I once read the story of the man in the Bible who wanted to build a bigger house to store his things, and I thought to myself, “I would never be like that.”
But here I am, in the midst of downsizing to two suit cases and a carry on, and it has been one of the most difficult/ enlightening processes ever.
In this post, I will be discussing what packing for an international move has taught me.
My husband and I have been praying for direction to be church planters. We have felt the urge to move and attempt to be the hands and feet in which God uses to spread His church. This conviction landed us with a move to Guam.
We currently live in a comfy town home, with lotsss of stuff. And this home, filled with stuff, has been filled with so many memories. Like the recliner I slept in for 2 weeks while healing from my mastectomy.
Or the big comfy bean bag my husband slept in next to the recliner while I healed from my mastectomy.
Or the decorations people have gifted me with inspiring messages like the one that says, “Be still” or, “I see the God thing in you.”
And, if I am being honest, I did not realize how materialistic I was until I was forced to downsize all of my stuff into two suit cases and a carry on. There are so many things I just want to hold on to. So many memories tied to these “things.” So many thoughts of, “What if I need this later?”
But here is what I am learning:
I have “stuffitis.”
This term was coined by Dave Ramsey and it’s the disease that presents with worrying that we don’t have enough and wanting stuff and lots of it.
This might look like:
my closet that’s overflowing with clothes… yet I still find myself saying, “I have nothing to wear today.”
A pantry, with food that has literally been in there for months.
Shoes…. Oh the shoes.
Crafts, that I told myself "I will do this one day..."
Books... That I had to buy instead of borrow.
It is overwhelming!
But here is what I am also learning:
Embracing Simplicity is so freeing when paired with sacrifice.
Simplicity means: “the state of being simple, uncomplicated.”
Sacrifice means “surrender of something for the sake of something else.” Or “an act of offering to a deity something special.”
If you were to ask me a few weeks ago, if I was a “simple” or “sacrificial” person. I would have told you yes. That was until I was forced to downsize our apartment. And while downsizing, I began to feel the weight of just how trapped to my stuff I was. I literally wanted to cling to it.
So how did I break free?
Well, first by having a husband who is totally a minimalist but who patiently reminded me of what is important (Thank you Luke). And two, by turning to the scriptures and reflecting on my life:
Do you remember in the Bible of Israel’s Babylonian Captivity? God allowed His people to go back to Jerusalem and they were supposed to rebuild the temple. They were given the wood to do it. But they didn’t build the temple. Instead they used the supplies to panel their own houses! And about 20 years later, God sent them a prophet named Haggai to tell them to get to work building that temple. Haggai says in 1:2-5
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways.”
Consider your ways! Says Haggai…
They were using temple wood to panel their own houses when they were supposed to be building God's temple!
So as a result, instead of receiving blessings, they were in a cycle of never ending wants and needs that failed to fulfill them. Look at verse 6:
“You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.”
And as much as I just want to shake my head and say, “I would never do that!” I was like that...I was using my wealth and gifts to just put “panels on my own house” and live comfortably...
But happiness never came from doing this. And Jesus never called me to a comfortable life.
I was in a cycle just like those people… Never having enough, having wages in a bag with holes…And the best thing I did for myself was to stop and "consider my ways."
Here are the verses I have been meditating on to consider my ways and break free from that mindset:
1. “Love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind” ( Mark 12:30). Focusing on Him, has allowed me to simplify my heart as I become more focused on loving and serving Him, I become less focus with clinging on to my possessions. And I began to realize that life does not consist in the abundance of things we possess (Luke 12:15).
2. “Do not worry about what you will eat or drink or what you will wear” (Matthew 6:28-30). I am going to a place where it is constantly warm, yet I find myself wanting to shove my suitcase full with winter clothes! I keep saying, “what if I need this?” But instead of saying this, I have started saying, “who else needs this right now?” And this mindset has allowed me to give away my warm clothes to someone who needs them now, instead of hoarding on to them thinking, “in case I need them.”
3. Realizing the freedom of letting go of stuff. John 8:32 tells us that we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. I truly believe that part of that truth is not only God’s word and plan of salvation, but also realizing the truth of “losing your life and finding it” and discovering that joy is the ability to give up these possessions and be able to move freely. I also realized that much of the stuff I was hoarding was causing me to be distracted from God... and it has been such a blessing to be able to offer those things up to Jesus as a small sacrifice for following Him.
So, if you are with me this far, here is a challenge for you this week:
Go through your house one room at a time, one closet at a time, one drawer at a time, and get rid of stuff.
Here are some tips:
- Have 3 boxes or bags (I prefer black trash bags so you can’t see the stuff you are giving away and feel tempted to reach in and pull it out again haha).
- Divide the stuff into categories: what you wish to keep, what you wish to throw away, what you wish to donate
- Give to the local shelter.
- Give to your church family.
- Use Facebook market place
*** I am not encouraging you to live a life of poverty. Nor am I saying your life should look just like mine to properly live like Jesus. We have all been given a different journey to spread the gospel. But I will say, if you are willing to embrace simplicity, I promise it will be incredibly eye opening exercise to do!
I would love to hear how this exercise impacted you! Message me after you complete it <3
This post and spiritual growth was contributed to by Cynthia Guy in her book “Struggle Seek Grow.” Available here:
Also with quotes from Dave Ramsey’s book: “Financial Peace.” Available here: