Last night, my friend helped me clean out my kids' toys and books. Their rooms were over run with things they just don't play with any more, but for some reason, I had a hard time choosing what to toss. They toys were kind of easy: anything broken, or not age appropriate, or things they just don't really find interest in any more. But the books, now those were a challenge to weed through! Why? Because I love books. Words on a page are simply fascinating to me! I love stories, poems, and knowledge in all of its many forms. I want my children to embrace that same love for the written word.
Then I had a thought: What am I teaching my children? When we hoard anything -be it books, toys, food, money, or ourselves- we are not living life the way it was intended by God that we should. God never cared about how much a person had, but He was concerned with how much they gave. It's great for my kids to have toys and books, but by accumulating masses of each, I was simply teaching them the art of overindulgence.
Our society has sadly embraced the concept that more is almost enough, and less is just pathetic. However, the old adage "less is more" should really make a comeback. After I finished in their rooms, I went to my own bookshelves and began to clear them out. I saved my reference books and books pertinent to my education and chosen field, as well as those that my husband enjoys or that I have yet to read. I also saved the fiction the I love to read over and over. The rest? Those are on their way to new homes and new people who can enjoy them. I've done this in most every room in my house in the last year, and gotten rid of so many things that I am nearly embarrassed to think about it. But it's an ongoing process because life is an ongoing process.
Part of living abundantly is understanding that the abundant life has an abundant absence of clutter. Part of living with abandon is knowing how to abandon the things that are broken, no longer needed, or just not pertinent to where God wants me. It's time to clean out more than the shelves and toy bins; it's time to clear out the memories of the past that are clung to with bittersweet nostalgia, the emotions of hurt and anger and pride caused by some offense that is just too hard to move beyond, and the dreams that were not inspired by God. Clearing out the physical home you live in is important, but it's merely symbolic of the freedom one can gain if they but clean out the home of their heart ... the home of their Savior who desires to dwell there!