One of the biggest challenges of this transcontinental move, and moving in general for me, which hasn’t gotten much easier even though I’ve lived in at least a dozen places in the past ten years, is learning to let go of stuff. I am a bit of a closet hoarder, even though I’ve been a bit of a gypsy for the past decade. I hold on to things…mostly things that won’t take up a lot of space, even though I will probably never use them, just because I might need them.
We’re now firmly in the process of sifting through our things and making decisions about what we need to keep, sell or toss, and I’m finding things that we brought across from Scotland with us which I’ve never used. Silly, piddly things that were a waste of space, a waste of time packing and unpacking, a waste of money shipping and moving. There are clothes I brought over and haven’t worn. Shoes that traipsed across the continents in a box just to sit in the back of my closet.
A few days ago the Hubs asked what I thought about not shipping anything across to the States and just taking whatever we can fit into the suitcases we’ll be travelling with. My eyes very quickly welled up with tears, and as I realised what was happening I said to myself:
Hoarder, we have a problem.
Like, why the heck am I so teary-eyed about stuff? We don’t have especially nice stuff. Most of the stuff I own has been given to me. Why am I so afraid of letting go? It’s just stuff.
As I brought that moment and my heart to the Lord, He seemed to shed light on the issue behind the hoarding:
I hoard because I think “if I let this go, I won’t have it if I need it.” Or, “I might not be able to get one of these again.” Or, “This has sentimental value because it meant a lot to the person who gave it to me. (Even though I don’t like it and haven’t used it and won’t use it and it isn’t sentimental to me.”) Am I even hoarding other people’s baggage?
I realised that while mourning the letting go of my birthday gift crock pot, the blender and rice cooker we got as a wedding gifts, a set of knives here, a set of towels there, and all this stuff that, very honestly, isn’t worth the cost of the shipping across the ocean, I am really mourning out of fear that I won’t be able to get replacement stuff when we are settled in the States. My sadness actually has very little to do with sentimentality.
It’s really just fear because I like having stuff, and I am afraid of what it will be like to not have stuff.
Once my eyes were opened to what was really going on in my heart, my perspective began to change completely. God has been a faithful provider of every need, and ever-so-many wants, even in these years where I’ve been far away from home and often on a tight budget. Is there really any reason to fear that He’s going to stop providing when I’m back in the Carolinas?
This fresh perspective knocked the fear right out of my heart, and as the packing process has continued, I’ve been able to say, repeatedly, “We don’t need to bring that. We can do without it, and if we need one, we’ll be able to find one when we’re there.” It has been incredibly life-giving to say “I’m not really that attached to this stuff anyway. Let’s let go! Maybe we’ll even be able to find better stuff!” — I’m looking at this as an opportunity for God to bless us, and teach us contentment and I’m choosing hope instead of fear.
It seemed as if God was pleased with this turn-about: I felt fresh joy in my heart and a new spring in my step, just by mentally letting go of stuff. A weight had lifted.
And then guess what happened?
Besides being a former closet-hoarder, I am also a bit of a giveaway addict. When a blog is hosting a giveaway and I hear about it, honestly, I can’t resist. Knowing that just by leaving a little comment at the bottom of a blog post offering a giveaway means I could win something…I can’t pass it up. In the back of my mind I always hear the phrase:
“By entering, you increase your chances of winning by 100%.”
And though I have never, ever won anything on a blog giveaway up until this point, that doesn’t stop me from trying. So a couple weeks ago, the Nester and DaySpring were hosting a little giveaway. They were giving away some cute little blocks DaySpring has created, which you can use to spell different sweet things in your home, perhaps on a mantlepiece or a shelf. I (of course) took a moment to leave a comment, and then proceeded to completely forget about it and move on to whatever I was supposed to be doing with that free moment.
This morning, I received a happy little email from the Nester, notifying me that I was one of the giveaway winners. I was ever-so very delighted. This simple little provision of something that will decorate the home we hope to have someday felt like a token, and a message straight from heaven:
“I’m pleased with you. And I can provide for you. Well done on letting go.”
Whatever your fear — whether it keeps you from letting go of stuff or keeps you from stepping out and doing something brave, I’d like to encourage you to bring it to God. I’m so encouraged that He is meeting me and helping me through even something as simple as this, with His grace and goodness.