by Kristin Bonham
I can’t find my stuff.
I need to organize my stuff.
I’m going to buy more stuff.
Aw, she has cute stuff!
What is all this stuff???
Taking on the challenge of reading Jen Hatmaker’s book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” has pretty much wrecked my stuff. I mean… I like this stuff, and I might need this stuff someday so I want to keep it just incase!
A few weeks after we stared this Beautiful Experiment to eliminate excess in our lives, my husband and I moved our daughter’s stuff back into our house. This includes a bedroom full of furniture, boxes, clothes, and collections from a 22 year olds life. Many of the things are necessities, some are sentimental and some are just things that have followed her around for a few years.
So, when I was talking to her after we moved all this stuff, I presented the challenge of getting rid of 1/3 or “our” stuff. Because she is like me and goes through cycles of wanting to purge things, she was up for it. One minor detail is that she lives in another state and I would be doing the initial downsizing.
I have to confess, I’ve been here before. Anytime I come back from a vacation or being away from home for a few days, I want to clean out stuff and simplify my life. The problem is, it always comes back. The thing about the “7 experiment” is that Jen’s point is to make changes that give you new filters to see yourself and others through.
I tackled the subject of possessions because I need to create some space and I really do want to change the cycle of stuff. In the middle of it, I couldn’t help but think about another area… stress.
What I discovered is there is a direct connection with my how much space is in my closets and how much room is in my life. When my spaces are cluttered and full of things I don’t use or really need, they are a direct reflection of how much margin is in my schedule, how much freedom I have to respond to the moment, and how much stress I am living with.
So, this is what I’m doing about it. I’m focusing on creating space in every area of my life and I started with my closet. Funny enough, I just did a huge closet cleanout back in March. This time, it came down to a cardigan. I have this amazing gray cardigan that I’ve had for about 5 years. I love this sweater. The problem… I have another one that is almost identical. My closet cleaning partner challenged me to get rid of one sweater. I chose to eliminate the favorite one. She told me if I wanted it back, I could ask her and that made me think, “Why am I so attached to this stuff?”
I let the sweater go, along with 3 bags of things I can find a new home for. I pray this is the beginning of the real change that I’m seeking in my life. It may sound trivial but God has used the simplest things to teach me important truths. He is my source. It’s so easy to let other things creep in and take up a little space in me that needs to be satisfied in Him. I love to give and I’m excited about this new level of giving that God is developing in me and I look forward to the empty spaces I will see in my closets and calendar. I pray that you will ask God to show you if there is space in you that He wants access to and then do it.
What is one item that you can’t seem to “let go” of? Are you up for the challenge of giving it away to create more space? Share your comments and thoughts below!
Kristin Bonham is a pastor’s wife and the Women’s Ministry Director at Grace Family Church. She and Chris have been married for 25 years and have three children; Taylor, Abby and Casey. She loves the beach, New York City and traveling with Chris. She collects books and reads some of them. Her favorite part of the week is Sunday lunch with her family and friends around the table.