Are your possessions running your life? God wants to help.
Posted in , Jul 21, 2019
Today’s guest blogger is Courtney Ellis, author of Uncluttered: Free Your Space, Free Your Schedule, Free Your Soul.
A few years ago I found myself drowning in stuff. My shelves were overflowing. My closets didn’t close. Don't even get me started on the guest room, which is where unused exercise equipment, outdated electronics and all manner of holiday decorations piled up in small mountains of plastic tubs.
Possessions aren’t neutral. Each item we own takes time to care for, store, dust and maintain. Each one takes up space in our lives. An overabundance of clutter can be not only an eyesore, but a barrier to hospitality and stumbling block in our walk with the Lord, stealing time away from what matters most.
Uncluttering is big business these days. From Marie Kondo to storage solutions to the minimalist movement, it’s clear that many people are tired of their possessions owning them. But the root of our problem is deeper than just having too much junk. At its heart, it’s a spiritual issue.
We hoard things out of fear (what if I need this later?), a lack of trust (what if God doesn’t provide?) or even a desire to control (now I’m prepared for everything!). Yet God calls us to a better way, unencumbered by the clutter that can weigh down not only our shelves but our souls.
The good news is that there’s another way! Scripture teaches the ancient Christian virtue of simplicity (see Matthew 6:19-20)—letting God order our lives for our good and His glory. Jesus reminds us that He clothes the lilies (Luke 12:27) and cares for the sparrows(Matt. 10:29)—we can trust Him to care of us instead of hoarding and clinging to what we own. Regular worship reminds us of the rhythms of the kingdom—that in giving up, we gain, and in laying down our life (and our possessions!) we find new hope (1 John 3:16).
As I’ve begun my own uncluttering journey, my prayer has changed from “God, show me what I should give away!” to “God, teach me what I need to keep.” I’ve learned that I don’t want hundreds of Christmas ornaments; I really only need those that will fit on the tree. I’ve discovered that I can let go of those jeans from college. (Let’s be honest, they’re never going to fit me again anyway!)
Through sharing what I have, God has brought me into deeper relationship with my neighbors as we swap a ladder for a lawnmower on a sunny afternoon, rather than each owning one of our own.
Over the past couple of years I’ve gone through not only my home but my calendar and my digital devices too, paring down to the essentials and learning that with every possession I let go of, my soul grows a little lighter.
Remembering that our lives are in God’s hands frees us to live simply, one shelf, one sock, one soup ladle at a time.