Today my pastor preached about living abundantly, freely giving of ourselves and our resources, living with open hands. If we live with open hands, we are open to giving as well as receiving. If our hands are closed, we take and take and take and keep our fists wrapped around our things. Open your hands, he said. Give and receive freely.
And with that, I decided to start purging my belongings.
It’s an attempt to simplify, to live happily with less. The things that truly bring me joy – my books, my running shoes, my kitchen supplies – are the things I should cherish. The things that suck my time – my DVDs, my clothes that I never wear – should be pared down to the few that truly make me happy and purged of the ones that draw me away from a simple, thankful life.
Today was step one. I bought a pack of jewel CD cases on the way home from church so I had everything I needed to get started. I went through my CD wallet and shelf of DVDs, pulling out everything that I rarely watched or didn’t enjoy or – get this – had never watched. I actually owned DVDs that I had never even seen! What waste!
As I went through, I thought, do I really enjoy this? Do I watch it? Do I like the story or is it merely a distraction? If it doesn’t bring me joy, all it’s doing is distracting me from the things that do, from things that would better serve God. So why should I keep it?
The movies I kept were favorites that I watched regularly, enjoyed, found value in. They’re kept as treats, occasional indulgences in something I really like. My smaller collection has a pleasant variety to it, but it also represents me better. I can’t explain it, but… that’s what it feels like.
I think I could (and will) go through my collection again in a few months and get rid of even more, but I wound up culling 26 movies and six TV seasons! I think that’s a good start!
I’m making a little list in my head of other places where I can simplify. Next up: my closet! It’ll be a challenge, but it will bring me closer to God.
Where have you simplified? More challenging: where should you simplify?