Today’s gospel reading is from Matthew 19:16-22:
A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.
It’s the stuff again… This man wanted to gain eternal life, but when Jesus zeroed in on the area he needed to grow in, the man couldn’t let go of his stuff. Maybe he did eventually choose to do as Jesus told him and part with his stuff to follow Jesus. Sometimes it takes time to realize what is truly important and worth clinging to.
I am getting the message lately that I need to do something about our stuff problem. There was the gospel reading today, and then there was this book I picked up from the library to read to my girls:
It is about a little girl who had one special toy first, then got overloaded with all the other toys she got, gave them all away, then just enjoyed the one special toy again, until she got some more… I think the point is that we enjoy things more when we are not overwhelmed with too much. We appreciate it more. We can find it when we would like to use it. We use our imaginations more to compensate for things we don’t have. We don’t feel so constricted and cluttered since we have more room with less stuff. Also, giving away our excess stuff is a good way to help us learn to think of others.
Unlike the girl in this book, we have way too much stuff–spilling out of the girls’ room into the living room, as you can see in the picture above. It is a disaster. I have been so stressed about all of this mess. The kids are losing everything, tearing everything, shoving things in wrong places and damaging them. Strangely, the more you have, the less it feels like you have because you can’t access the things you have or forgot you even had it. Consequently, the girls are arguing about who is going to play with which toy more too. They are developing bad habits with all the mess-flinging. I CAN’T STAND IT ANYMORE!!!!!
Ever since I was a little girl, I loved the Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room book. It is my favorite because when Mama Bear freaks out and is about to throw all the cubs’ toys away, Papa Bear steps in and together they organize and declutter the room. I just loved the last page where they are sitting in the nice clean bedroom reading, playing, and the toys are all neatly placed in labled boxes in the closet and pegs and shelves.
I feel like Mama Bear. I really am an organized person, but with 4 little kids and a husband who isn’t the most orderly person, it is a never-ending uphill battle to keep this place in some kind of order. The more stuff I can get rid of, the less stuff will find itself in the wrong place again. I am a recovering packrat–I have to get really fed up to start throwing stuff out. I have been lurching toward the inevitable declutter/organize spree. I have been very busy with back-to-school season and this blog and trying to figure out Etsy, but I am going to have to part ways with some of this stuff.
I pray that I will not be like that rich young man who went away sad instead of following Jesus all because of his stuff. I want to have the right attitude toward stuff and teach my kids the same. Decluttering, here I come! In phases…
What tips do you have for decluttering kids stuff in particular?