Sing to the tune of Summertime from Porgy and Bess
And the givin’ ain’t easy
Kids are grumpin’
Toy give-away piles are high
Your daddy’s rich
And your mamma’s quite crazy
But hush spoiled baby
Don’t you cry
One of these mornings
You’re going to rise up singing
Unbound by your stuff,
And you’ll take to the sky
And the givin’ aint easy
She lets out a big sigh
BUT your FATHER’s rich
And this stuff will just choke you
So hush little darlin’
Jus’ say good-bye.
This week we tackled the Possessions challenge. I was hoping that we’d be able to manage 7 items per person per day, for a minimum total of 255 items, but we skunked that. I didn’t even count by the end. It was a lot. Two station wagon loads full and a large almost new recliner I gave to a friend recovering from surgery.
Honestly, I didn’t think this would be much of a challenge because our lives are OVERRUN with stuff that I am eager and ready to get rid of. Most of the time, I have a “Goodwill” box by the back door that I daily fill with at least one item to take to Goodwill or the local second hand store. A few months ago I sold a bunch of old baby stuff and made a couple hundred bucks for a friend of mine who is pregnant with quintuplets. (I know! That’s FIVE. I’ll just wait for a sec while you comprehend and then resume breathing.) Anyway, she thanked me for the money, but I honestly didn’t think for one minute that I’d given her anything–because it wasn’t mine. I didn’t possess it, so it didn’t hurt me to give it away. And that’s how it should be–living so unattached to our stuff and money that we can easily be the vehicle for God’s money.
The kicker for me was getting rid of MY STUFF. I am happy to drop my kids toys, old baby furniture, my husband’s T-shirts, or an old kitchen implement into the box, but I cringed to clear off my book shelf, my closet, or my memorabilia.
Here’s the truth: They own me. The books own me. They have more power over me than I have over them. I look at them and a whole host of emotions, and memories, and wistfulness comes flooding up into my heart, not all of it good.
Now, I’m not against memories by any means, but a memory is different than a possessive controlling voice that tells you who you are–or aren’t–who you used to be and can’t be now. Stuff that I can’t say good-bye to has possession of me.
So, I dug deep this week. I unwrapped the claws of nostalgia, regret, and just plain greed off of my heart and said good-bye to some of the things that possessed me. I dispossessed those things. I said, “YOU DON’T OWN ME” and I meant it.
I loved this challenge because I can truly say that I found a bit of freedom here. As I packed up those things that some of me still DID WANT, and gave them away, I found myself feeling free, liberated. Maybe I won’t rise up singing or take to the sky like it says in the song, but it felt good.
1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
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