Friday, September 24, 2010

More Simplifying: A Change of Heart

I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little ashamed of myself. Or a lot. It just kind of depends on my mood.

Africa taught me so many things and changed me in so many ways I could never have anticipated. One of the few I did anticipate is that I would long to live more simply, especially in regards to material possessions. Thankfully, Josh feels the same way, and thus we have embarked on a hard-core self-imposed simplification.
It started before we even got back, when we gave most of our belongings away. It has continued over the summer, with a huge front porch sale, lots of sorting and organizing, and an effort to buy very little.

My heart breaks a little bit every time I find things to get rid of that I didn’t need to buy in the first place. We have 4 or 5 pairs of scissors. Three packages of cup hooks. More than a dozen skeins of yarn. Tons of wrapping paper and gift bags. Things that are certainly not enriching our life. Things bought with money that is needed so much more by others. Even when cutting us some slack because we had to buy some things we already had when our stuff was in storage, it is still too much. And, this is all after already having gotten rid of lots of stuff before we left. Sadly, I would have told you that we had significantly fewer possessions than most people then…and I probably would have been right.

But in all reality, simplifying is not as easy as just getting rid of stuff. That is simply called a “Salvation Army run,” and is a one-time deal. Simplifying requires a change of heart, and a willingness to constantly push against a society that encourages consumerism.

And it is hard.

This is the society we grew up in. We are used to that kind of lifestyle, and a year overseas doesn’t change that. We have made certain decisions to help us out, like focusing on helping others by giving away, and not having a TV with which to receive more brainwashing. Seriously, brainwashing is really not an exaggeration: you do not “need” a certain kind of shampoo or makeup or restaurant food, and don’t even get me started on “must-see” TV… ugh. In order for this change to take root in our heart, it will take time and God’s help. I am trying to be patient, and am trying to remember it is a process and will not happen overnight. I am trying to take it one scissor, one cup hook, one prayer at a time.


Anonymous said...

Long time lurker, de-lurking here! I enjoy your blog and find it encouraging as we are also on a journey where we feel called to simplify! You sharing your struggles has been an encouragement to me!

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