Monday, September 9, 2013

7: My Badge of Excess

Within only one week of beginning my possession purge I am already completely overwhelmed by the process.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not having problems getting rid of my items.  I have to stop myself from just clearing out the whole house in one swoop.

As I look at all the things in our house, I think about if I use it, love it, or if it has special meaning.  There are more items than I wish to confess that we don't use.  I have started to be honest about why I bought some of the items in our home.  Sixteen Spode Christmas plates sit in our cabinet, bought because a friend I admired had those plates.  To emulate one of the most wonderful hostesses I ever met, I have amassed a large collection of various serving dishes.  I do use some of these dishes frequently but I certainly don't need this many. 

For many years, I have tried to create an image of myself, our family and our home that would be worthy of admiration, even jealousy.  I wanted to have a house that people admired.  If I worked hard enough, we could be one of those families that other people idolized.  Yes, I said idolized.  My goals are changing.  I don't want people to be interested in us because we have a nice house full of nice things.  Instead of joy all of my stuff has become my badge of excess.

We are choosing to spend more of our time helping those who don't have access to the excess that we so callously waste.  Our friends in Guatemala don't even have access to clean, running water and I'm worried about a third set of dishes and the color of my sheets.  I do feel guilty about how much we have because I seen real poverty.  I have seen a family who slept under a tarp on a sidewalk.  Everything that they owned could be carried.  I could say that we have worked hard for what we have but that just sounds like an excuse for my spending.  There is a difference between enjoying our life and creating a life just to impress others. 

So the most important part of this month for me is to examine why we have chosen to have these items in our lives.  For those items that we don't use, love, or treasure I need to find someone else who could actually benefit from my items.  I want to change the way that we look at our life.  We want to fill our home with items that we love and tell a story--photos of people we have met, gifts from travels in different countries and Virginia Tech memorabilia to start.  I want to spend more effort enjoying life instead of spending money. 

I want people to admire us for how we are choosing to live and the impact that we are trying to make because of what Christ has done in our lives, not because I chose well when decorating or was able to orchestrate a good show for the outside world.

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