Well, it’s post-Christmas and it’s time to find new homes for all those new Christmas presents that our kids received. Try as we might, it is impossible not to accumulate stuff. I really do try to live a more spartan existence than most Americans simply because I don’t want to repack all my junk after a few years. Moving a lot keeps you clean. I hate clutter.
I’ve noticed in talking to other missionaries that our experience is not unique. When the Lord was leading us into missions, the first indication that some kind of change was on the horizon was this strange “Urge to Purge”. We suddenly started feeling like our possessions were bogging us down. It was like having rocks in your pocket when you’re trying to fly. Stuff was holding us down.
So I started giving stuff away… and it felt really good. The more I gave my things away, the lighter I felt. I was disconnecting myself from the things of this world. I have always been a pretty practical girl, but now I became militant about practicality. If something did not have a purpose, it had to go.
We had a big garage sale. Turning your house inside out is a useful activity. It forces you to confront the back of your closets. For example, I didn’t think I had very many baskets but in emptying the closet I counted 20 baskets that had collected there- relics of gifts that people had given us. TWENTY!! Clearly I had lost track of my possessions a long time ago and didn’t even realize it.
This Urge to Purge is a common experience for soon-to-be missionaries. I think it’s a survival mechanism that the Lord activates in us as He prepares us to be stripped of everything, starting with our possessions. But the crazy thing is that it’s an amazing feeling! Being freed from your STUFF is an experience that I would like to GIFT to everyone. But it’s hard to convince people to let go. Just because you have stuff doesn’t mean you are the owner of stuff- stuff can own YOU!
So now the work begins of finding space for the new Barbies and books that came home with us. It’s a good chance to clean out the old things that the kids haven’t played much with this year. I will be looking for a few sweet kids who would like to receive some gently used toys, and we will make our joy complete through giving.