I’m a packrat by nature.
I tend to be extremely sentimental, as well as frugal, so once something has entered my possession I have a tough time parting with it.
My husband is very similar, and we’re both well-aware that many of our childhood toys still reside in our parents’ attics. It’s an honestly acquired trait and goes way back.
However, a somewhat transient life can quickly disrupt any tendency toward hoarding unnecessary possessions. It’s one thing to make space for them in any particular home and quite another to think of each item’s mass and volume in terms of a moving truck, or the challenge of finding the perfect space in a future house.
This really hit home five years ago when we arrived in Pittsburg with boxes filled with baby toys and clothes, probably every picture our son had ever drawn and so many other things which triggered sentimental feelings, but were truly unnecessary.
Thus began a lengthy process of actively paring down our possessions, making frequent rounds through the home and questioning whether we truly use or need each item.
The job seems never-ending, and I guess in some ways this is how it should be if we’re approaching it correctly.
But we have found along our journey that if we don’t manage our possessions they will manage us, so the time dedicated to prompt “stuff” management seems a good investment.
This weekend we saw that effort pay off.
Every Methodist pastor keeps a stash of boxes hidden away. (With hopes of not having to use them for a good, long while. But trust me, they’re there.)
This weekend, we pulled our box stash out of our attic and began packing decor, books, hobby items and those other things that make a place feel like home, but are nonessential for everyday life.
Generally, this also is where I find myself overwhelmed in the packing process. (By the time we’re unloading kitchen or bathroom cabinets, we’re throwing everything in with the goal of just sorting on the other side.)
This time, though, as we began packing our boxes the situation felt different. Everything we packed felt right, as though there is a reason each item is worthy of making this journey with us.
If felt like all the hard work toward an abstract goal came together in that one day in a way that is so applicable to life in general.
So often the goals seem so far away or so big. It’s tough to keep plugging away at each little change toward a big goal, and that’s where it’s easy to lose momentum, whether it be toward budgeting and saving, weight loss, time management or other larger life goals.
Each big goal is accomplished through thousands of little steps and decisions, and as I look around at our half-done packing, I see a moderate number of boxes, rather than feeling the expected sense of being overwhelmed.
This gives me hope both for the move to come and our future in ministry beyond.
I always enjoy the sense of a home becoming ours as our possessions arrive and find their places, but what a thrill it is to feel like the extra has been eliminated, freeing us to spend our time on more valuable pursuits.
At the end of the day, the treasure isn’t found in the items we haul with is, but rather in the ministry we facilitate, the friends we make and our relationships with each other.
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
— Sarah Gooding is a staff writer for The Morning Sun and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org