Getting rid of stuff in your life makes room for spiritual growth. That may not seem like an immediately obvious idea. Most of us have closets full of stuff that we don’t want to get rid of but never use. Perhaps there is an emotional attachment, or the thought that it might just be useful sometime. We hold onto things for many reasons, and our homes fill up with stuff.
We are finishing the first week of Lent, a season of “self-reflection and repentance by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (BCP 265) Last week I wrote about the value of looking at how we spend our money as a practical form of self-reflection for Lent. This week, I want to suggest that we look at our stuff.
Going through your closets and garage and giving things away that you don’t need or use creates space for spiritual growth. Really! I’ve tried this, and it works. There is a cost to keeping all the stuff in our lives, and there is a benefit to giving it away.
The problem is that we hear every day from the world around us that we need new, better stuff. We need a better car or a new cell phone or a new computer, and so on. The mission of advertising is to tell us that we are not whole and complete without their product. We will not achieve true happiness until we get their device.
Every time we put something into a closet, or stack something else into a garage, or put something else into our home, we reduce the space we have for living in that home. When we turn that around and give things away, donating our stuff to Goodwill, or giving unused winter coats to a homeless shelter, we do more than make room in our home, we grow our hearts.
This week, consider one closet or space in your home and ask, do I need this stuff? Can any of it make a difference in someone else’s life? Each time you give something away, you are blessed three times: once because you have more space in your house, again because you have blessed someone in need, and finally because you have expressed generosity with your heart.
Yours in Christ,