We have always donated a tithe of our income to our church, but I had an idea recently that has helped me gain a new perspective on the STUFF in my life. I’ve been working on decluttering–OK, seems I’m always working on that–but really emphasizing it this last year. Between making a major move and feeling an urgent need to really get control over my environment, I’ve had a lot of motivation to get rid of stuff. I ran into a hitch, though, when it seemed I’d already let go of all the “extra” stuff–what was left was things I felt were useful. Like my thousands of books. You can never have too many good books, right?
The trouble was, I knew I still had more “stuff” than I could easily take care of. I’m not by nature a good manager of stuff. I like to organize, but have trouble maintaining the order. And I just didn’t want all my attention going to maintaining things–I want time to teach and enjoy my kids, time to spend with my husband, time to serve. That’s when I came up with the idea of giving away one tenth–a tithe–of my stuff. Using the analogy of tithing our income to church helped me be willing to give away the GOOD stuff, the stuff that I might find useful (but didn’t really need). After all, it’s good money we give away when we tithe–but we give it freely because we are just giving back to the Lord some of what he has blessed us with, and it is going to a great cause! I don’t know why stuff is harder to let go of than money, but often it is. I found if I take the perspective that I am just giving some of what I have been blessed with, and if I give where it will be truly appreciated, I can overcome my selfish need to hold onto things.
One of the things that holds us back when we have more than we need (as almost all of us do) is the dread of giving something away then wanting it tomorrow, or next month, or next year…I have found I occasionally do wish I had something I had let go of, but honestly it’s relatively rare. It doesn’t make sense to hold onto one hundred things, or even ten things, because one of those might be needed and we’re not sure which one. Better to let all of them go to somewhere they will be a blessing, rather than burdening ourselves with caring for all of them in case we need something.
Anyway, I’ve been having fun–oddly, I have found I get the same kind of pleasure from giving things away as I get from acquiring new things! I always donate–I don’t sell things. That’s a matter of my heart. I love the hymn that says “Because I have been given much, I too must give”–I have been abundantly blessed in my life, and it just seems right that I should do what I can to bless others.
Oh, and my house is cleaner than it’s ever been.