERYTHING we own. He blessed us financially and, in that, He also gave us the freedom to choose what to use it for. Being face to face with our decisions has definitely put things into perspective for both of us. We are now learning to use what God has given us respectfully and with a deep sense of gratitude. It doesn’t matter if it is a Q-tip; He gave us the means to have it.
I never realized how many decisions I made without blinking. I cannot tell you the number of times we would be at an estate sale and I’d see a knick-knack that would catch my eye. Sure, it was only a few bucks, harmless really, but what is the value of that item to me? Am I going to use it on a daily basis? Would it go somewhere that I could enjoy its beauty every day? Do…I…really…need…this? I wish these were the questions I would’ve asked myself.
However, the consequences of not asking myself those questions led to the excess of items that I had no idea what to do with. There was such enjoyment for me in the purchasing process because they were cool, neat things, and I was sure I could find a use for them. Continuing to convince myself that my plan for opening up a booth at an antique store would be perfect for all of this! But, I never opened up a booth. In fact, I never took time to ask God if I should. So, because I didn’t invite Him into this process, I not only ended up with more than I ever thought, I also wasted a ton of money.
One of the things I appreciate about God is how He wants to protect us. Yes, He wants to protect us from evil but He also works to protect us from ourselves. Looking back, I know, without a doubt, God was not encouraging me to buy. I did that all by myself. Honestly, I have probably spent hundreds of dollars just on throw pillows and hundreds more on unnecessary clothing. Just because we can purchase something does not mean that we should purchase it.
Most, if not all, of my purchasing choices have been made just because I wanted to buy it. Not only did I not take into consideration that God has given me this money but I didn’t invite Him into the decision-making. I realize many people believe that God has better things to do than help me decide if I should purchase another hoodie. But He does care! Especially if I already have 5! God wants to be involved in every decision, and we should want Him to be. If we fail to acknowledge the fact that God cares about every aspect of our lives, then the choices we make apart from Him will hold no significant value. What is anything worth if God is not involved?
I do not agree with a life of excess nor do I believe that is what God desires for us. I see very clearly what “excess” has brought me and my family. What is it worth to own so much and, at the end of your life, those items hold no true value. What is worth investing in? For me, it’s first and foremost living a life devoted to God, which means daily surrendering and clinging to the cross. Secondly, loving my husband and growing our marriage in and through God. Thirdly, being Godly parents, cherishing our children and teaching them about the unmatchable love of God. This is true investment to me. Where we live, what we have, and how much money is in our bank account is irrelevant. I would rather live with only a few possessions-those with true value-than to live surrounded by objects that are worthless.
William Morris once said, “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
Less is more,