Like many people I have a storage unit that is brimming with items that I don’t have room for in the little shoebox I live in, but that I just couldn’t seem to part with either. For quite a while now, I’ve been toying with the idea that I need to get in there and clear a lot of it out, and that’s just what I’ve been doing recently.
It’s sort of an amazing process because many of the items that I’ve stored I come across and just immediately say, “donate”, while others that hold an emotion or a memory are a lot more difficult to get rid of.
It amazes me that many of these items we keep because they act as an emotional trigger of sorts. They cause us to remember when something happened, who we were with, how it made us feel and all those emotions that are associated with good memories we don’t want to let go of. Because they are touchstones to our pasts, we have a hard time letting go of the item itself. Not because it’s really worth anything, but because it acts as a reminder to help us remember our own history.
Among the many boxes I cleared out, I ran across a Buzz Lightyear action figure from Pixar’s Toy Story. When I picked him up, I was instantly transported to Disneyland when my son was 4 years old. He was star struck when he saw his hero Buzz, and didn’t even want to go and say hello because he couldn’t imagine approaching his hero.
Finding Woody, the cowboy doll from the same movie, brought a totally different memory of the same trip. My son was so happy to play Duck, Duck, Goose with all the characters from Toy Story (Buzz wasn’t there). So much so, that when Woody took his hand, my son who didn’t find Woody as intimidating as Buzz, was thrilled to be with the cowboy. I remember laughing as I watched Woody carefully shaking my son’s hand loose when he had to move on. No easy feat for somebody in costume trying not to hurt a 4 year old’s feelings.
I have a friend who often refers to the need to clear things out so God can bring different blessings in, and she’s not the only one who I’ve heard say something similar. The phrase seems to be very popular today when so many people are clearing their lives out in one way or another whether they want to or not.
Many times when you are doing something (no matter what it is), you notice all sorts of other people doing the same thing. And, I’ve always wondered if it’s because you’re more aware of it so you see it more, or if people are just engaging in the same activities at the same time without even knowing one another.
I usually lean heavily to the former explanation rather than the latter, so, when I saw all sorts of moving sales, estate sales and garage sales happening this last week, I assumed I was just noticing them more because I was clearing things out too.
That was until I actually went to try and sell my things at a few local consignment shops that are really good about seeing items quickly. Every one of them ( and there were a few I spoke with) said they were so swamped with people wanting to bring things in to sell, that it would be at least three weeks to a month before they could even see clear to look at my things.
This really made me think that maybe I’m not the only one who’s doing this clearing out thing, but that many other people are too. And, more than that, there’s something a little more going on than what the surface would lead us to believe.
The LORD many times says we have to give up everything to follow Him, and, when He says everything that pretty much means everything including physical, emotional and spiritual things that we’re holding onto. And, for many of us, no matter what form it takes, that means just throwing it away or just walking away from that something that leads us further from the LORD instead of closer to Him.
Yet, as I looked at Buzz Lightyear and Woody and experienced the memories they brought up, I thought it could also include not just throwing things away, but actually purposefully giving things to Him for safe keeping. He knows that some things mean so much to us that it’s hard for us to give them up for Him.
It would be so much better for us to place those things that are so important to us in His hands, knowing they are safeguarded by Him throughout eternity. Then it doesn’t matter if the clearing out brings us more of a blessing or not, because it’s then that we realize that His own self and the love He has for each of us is the only blessing that really matters.