Nov 6, 2013

Thankful purging

Do you ever feel sabotaged by your own stuff? Things that you think should be blessings are actually the things that are sabotaging your joy?
As we are in the season of Thankfulness, one should be feeling more thankful.  
However, as I looked around my house today, I just felt overwhelmed by "stuff".  It seemed like every toy bin had thrown up it's contents. The sink was holding far too much in the way of dirty dishes. It seemed like organizing and containing the chaos could seize most of the day if I let it.  I wasn't thankful for any of this stuff.  I should have been because having it all is a gift.  Somehow, I'm just feeling more glutinous than joyful.   More stressed by possessions that blessed by them. Overwhelmed by keeping them, but reluctant to let them go.  Somehow, this blessing wasn't actually giving me a heart of peace, or praise, or thankfulness. Usually, I do feel it about this life I have been given. But I had turned a corner into disorder, and when that happens, I know I need to let "stuff" go.  
So I called for a purge.  We purged.  I asked the kids for toys that they no longer played with.  I got a few in a pile.  Then I sent them back for more. I looked at the pile ....and asked for more.  I went back to their rooms and looked around and it still looks like too much.  I seriously want to do a whole house attack.  I informed them tomorrow it is happening.  They went to bed in fear of what would be sent away.

My living room is in chaos with old toys thrown willy nilly where they were sorted and assessed.

And I'm wondering now.  Sitting here wondering where my balance should be.

As homeschoolers, we keep a lot.   My kids have a lot because this place is their home, school and world.  We spend all day everyday here.  This is their playground, their classroom, their experimental zone into art and play.  So we keep a lot.  There is the massive art area where the girls spend a good part of their day gluing, taping, cutting, coloring, etc.  We have scores of toys for imaginative play - which is dragged out all day every day.  I have toys for different ages and genders since we have a span living under this roof.  I want to give my kids the tools they need to explore and pretend and discover.  We are an extremely creative family and everything can be kept and used for some project or game - and it often is.

But I also feel that those "things" can become just possessions that trap us.  They rob us of joy and the delight of a life of simplicity.  The care and clean up can be time-suckers and joy-stealers.

I have to be honest, drawing a line can be hard. Finding that line is even harder. 
To sort it out, I have to go back to the drawing board.  What is most important?
To myself, I answer that by saying:
Children, whose hearts are uncluttered, full of love, learning to become all that the Father has created them to be.   

I have to find the line between a cluttered heart and a heart that has a place to explore and create and discover - because in this, we also find God.

So tomorrow, we purge.  We assess.  And hopefully, we find blessing in letting go. We find thankfulness for what has been given to us in abundance, and we find joy in the giving.
There is another lesson in giving.  My children went to bed in fear of what they will have to let go.  Tomorrow I get to lead them into a heart lesson.    There is fear in letting go.  There is joy and a lightness after you do it.  None of them will be asked to give up something very precious.  However, I do want to them to give up the "what if" things.  "What if" I want it later? "What if" I later find a use for it even though I don't right now?  "What if", "What if".

Don't we all do that?  On a grander scale, God provides for the now, we can trust Him for the future, and we don't need to worry about the "what if" of hoarding.  This is great season for learning to hold our possessions loosely.

So today was stressful.  Prying our hands open to give up our possessions is stressful.  Tomorrow may get worse.  Learning lessons in joy can first bring on stress because it is just that...a lesson that our hearts have to be bent to learn.
Lord, please bend us, break us, of the grip of possessions and let us learn to hold our possessions loosely and live a simple life, Amen.

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