I’ve been going through our school supplies. We have a tiny wicker bookshelf that has to hold the entire year’s school books. It is a hard thing to know what books have to go.
…Especially when the book that should be cut from the bookshelf has a tag on it that says $8.97…
…And it’s brand spanking new…
…And it says “grade 4” on the cover, and we have three children who will eventually be that age…
But there is just no way we are ever going to use it. I mean, there is always the chance that “maybe we’ll need it someday,” but I’ve learned that “someday” doesn’t often happen when I’m wondering if I should keep or let go of things (…Except tools. It’s not that we need 12 manual Phillips screwdrivers, it’s just that we seem to need them scattered across the house so that they are always handy – and always lost. I’m a work in progress, so for now let me keep my tools!)
So, except for tools, I’ve learned that I may as well let something go rather than hang onto it on the off-chance that I might use it one day.
A friend of mine once kept two garbage bags of boy’s clothes in case she would one day have a baby boy. Over 9 years, God gave her four little girls. When she was finally blessed with a boy, she went to the attic and dug out the 2 bags of baby boy clothes. A rat had been living in them at some point over the years. The rat was now gone, but its nest – and the horrible smell – remained. All of the clothes had to be tossed out.
We were discussing how we’d learned to bless others with our stuff. My friend said, “Nobody was able to use those clothes since I held onto them. I wish I had given them to someone who needed them.” She had learned a lesson that I have also had to learn the hard way.
How many times have you kept something, but later it shattered because it was crowded among the chaos in the garage, or broke when the kids decided to use it for their mock fights? Have you ever kept your children’s clothes until they were musty? Or books until they were so old that nobody wanted them? We once kept a huge carpet remnant until it became moldy and musty. We kept it because “maybe we’ll get a stain or a rip and need it one day.” Not a chance! When our carpet became stained and ripped, we bought new carpet.
I used to hang onto everything until our 1200 square foot house with no attic, no basement, no shed, and no garage became filled to overflowing. I was about to go crazy in that house with five of us (at the time) and all the stuff we had accumulated in a decade of marriage. At the peak of my frustration, I asked God for some help, and He provided it through the writings and words of several authors and speakers. One of the things I learned was to bless others with my stuff.
God will bless you back when you give.
A couple of years after I had given away all of my maternity clothes and baby girl clothes, I became pregnant with our fourth child, a girl. It is easy for me to doubt. I have to admit that I panicked just a bit. I reminded God that He promises to take care of us. He asks us to bless the poor. He says to take care of the needy. He says He will clothe us. Reminding God made me feel better, so off I went to choir practice.
“Could you use some maternity clothes?” the girl next to me asked while we were singing that evening. She was the epitome of the Hip Mom, with her leopard-print tops and velvet sweaters. I was floored at God’s provision. He not only provided, but He provided with brand new clothes that were way cooler than mine!
Over and over I have experienced God’s provision after I let go of something. It is as if I am making room for His blessing when I make room in my clutter.
I have 2 theories:
1. If you are wondering whether or not you should buy something, don’t buy it.
2 . If you are wondering whether or not you should keep something, don’t keep it.
If you’re just beginning, my theories will be too scary for you. I understand; I still struggle with this (remember, I can’t let go of tools!). Try this: box up some extra items from around the house. Label the box “To Give” and set it aside for a week. If you haven’t needed or missed the items, take the box (without opening it!) to someone who might be able to use it.
Bless others, and God will surely bless you back. I’ve seen it happen in my life so many times that I’m telling you it is absolutely true.
by Lori Seaborg