There is something really nice about downsizing your house. My wife and I are currently in the throws of inventory, organizing and taking trips to the dump. I know it’s not spring yet, but we just couldn’t take the clutter anymore.
Our goal is to get ourselves down to at least half of what we own. It’s amazing how much stuff piles up over the short period of a year. Yet here we are, up to our necks in notebooks and knick-knacks. I have to say, although there is a lot of work to be done, every load we take to the dump is like a layer of mud being rinsed from our home. The more we throw away, the more simple our lives become. There’s less to worry about. Less to distract us from the things we truly want to be doing. Less objects and shiny things lulling our affections away from each other and the priorities we want to have. I have to say, I am throughly enjoying downsizing.
A Simple Life
I think this feeling of simplicity and ordinariness is rooted in something deeper than just mere convenience. Yes, life is easier to manage when things are simpler, but I think there is a deeper reason we crave order and simplicity. I think when there are less distractions in our lives and less stuff, we begin to, even out of necessity at that point, see the true value of relationships and leading a quiet life. It is very easy to not ask my wife how she is doing when I have trinkets and movies to keep my attentions. It is very easy to fall into a life where I am constantly looking for something to be entertained by, instead of using my time to invest in others.
Throughout this entire process of boxing and cleaning I am reminded of 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 when it says,
“Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”
Our Affection Shows What We Value
One of the problems with clutter is that it makes things hard to see. It hides other, more important stuff underneath it. I cannot tell you how many times during this process I have uncovered a letter, picture, or gift that had been lost under all the junk. I feel like the woman who just found her lost coin. Let’s throw a party. My affections are rekindled as I remember the value that I once placed on this object. The value that was hidden from me because of the hectic lifestyle that I have been living. This happens when I allow my life to get into a place where I am forgetting the importance of everyday, ordinary, Christian activities and callings. When my life gets too busy and the clutter starts to rise, my ability to see clearly and work effectively is greatly diminished. The simple work like fostering new and old relationships, serving the Church, serving my family, telling others about Christ, doing the simple and everyday tasks that God has given me to do. Doing these things honors God and shows that I am thankful for the life that He has given me. Allowing the clutter to rise and myself to be distracted will take away the contentment and joy that I greatly want and will replace it with frustration, negativity and dissatisfaction. When I’m distracted, I’m showing what I truly value. My affections show what I truly think to be most important.
A Worthy Aspiration
We are urged to “live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands.” Now obviously this isn’t a condemnation for anyone who has a white-collar job. There are plenary of Christians who are in a job where they are not given the opportunity to work their their hands. No, this is a mindset that we as Christians should have. We should desire the simple, Godly life versus a life that is full of distractions and clutter. Our lives should be simple in their meaning and actions. Work, play, love and do all these things for the glory of God. We must have a singular focus to our lives and not be pulled this way and that. We’re here to bring God glory. It is a simple and uncluttered calling. We do this ultimately by sharing the truth of the Gospel. That is first and foremost. Yet we also accomplish this by training ourselves to value the simple, ordinary things in life. A loving spouse, Godly friends, or a good church. We as Christians must find worth in the ordinary, because that is what God has given us. Find value in what the Lord has given you and don’t let the clutter build up and hide things. Perhaps it’s time for some downsizing. Take inventory and see what is getting in the way. What you find under the clutter may just be more valuable than you think.