My Constipated Home

My Constipated Home

I am beginning to realize that consumerism is a sin.  Before you say “Woah, don’t you think that’s a little extreme!?”  and close out of this page, hear me out.

I’ve been reading my Bible lately.  No, this is not new…but I have been reading “old” familiar passages  that are hitting me afresh.  Like this one:

32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

– Luke 12:32-34

And when I reached the end of the passage, I tried to apply the neat little interpretation and application that I have been taught applies to that passage.  And I found it was like trying to stick a round peg into a square hole – it didn’t work. Time and again, I am finding my comfortable scripture applications clattering to the floor.

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

Have you ever thought, “I would love to support that missionary, it’s just that finances are really tight right now”?

Why in the past have I read that passage and glossed over it, thinking “Oh, that is for people who are really rich and whose value and entire existence is caught up in owning things instead of the things that really matter.”

WAIT.

I own at least seven different types of cookware,  multiple specialty kitchen gadgets, dozens of differently shaped and sized bowls, cups,  mugs, tea cups, plasticware and plates. I have a myriad of beautifully colored pieces of cloth, all designated for different purposes –  kitchen towels, bath towels, baby towels, toddler towels, burp cloths, blankets, fleece throws, car seat blankets, crib blankets, duvets, bedsheets, tablecloths, curtains, cloth napkins – the list is endless!!  I have short sleeve shirts, three-quarter sleeve shirts, longsleeve shirts, sweatshirts, dress shirts, running shirts, not to mention all of my skirts, dresses, pants,  shorts, and capris!  There’s constantly a flood of toys tumbling onto our living room floor and with our refrigerator/freezer, upright freezer, pantry,  and every space/herb you could imagine, we practically have our own personal grocery store at our fingertips. I live in a house with ten rooms, one of which was created solely to house one of our two gleaming, self propelling “chariots.” Much,  even most, of my time is spent washing, drying, folding,  organizing and putting away said-clothing, washing, drying and putting away said-dishes, as well as sweeping and scrubbing the many rooms we live in and attempting over and over again to organize my junk into beauty.  And I keep failing.

If I am not “the rich” that Jesus was talking to, then who is? Oh sure, there are people who ARE  way wealthier than my family and me –  but that does not make me poor.  The poor are those who hardly have clothing on their backs, who have a sagging roof over their heads, whose bellies grumble because their pantries are bare, and whose bodies are sick because they can’t even access clean water.  The poor are the ones who feel like they have to sell their bodies or their children just to get enough to eat.

  I am not poor. 

 I am rich.

 Jesus was talking to me

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

And suddenly it hit me. Jesus was not giving two separate commands: 1) Sell your possessions 2) Give to the poor.  He was telling us how. Sell your possessions so that you can give to the poor. I may not be a millionaire, but I have a whole lot of wealth tied up  in my STUFF.

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

Maybe, just maybe, Jesus actually meant that. Literally. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Why don’t we take Jesus literally?? 

I am being challenged to re-think my selfish, consumerism mindset. When my body constantly takes in food and does not expel it, I am constipated and my body is not in a healthy state. When my body is constipated, I cannot even enjoy taking in food. Does the same not go for our homes? When our homes are constantly taking in stuff and not expelling stuff (giving it away), our homes become constipated and unhealthy. And just like my body, my constipated home cannot even enjoy the stuff it is trying to take in. 

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

What if I did? What if I sold all my excess possessions?

Maybe then I would actually have the extra finances to support that missionary…

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When STUFF Controls Your SOUL: Desiring Simplicity

When STUFF Controls Your SOUL: Desiring Simplicity

I have found that I have a hard time giving something away when it is still “good” in my eyes for whatever reason. Perhaps I like the look of it, the meaning behind it, the one who gave it to me, the cause it represents, or the dream it reflects.

But why do I consider it “bad” to give a “good” item away? Should I not rather give a “good” item away so that it can bless someone else? Surely it can’t be right to only want to give “bad” items away to others! If it is not currently blessing me, I need to bless someone else with it! Even if it could bless me LATER, I need to give it to someone who would be blessed by it NOW.

Why do I let fear of the future keep me hoarding things that I don’t need or don’t use? Truly that is the root of my reluctance to give things away…FEAR. I am somehow afraid that I will need that object in the future and won’t have it. Do I not trust my God to provide for my every need in every moment?? Do I trust more fully in myself and rely on my possessions to be confident about my future?! When you really spell it out like that, it sounds ridiculous.

Many times, I think I have allowed objects to essentially become a part of me.

Has giving something away ever felt strangely like giving away a part of your soul?

I don’t like to admit it, but I have felt that way more often than I would like. Giving away a cute dress that I used to feel beautiful in feels somehow like giving away a part of my beauty; tossing a photograph of a special moment (or even a rather mediocre moment) somehow feels like tossing away the memory; giving away the components of an unfinished project often feels like I am giving up and giving away that dream. But in actuality, none of these feelings are a true representation of reality. No object controls my beauty or dictates my dreams or contains my memories. Every object is only a temporary accent or asset to these parts of my life. These objects are NOT my life! On the contrary, when we succumb to these deceptive feelings, these objects TAKE OVER our lives!
I daresay that we will never miss between 90%  and 99% of the objects we give away. And for that tiny percentage that we might have a fleeting moment of regret over – would we really trade in that blessed and wonderful feeling of freedom and simple living that we have attained in order to have those couple objects back? Would we really desire to take that object back from the person we blessed with it?

I think not.

I am finding that the more I learn, the less I know. I am also discovering that in so many ways….THE LESS I OWN, THE MORE IT FEELS LIKE I HAVE.

We must seek to be content in God and to be content in what He has so graciously given us; we must focus on resting in His presence and desiring only Him; to make it a habit to advantage of every opportunity to GIVE – and I believe the fruit of simplicity will start blossom as a result.