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Less Is More

When I had to declutter because of the move, I saved many inspiring sayings that would encourage me as I got rid of stuff.
Know what I found?
Whether a person had a lot of stuff or a little stuff, if that was the emphasis, then their heart was wrong.
Getting rid of stuff is painful. It’s an emotional ordeal.
Why?
Because that stuff means something.
Maybe it means more than it should.
By choosing to keep certain things, they became more special.

I have trouble making decisions. Sometimes it takes too much energy.
Sometimes, instead of choosing between two things in a store, I will get both. Hoping at home I can decide.
Often I don’t.
My indecision makes me procrastinate on deciding.
And now I have two thrift store shirts when one would suffice.

By becoming more intentional in purchases, I can minimize what comes into the house.
But regardless of how much stuff I have, it holds a power over me.
Why?
I buy it.
I wash it.
I use it.
I repair it.
I protect it.
I store it.

You see?
Stuff consumes my time.
Takes more thought than it should.
Even choosing not to have stuff takes time.
I must debate whether the item has its place.
Whether it’s worth the money.
Whether it meets a need.
That’s a lot of time!

Regardless of whether you minimize or keep everything you can—know what I found?
The Satisfaction of its presence or its absence does not last.

We have substituted stuff for real meaning.
Satan has deceived us into thinking more stuff or less stuff will bring happiness.
It does not.
They both leave us empty.

The way we value stuff is a measure of our heart.
If our heart is filled with stuff, there is no room for God.

Often with today’s Christians, we disdain those in the Bible for worshipping idols made with hands, yet we have our stuff.
Maybe we don’t bow down to it, but we certainly clean it, shine it, and set it in a prominent place in our homes.
Maybe it’s the tv.
All our time is spent before it.
We even lay down before it.
It is never off.
Maybe it’s how much stuff we have. 
We pride ourselves in not having too much. Or that we have this particular stuff.

Where are your thoughts?
What consumes you?
Who has the idol now?
It’s not even gold that we have.
Yet it draws our eyes, then our hearts away from God.
We have no room for God.

Our stuff takes over our thoughts.
What should I pack for this trip?
What should I buy for this gift?
How should I organize this mess?
Stuff!
It gets in the way of thinking about God.

We've allowed God’s gifts to take the place of God Himself.
Read that again.

You will seek and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 
Jeremiah 29:13.

We aren’t searching for God, not with our heart.
So we don’t see Him.
He’s ignored.

A.W. Tozer describes this in chapter one in Pursuit of God, 
This possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in life.

Possession becomes the tyrant of control
Surrender allows man to be “poor in spirit.”

Abraham was a rich man. 
His stuff did not hinder him from seeking God.
He had everything, but possessed nothing.
God owned it.
It was surrendered to His use.

By possessing nothing, our stuff doesn’t hold its weight in our heart.
They are not our possessions.
They are God’s.

Surrender. Our. Stuff.
Our time.
Our thoughts.
Our things.
Our families.
Give them to God.

It is not without cost.
Abraham's real test was his one and only son. 
God told him to sacrifice him.
Imagine the mental battle Abraham went through to finally surrender his son to God.
God had told him that through Isaac all nations would be blessed. 
Isaac had to be alive to do that.
Abraham came to the conclusion that God would have to raise Isaac from the dead—because he believed God’s promises. 
That was before anyone dead had been made alive.
That’s trust.
But to surrender his only son tore his heart and soul in two.
Not to mention what he’d tell Sarah when he returned without Isaac! 
But Abraham surrendered. It. all.

That same tearing of heart and soul was Christ’s lot in the Garden when He told His Father, “Not My will, but Thine.”

That sacrifice and pain must be made in our own hearts to achieve that “whole hearted” surrender.

If we are seeking to know God, God will show us that one item, that person, that one part that keeps us from giving Him our whole heart.

We want to distract Him.
“Look what service I’ve done for you here.”
But it's in total surrender that God’s presence is found.
Less or more?
It’s all Gods. 
And we are His.
He wants our entire heart.


How do you deal with stuff so it doesn't take over your thoughts?
 

O.K., I get it, you wrote this just for me! I just spent a whole day going through greeting cards, can you believe? Bob's first wife wrote to everyone, she had the whole church writing to the military, and now I have all her cards. I'm keeping one chest, the rest is going to the church yard sale. Probably what took me so long was separating the different kinds so at the sale customers don't have to go through hundreds of cards looking for what they want. Anyway, every evening we spend 1-2 hours going through boxes of my 50+ years of accumulation and it does seem endless. Josh and Katrina are boxing it up, bringing it down, and overwhelming us to say the least. But you are so right, things tie us down. It seems like most of what I had was simply still there because we had room for it and I never had to sort through it. (Bob refuses to build a shed for all my "stuff," so some has to go!) But I have him and I have the Lord, I am blessed.

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I write about what matters...to you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what matters...to Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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