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Who or What Owns Us?

For the past two years, I have given lip service to wanting to simplify my life.

You know–own less stuff, take care of less, live more generously in the world so that my life reflects more closely with what I say I believe.

It sounds good.

You can read some of those longings here.

But now that we have sold our house, or at least we are supposed to close on it this coming week I whisper prayerfully, I understand better why I wasn’t ready for these big changes before now.

It is simply exhausting dealing with all of the stuff I (we) own. What to throw away, what to keep, what to sell, what to give away? We’ve given away most of it to others who wanted or needed it.  Thousands of decisions in a month. I’m not talking about physical exhaustion as much as the emotional kind. For me, there is grief in realizing what has got a hold on my life and how I define myself.

Do I really need to take all those little league football award and newspaper articles saved by my mother and stepmom from the first grade through college? No, gone. Do I keep all of those family pictures, or the other hundred that chronicle my growing up? Well, yes, many of them are like touchstones for my memory. The list is long.

I used to be very critical, even judgmental of the man that walked up to Jesus one day and said, “Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?” And Jesus looked at him and said, “Sell all that you have and follow me and then you will have eternal life.” And the man dropped his head, walked away sadly because he was rich and owned many things.

When I would read that, I would think how foolish he was.” I thought when you have Jesus standing right in front of you giving you a clear, concise answer to the most important question of your life, then it would be an easy question.  But it never is.

It isn’t so easy to let all this stuff go.

We are choosing to live in a beautiful space, just smaller and closer to my work.   I am excited about walking or riding a bike to work.

I have not sold or given away all that I have.  Just a lot of it.

But, this IS a step on this journey to answer this important question for me personally, “Who or what owns me?”  I am aware that grace is needed for all of us along the way.   And it is an ongoing decision.

So what have you learned along this journey on moving and letting go of stuff?

Got an encouraging word for this traveler?

One Response to “Who or What Owns Us?”

  1. Marti Holmes says:

    Frank and I downsized a few years ago, and as difficult as it was, we are so happy we did. And now we look around and say, “Where did all THIS stuff come from?” as we look at a new accumulation. I am getting the urge to purge!

    Emptying our parents’ homes was very difficult, as well, and something I do not want to do to our children. Figuring out what to save, give away and throw away was grief-filled. Finally, I said to my sister, just take pictures of most of it, and let it go. We did. Somehow we keep trying to hold on to things we cannot keep, and forget to hold dear the thing we can keep. Aren’t we blessed that God loves us anyway?!

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