A Sorta Grief & Contentment

Although she’s still mainstream, I feel fewer people are talking about Marie Kondo right now. Maybe it’s because New Year’s Resolutions have fallen pretty far to the wayside or maybe it’s because everyone’s already watched her new Netflix series. Still, so many people seem to be all heart eye emoji about her methods.

Well, I took the plunge a few weeks ago and watched the first episode.

Setting aside her religious influences, I didn’t like the show.

If it works for you, awesome-sauce!

Closet
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

However, I felt it was more “motivational” rather than instructional. Which, if motivation is what you’re looking for then alrighty. No judgement from me.

I’m probably inclined to dislike the show because I’m not a hoarder/collector/keeper/whatever.

In fact, every few years, I purge my house of extra linens, medicine bottles, blankets, kitchen stuff, and basement build-up. I even go through my “memory” boxes and get rid of anything I can no longer remember.

I guess this technically makes me a keeper & purger but whatever. You get the gist. 

Organized
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I’ve always been proud (not arrogant, just happy) of the fact that I’m not a person who keeps everything. I’ve always been happy with fewer items — or at least what I thought was fewer. 

Today is the first day when we are not serving at a church. After almost 10 years, Jay left his staff position, we moved into an apartment, and we’ve begun preparing for the next steps that God has for us. 

However, these next steps require that we have less stuff. 

For the past two months, I’ve been sorting, organizing, and purging. When I ran out of space in the boxes I allotted myself, I purged again. And again. And again. 

Our first move (the one into an apartment) took us from four bedrooms to two. Our next move will take us over an ocean. Less is imperative because what we don’t ship, we have to store, and what we store, we have to pay for. 

I had taken pride in my less. 

Until my less was still too much. 

Moving
Image by skeeze from Pixabay

…be content with what you have… Hebrews 13: 5

And I was. I would look around and see projects in the works. Items that were special finds. I could even see things like Grandma’s china that would decorate a home that was still only a place in my mind. 

I was happy with what I had and enjoyed to imagine the places they might sit someday. 

But I had made a terrible mistake. 

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6: 19-21

The first purge was easy. So was the second. But by round three, four, and five, I was feeling something different. At first, I couldn’t place the feeling. 

Eventually, I realized that I was feeling grief. 

I don’t want to minimize anyone’s strong grief. If you feel that I am, I’m sorry. However, I was feeling a sort of grief. I was grieving lost dreams, hopes, and a future that my imagine had formulated. 

Life or Spiritual Warfare?
Image by 1388843 from Pixabay

Somehow the visions of my future included that home decor item, those books, and piece of furniture. It included toys that were purchased for an adoption that never came. It included items from my past that I hope to display some day. It included carefully curated pieces of artwork. I had store up for myself things for my time here on earth. And now it was costing me peace. 

When we talk about following Jesus, often we think of giving up our favorite restaurant or the environment we’re familiar with. We have a tendency to talk about giving up our “normal” way of eating, shopping, and doing life.

While all that is scary enough, we often don’t talk about the exchange of so many other things. Particularly the lost hopes, dreams, and plans. 

We all have a vision of our future life. Mine included children, a home nearer to my parents and sisters, and Biblical quality miracles. 

Formulating Plans

The problem with my vision, they don’t necessarily go together. 

Maybe you see the dead coming back to life and great outpourings of the Holy Spirit before walking back into your carefully curated home and adorable family, but that doesn’t seem to be God’s next plan for my life. 

Honestly, it’s been a really hard pill to swallow. 

A long time ago, I told God that I wanted to see Him as He claims to be in Bible no matter what the cost. 

But now that it’s time to start paying the cost, I’m struggling. I’m paying in installments but I’m paying … and I’m struggling … but I’m paying. 

If you’re curious about how I’m dealing with this, here’s three things that are helping me cope. I can’t say that everything is sunshine, daisies, and unicorns but this is certainly helping. 

  1. Focus on Jesus

    Focus
    Image by StockSnap from Pixabay
    This should go without saying but I have to say it because I find that I have to tell myself to do it. The Jesus that pop culture has formulated is not the Jesus of the Bible. When I feel discouraged, I have to go back to the miracles, the teachings, and the awesome power that isn’t found in pop culture. 
  2. Take a break

    Rest
    Image by Jess Foami from Pixabay
    Rest is a God-given gift. It’s one I often forget to accept but I find I’m much more willing to pay the cost when I’m not so tired. 
  3. Re-define contentment

    Contentment
    Image by congerdesign from Pixabay
    I wasn’t lying when I said I was content. But I was also comfortable. I’m learning to pray that I feel more like Paul – “… for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Phil 4: 11) The amount of stuff that I have may have diminished but I’m cherishing my fewer things more dearly. I know the phrase, “contentment can only be found in God” and while that’s true, it’s an empty platitude unless I learn to be more aware of the gifts He’s given me. 

I’m still in process. I’m still learning, growing, and letting go of my own plans, dreams, and visions. It’s not always easy but I’m trusting that it’ll all be worth it. 

Sorta Grief & A Lesson in Contentment

 

 

 

 


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