How many things do you normally take with you on a camping trip? Only the things you’ll need for the few days you’re gone, right? There’s only so much space inside your vehicle or RV to stow all those items you’ll use while away. It just wouldn’t make sense to overload your limited space with more than what you’ll need. (I’m all for being prepared for emergencies, but that’s another story, for another time.)
So when I woke up a few mornings ago and looked around our home at all the STUFF everywhere, it hit me like a ton of bricks…no wonder I am always fighting for more time. I don’t doubt for a second that this little epiphany was given to me straight from God. The excess in our lives is stealing our time away from the people that matter most to us and the call that He has placed on our lives. I’m not talking about a messy house here. That, sweet moms, is part of life with kids…especially if you homeschool. It’s a sign that life with all of its learning opportunities, is happening.
No, what I’m talking about is the excess! Our days are spent catching up. Our weekends…catching up. When are we going to be caught up? I think the better question might be; when are we going to start spending our time taking care of each other instead of spending so much time taking care of the stuff that clutters and complicates our lives?
Don’t get me wrong, I feel tremendously blessed by all that we have. Our little three bedroom, one bath rambler with a converted garage for a playroom is perfect for our family of six. And we have all we need and then some. We are so grateful for God’s provision. But I wonder if we truly are being good stewards of our time by spending so much of it tending to our things. I want to spend the majority of my time taking care of what’s most important…the people God’s placed in my life, the relationships with Him and others.
But, I fight and fight for more time to do both. Something has to change.
I could keep what we already have and just choose to be a better steward of the time God gives to me. But, I believe there’s a bigger lesson from God here. Why do we accumulate and keep so many things?
We live pretty modestly, but still, does a family of six really need 75 drinking glasses and kid cups of various kinds? Do we really need to keep all of our books, when we typically have around a 100 books checked out of the library at any given time? And how about the clothes? You should see the giant mountains that are my laundry piles taking up precious real estate in our boys’ play room. And the toys….well, you know. I could say the same about our school shelves and bins laden with curriculum from years past and workbooks I’ve collected over time. Why do we need all of these things?
I believe that deep down there is a fear driving some of us that says we might need those extra cups or the curriculum from three years ago. That fear keeps us from giving up our “needs” and prevents us from blessing others with what we have. We’ve become too comfortable with and used to the things that invade our space and time at home.
I enjoy taking care of my family and our home. But I do believe there is something legitimate here. When we have too many things taking up valuable space in our homes, we are then responsible for taking care of all that stuff. I for one, am tired of taking care of inanimate objects that consume my time.
It all feels so wasteful and self absorbed when I think of how much we take for granted in this life. I want our boys to learn how to be good stewards of the things we have and how to know when we have enough. And I want them to experience the blessing of giving what we have away to others.
We need to downsize, learn to live with less, live beyond ourselves and bless others with what God wants us to give away. I certainly don’t want to be a blessing blocker anymore.
As I begin thinking about what it will look like to live with far less than what we currently have, my heart and mind begin to experience a freedom that I’ve been longing for. Those heavy chains that keep me bound to the stuff that surrounds me begin to loosen.
When my home is cluttered, my heart and mind are too. Pointless and even negative thoughts fill my mind and reflect the mess around me, carrying me further away from God. Add to that, the constant feeling of dread and defeat over always fighting for more time and we’ve created a heart attitude of bitterness. (I say “we” because I’m sure I can’t be the only one whose mind is cluttered….someone???)
So, moms, what is it that is stealing your time away from your family? What causes your time to be wasted and frustrates your days? The phrase, “less is more” actually has me on a new mission. As I’m looking ahead, I don’t want the unneeded things in my life to compromise our school days or our family time together anymore. I want to seek our God for more of what He has in store for us and let go of the “treasures” we seem to have collected and accumulated.
What has God entrusted to you? Have you been hanging on to things you just don’t need…both literally and emotionally? Have you been spending time on things you sense God calling you away from? I have.
Let’s begin to take back that precious time graciously given to us by God. Let’s pour out our hearts and ask Him to fill us with a new definition of what our needs really are, according to His will. And may we seek Him in all things so that we never forget what’s most important. Our mission field starts at home and is filled with people, not things. May our hearts and minds be renewed as we seek to store up treasures in Heaven, not on Earth. (Matthew 6:19-21)