Storage or Stewardship?

In just a little while, our family is going to be taking another adventure. After attempting to sell our home and not making any progress on that track, the Lord is providing for us a different route to follow. Over the past few months, along with all our adoption paperwork, my husband has been trying to draft plans for a home remodel to accomodate our growing family as well as refinance our home to cover the costs. So far, the architect has finished his work, the city has approved the plans, and the Lord has provided us with alternative housing---right next door to our church! Though it is a bit smaller than our current home, it will help cut down on transportation and gas costs! Our target moving date is in a couple of weeks, sometime in early February. In the meantime, you know what that means for me! Yup...it is time to start getting ready to move out. Because we are redoing our kitchen, we will need to pack everything up in it and get it either in storage or donate it. If you've ever done this before, you know what I mean when I say that I have just way too much stuff. Somehow it doesn't seem so bad when it's hidden away in cabinets and drawers. But when it starts coming out...watch out!

However, I also feel a sense of relief when a lot of the unnecessary baggage gets schlepped off. It feels like I lost a lot of weight (I only wish it worked that way with my body!). Ultimately, as I consider my home, I really don't want a lot of stuff. I want to only have the stuff that will work for us and enhance the functioning of our home.

And so, this year, as part of my goals, I would like to do a "detox" of our home, getting rid of all the stuff that's weighing us down. In a way, I see this as an act of stewardship, not just a practical move. When I accumulate stuff that I am not using, those things are not being a blessing anymore. God has given me the authority to pass those things on to others who might be able to benefit from it. It'll sure beat sitting dormant in my house!

And so this year, my goal is to de-clutter my home by 30-50%. While I don't think I'll get through the whole house, I believe God has pinpointed several areas that are really a drain on our family's workflow and productivity. Unfortunately, I am a pack rat, holding on to things "just in case." You do that too, don't you? I'm not alone here, right? But these areas have been just piling up and are not doing any good.

The problem for me is when I start taking things out, I start thinking of what I could do with this particular item, book, information, etc. But the truth is, if I haven't looked at it in a long time, it is highly unlikely that I will look at it again in the next few months. It's time to let it go. What I really like is already out in my house anyways. If I haven't seen it, it is probably out of date by now or rendered useless by time.

As I have been thinking about cleaning, it is easy to focus on what I am losing. But the Lord has shown me another perspective as well. By getting rid of what I do not need, I am also making room for what is to come. In a way, it is a step of faith and hope that there will be other things to come in the future. In order for us to make room for those things, I need to let go of the things that clutter up my home.

Again, knowing where God is leading us, having a sense of mission and purpose, is helping a lot. Do I really need all those odd, mismatched dishes? If my husband and I are dreaming of a retreat home, will we even need or want those anyways? I don't think so. And so I can let go of those things so that one day, as the Lord leads, there is room for His other blessings.

God blesses us with our homes as a place to serve, minister and bless others, starting with our husbands and kids. I look at these home goals as a way that I can work towards shaping our home to be what God wants it to be, not letting our stuff shape us. But unless I set goals, that will always be a pipe dream.

Eventually, I hope to be able to clear out our garage, craft closet and files of paper, but also to develop new systems and ways of using and storing the stuff we have. At the bottom of it, I want to steward what God has blessed us with so we can serve Him through our home.

Time to get to work!