While my husband was out in Wyoming preparing for our move out west, he sent me a video of the apartment he had just signed a lease on (mind you, I had not even seen any pictures until it was too late). Maybe it was the pixels on the screen, or the fact that I didn’t watch on full screen mode, but my first impression was “oh my word, that’s small”. As I’m back here packing up, I look at all the boxes stacked up around me and I wonder if it will all fit. I have this problem where I want All. THE. BOOKS.
When we bought our first house, I went through a pretty intense phase of obsessing over decor blogs. I LOVED thrifting, and since we had a house with 4 bedrooms for only two people, of course I filled every room. I frequented Lowes, Goodwill, and Salvation Army looking for treasures to display. It wasn’t uncommon for me to spend Sunday afternoons perusing the internet for DIY projects and paint color. And it was all lovely.
It’s easy to think that living the dream means accumulating more things. That if we live in a smaller house/apartment/trailer now than we used, that we’ve regressed and somehow failed to be successful. Success is often defined by how much stuff we have.
As we started to think about downsizing a few years later, I started to purge and rethink my love of pretty things. I actually started to derive pleasure from taking carloads back to the thrift store (it’s the circle of life, right?). I’ve become more practical in my decisions about what stays and what goes; although I still have this problem with hoarding books and artwork (it’s a complicated struggle). And it’s true that the more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to take care of.
The more we move, the more I question my perspective on possessions. When your life is packed up in boxes, you wonder what’s really important. We sing songs about Jesus being all we need and finding our hope and joy in him, but many times what we really want is a comfortable life with nice things and pleasant people. Even with all my new-found piety about downsizing, simplifying, and focusing on what really matters, there are a lot of things that are more valuable to me than Jesus. Comfort, for one. Praise of others, hobbies I like, order in my life, my husband, to name a few. And yes, relationships are incredibly important and necessary, but can we say that even without the relationships we hold most dear, that we are still content in Jesus?
We fill our lives and seek satisfaction in so many places, and yet what we really need often eludes us. Sometimes we’re so busy looking in all the wrong places, that we miss God in our lives. If we were without any of the luxuries we take for granted on a daily basis, would we still praise God?
I hate the chaos of moving, but that’s because order has become my god. I die a little inside when I see my favorite piece of furniture heading off to the thrift store because there won’t be room for it at our new place, but that’s because I’ve made an idol of things. And yes, I worry that I won’t be able to fit all my valuables in the new apartment, but in the end, stuff is just stuff. But God is still God and He will provide everything we truly need. So even if I need to downsize again and say goodbye to some of these things that define my life, I’m not really giving up what’s most important, because that’s something I can never lose.
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