My Stuff Does Not Define Me.

So, back when we were house shopping and first saw our house, the previous owners had moved out but left their elliptical machine behind.  At the time, it was my favorite cardio machine and I thought it would be amazing to have one at home.  We literally ALMOST did not get this house because we really wanted it and the sellers were refusing to include it (even though they had moved out and not taken it with them).

A couple weeks ago, Husband and I decided to get rid of it.  I hadn’t used it in forever because we belong to a gym that we love.  There is no denying that it didn’t spark joy because it wasn’t fun to use and was huge and ugly. And SO heavy.  Our home office is so much more cheerful now that it’s gone!  And I have more room to do the home workout videos that I actually enjoy.

Isn’t it funny how our wants and desires change over time?  Our tastes change or what’s “in” changes and we try to keep up with it all.  Only problem is, most of the time, in order to keep up, we want MORE, NEWER, BETTER stuff to replace what’s “out”.

I’m not saying there’s never a reason to get rid of something that doesn’t bring joy and replace it with something that does.  But if you’re on a journey to let go of things, I suspect you’ll find many things you don’t need to replace. Even if you hang onto things you don’t love, you may discover that months later, you still haven’t used them. Perhaps it’s time to let them go. This is probably the first time in my life that I’ve been more interested in getting rid of things than acquiring them and it feels fantastic. It’s thrilling (and freeing) to let things go and NOT replace them.  And oh, the gratitude you’ll feel for what’s left!

It can also be a little scary; I won’t deny that.  While I’ve loved going through this process and do not regret anything I let go of, I am still a human struggling with fleshly and worldly desires. There have been several times that I’ve felt a little panic welling up in me. Did I over-do

my stuff does not define me
Photo taken in Highlands, NC

it? Did I get rid of too much?  In those fleeting moments, I have a strange sensation like I’ve lost some part of myself.

I think it’s because we oftentimes view ourselves and our worth or value through the things we own.  In those times, I have to remind myself that I AM NOT DEFINED BY WHAT I OWN.  My things are not who I am inside.  They may reflect things about me, but they do not have any bearing on my soul or who God has made me to be.

And the reality is, I have not gotten rid of too much of anything.  In fact, I’ve already begun to revisit some of the first categories of stuff that I tidied.  Why?  Because I’m starting to notice that there are items I chose to keep in the early going that I haven’t touched since.  Clothes in particular are on my mind; it was so scary to go down to what seemed like such a “small” wardrobe, but there are items that I haven’t considered wearing once since then.

Yesterday, another full carload of items went to Goodwill.  There was a box full of home decor and books to donate that I somehow missed before.  I donated a little glass top table with two chairs that used to live in our guest room, plus a small wicker side table that has long since been cleared off with nothing left to put on it. I donated another bag full of shoes and clothes, and one with towels and pillows.  Most were things that stayed because I hadn’t perfected my ability to detect my own joy; still other things stayed because I am so used to seeing them that I didn’t even think to do a joy check.

But learning to live a simple life doesn’t end after purging possessions.  My guess is that I will continue to find things here and there to donate or sell.  There will of course be things that get worn out and need to be replaced.  Simplification is a process no matter what you are simplifying.  And I need it elsewhere, too…in my mind, in my schedule, and on my laptop.  Who knows what direction I’ll go in next!

Until next time,

S

 

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