It’s a work in progress, to say the least.
Dan was gone to Haiti for two weeks on a mission trip and it had given me some time to think about how we live our life. I have thought about our past mission trips to third world countries and those trips always caused me to rethink about how much we owned. Bless Dan’s heart because he probably gets sick of me figuring out what else I can get rid of, but I just get so bogged down sometimes thinking about how much we own.
You’d think that after how many years of wanting to live with less, that we have “arrived”. As much as I would like to say we have, we haven’t. Not that I am of the mindset to sell everything and own nothing, but I do feel like I am not meant to live with excess.
In fact, in our church bulletin on Sunday, there was a quote in the stewardship section that caught my attention. The quote was from John Stott and it said:
“We should travel light and live simply. Our enemy is not possessions, but excess.”
THAT is what I believe. There is a story in the Bible (Luke 18) about the rich young ruler. Of course I am paraphrasing here, but the rich young ruler asked Jesus what he had to do to be saved. He had kept all of the commandments, but he still did not do one thing – sell everything and give it to the poor. Point being, what are we holding onto, too tightly? What have we not given up to follow Christ?
What makes this tangible for me is when I read that story and think about Stott’s quote about excess. Is our home filled with excess? Do we have things sitting on our shelves that we do not need? Do I have clothes screaming at me “wear me” because I haven’t worn it in years? Am I too busy maintaining what we do have?
When you clean, do you get sick of how much you have to pick up and clean around? I had that thought this past weekend when I was dusting. I was sick of dusting around things and decided to clean up our decor a little bit. I love having family pictures because they remind me of the blessings we have in family. But all the “extra” stuff around it was driving me crazy. Yeah it may look pretty and I think there is something to be said about setting up a home, but at what point is it too much excess?
With summer upon us too, when you travel, are you overwhelmed with what to pack? I must say, having a capsule wardrobe made packing for a vacation MUCH easier. Yes, I didn’t have a new set of shorts for each day, but I also didn’t need to. I took what I had and made do with what I had. Making choices wasn’t needed because it all worked together and I could intertwine them all. My suitcase was still very heavy (due to being gone for over 2 weeks), but I was pleased with the number of clothes I took.
Take time to think about your own life. Look around the rooms of your home. Are they bursting at the seams? Are the drawers hard to open? Are the piles stacked so high you can’t get anything out? What overwhelms you when you look at it? Those are your answers to the question of excess.
“Our enemy is not possessions, but excess.” God has given us possessions to be good stewards over. Stott is exactly right. Possessions are not wrong in and of themselves. It’s what we do (or DON’T do) with them that matters. What do you struggle to be a good steward over because you have too much of it?
This is a challenge for myself as I continue to think about what it means to live with less and I hope you too, continue to find your own personal ways to live with less.
Are you on a journey to live with less? What are some of the struggles you have?