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Time to stop collecting
That day I realized we had spent too many years collecting. But for me, it went so much deeper. As I worked my way through the house, I started to notice a pattern. The questions evolved from complex to simple. ‘What is it?’ became ‘Do I use it?’ ‘Why did I have it?’ became ‘Do I need it?’ ‘What was its purpose?’ became ‘Do I love it?’
I remember one day, opening the storage totes in which I stored my keepsakes, as I called them. Things that I felt were important to keep. Memorabilia from my childhood. Toys, pictures, pamphlets, and all sorts of junk. Some of it was familiar, some of it I had no idea why it was in there. Things I hadn’t thought about in years came flooding over me. The memories became so overwhelming, I had to stop repeatedly to catch my breath.
Mom, why are you always CLEANING?
After one of my emotional time-outs, I returned to the office to get back to the cleaning process. As I walked in, I saw my daughter standing there, staring at the mess I had created. I realized I had emptied the box similar to the way the mouse had emptied the bowl of Kisses. I had strewn the empty pieces of my life across the floor of the office for her to find. That’s just what they had become, empty pieces of my life. She questioned what all of it was. Why had I chosen to lock myself in the office going through dusty boxes? Why was I always cleaning?
She and her brother were bored and wanted me to spend time with them.In my frustration, I snapped at her, telling her there would be plenty of time to spend with them, later. But then I saw the hurt in her eyes, the feeling that my stuff was more important than she. And that truth broke my heart. I had wasted so much time cleaning all the stuff in the house over the years, and, especially, the past month, I had neglected my children. My belongings had taken the place of my kids. I had gotten lost in all the memories of who I was, lost in the misplaced responsibility that things needed me more, I had forgotten that I was created to love. My stuff was getting in the way of building relationships with those around me.
Wisdom In A Whisper
As I cleaned and cleared away those items, God’s word washed through me. Jesus tells the rich, young man to sell everything and give to the poor in order to have riches in heaven. The young man goes away sad because he just can’t give up his belongings. In Mark 10:25, Jesus says “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Giving up worldly possessions gives me more time to build up relationships, and lets me store up heavenly treasures, too. So the purge continues, it has become a regular part of my cleaning process. I have learned that while cleaning is important, stuff is not. However, cleaning shouldn’t overrun my life.