Photo by Michael Flippo
Our family has been in the “get-rid-of-things-that-we-don’t-need” mode as we have been trying to pack for our one-year move to Indonesia. It is incredible to see all the “stuff” that a person can accumulate over a period of time.
Several weeks ago, I went through my closet. It was hard to believe that I had some stuff from 10+ years ago. I don’t know what it is, but maybe it is the thought that I will someday make use of it again. Maybe it is the feeling that we have worked so hard to obtain the “stuff” that to throw it away would be a waste. Maybe it is the idea of having just a lot of stuff in our possession that makes us feel good. Maybe it is just pure neglect that contributed to the amassing of stuff.
Whatever the reason might be, all I can say is that if we are not constantly trying to simplify our lives then there will be a lot of clutter. The crazy thing about clutter is that it distorts and blinds us to what is important. Our vision is impaired. We forget about eternal things. We fail to remember that things in this world will fade away. We disregard the reality that we came into this world with nothing and we will leave this world with nothing (Job 1:21).
One thing good about this transition to Indonesia is that it is helping us to simplify our lives. There are things that we can take and things that we cannot. There are things that we need to throw away and things that we can save.
Richard Foster in his book, Celebration of Discipline gives 10 principles for living out the spiritual discipline of simplicity. His list includes:
2) Reject anything this is producing an addiction in you
3) Develop a habit of giving things away
4) Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry
5) Learn to enjoy things without owning them
6) Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation
7) Look with a healthy skepticism at all “buy now, pay later” schemes
8) Obey Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech
9) Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others
10) Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God