A few pieces of silverware, a handful of plates, a futon, a flat screen, a few TV trays and an apartment only big enough to fit 3 grown men and a couple of large boxes of pizza. You have it all—and you have freedom!
That’s how it starts.
But as the years roll by, the stuff piles up. A TV in every room, dishes for every occasion, a car for every season. And it’s still not enough.
We want more and more and more.
But let’s not pretend this is just America’s problem. Or just a problem for the rich. It’s entirely possible to own basically nothing and be overcome with the lust of more.
We aren’t born wanting more. When my children were born, they wanted the basics – milk, sleep and love.
Today, at ages two, four and five things are different. I avoid Toys R’ Us like a plague and even a walk through Target is something close to a nightmare.
How did this happen? How did we go from wanting true needs to falling into the trap that our wants are necessities?
We have filled the space that says “Christ is enough” with “more stuff is better.” There are spaces that aren’t meant to be filled by things of this world.
So, let’s check our hearts.
1. Know your role.
How often does “stuff” feel like yours? When you own your stuff, you must take care of it. All of it. And rarely can someone else use it, lest they handle your stuff recklessly. Do you see what’s going on here? When we own our stuff, we make ourselves gods over it. The truth is, everything we have is a gift from the Lord. When we treat ourselves as the temporary guardian, we are much less attached to the things of this world.
The truth is, everything we have is a gift from the Lord. Good stewardship is not about preserving. It’s about sharing. You’re not the owner of your stuff. When you realize this, your attachment to it will diminish.
2. Learn to go without.
Is Christ enough to fill the void when your “stuff” is gone? Maybe you should try giving stuff away. And don’t do so with the intention of adding more. Do so with the intention of adding more good. How might less stuff open up more space for what matters? Family? Friends? Serving others?
3. Walk in someone else’s shoes.
How often do you get so wrapped up in your life that you forget about your neighbor? There are many days that our choices may be different if we took the time to consider someone else. It’s a lot easier to drop a few hundred on a pair of shoes or a new outfit when we aren’t looking into the eyes of a single mom struggling to buy her children school uniforms.
What if we saw our abundance as an opportunity to improve the life of someone else rather than an opportunity to buy another pair of shoes or a larger house?
4. Identify excess.
Have you ever pinpointed what’s extra in your life? If you do this with any intentional, the exercise will be painful. But it will also be transformative.
What is excess? I consider anything I haven’t used or worn in six months to be excess. Almost everything that rests in a storage shed is excess. Ninety percent of the toys in my kids’ closets are excess (they spend more time playing with kid’s meal toy than the expensive ones they receive from Santa Claus).
How might your life be different if you pushed back against the longing for more?
Grace and peace, friends.