40 for 40 this Lent

Gratitude Day 226

Fri., Mar. 8, 2019

Acts 2:46 – Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity.

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I was so proud of myself. I felt pretty good about getting rid of so many things. And then I realized the invisible crown I’d put on my head needed to come off. And quick.

Here’s the deal. A couple weeks ago, I felt proud of myself. We had just returned from vacation. While we were gone, the last of our hardwood floors were sanded and sealed. As I went about getting rid of the leftover dust from the floor sanding, I decided to do a little early spring cleaning. I went through our closets, drawers and cabinets. I sorted out things to get rid of. I didn’t completely follow the Marie Kondo method of choosing what to keep and what to eliminate as I haven’t read her book. Based on what a friend told me, I did think about what items bring me joy and got rid of those that do not. I loaded up all the “get rid” items into the back of my SUV and WOW! The back was nearly full! I hauled it right to our local thrift shop, dropped it off and placed that invisible crown on top of my head. I had done good!! I deserved a pat-on-the-back. I might have even treated myself to ice cream on the way home.

One concept I have been exploring is simplicity. Simplicity can mean a variety of things to different people. Creating simplicity is something I’ve been working on this for a while. I have been trying to really reduce the amount of “stuff” in our house. Managing all of our “stuff” takes time. While I want to surround myself with things that make me happy and bring me joy, I also want to be intentional about how much stuff I have. I have concluded that less is more; the less I have, the more time I have to focus on other things. I have tried to carefully choose the things that I when decorating, making sure that I really like the things I have out. If I don’t really, really like it or it doesn’t bring joy to my life, then it’s time to let go and give it away. Let someone else find joy in this item that isn’t doing it for me anymore.

Naturally, there are challenges with this. How much less is more? Some women have limited their wardrobe to 30 items. I know that I’m not ready for this. But I can get rid of items that I no longer love. Honestly, I have also kept a few things I love … but don’t really fit right now. I keep thinking they will soon.

Another challenge with simplifying? What do to with all of those sentimental things. Maybe it’s something given to me. Or something from my parents. Items from an earlier time that speaks to something I accomplished or happened. One woman only lets her family have one tub of sentimental items. Wow. I wouldn’t be able to live in her house. I still have a couple boxes of things from my Mom to sort through yet. Why haven’t I finished this job? Because the items that remain are the ones that will require the difficult choices. I can’t keep everything … so I avoid making choices and move the boxes around as we continue to remodel our house. (I’m waiting for Hubby Rick to threaten to put these boxes in the garbage like he did a year ago. THEN I would make some progress.)

Sometimes, we keep things out of habit. Recently, I helped a friend go through things at her Mom’s house. We both knew it was much easier for us to sort through the papers, documents and information than it would be for her Mom. We were keenly aware that my friend’s Mom may experience grief when she realizes what we eliminated, even though she knew in advance that we were tackling her stuff. Things can become security blankets.

Yet, simplicity leads to gratitude. When we have less, then we appreciate what we have. We pick and keep the things that we really, really love. We focus our time and attention less on possessions and more towards the things that are more meaningful.

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Just when I was pleased with myself and my donations, I realized there is more purging to be done. It’s time to keep simplifying and only keep things that I really love and enjoy.

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This is how I ended up with a 40 for 40 This Lent. During the 40 days of Lent, I will add one more thing to this box. I’m keeping at letting go, getting rid of and eliminating stuff from my house. At the end of Lent, I’ll take this box to the local thrift shop, drop it off and walk away from another 40 items that I know someone else will love. This time, I’ll also leave the invisible crown at the thrift shop.

 

Why a 40 for 40 This Lent? It is a way I can help those who don’t have what they need. It also helps me continue to purge, eliminate and downsize towards more simplicity. It gives me space to spend less time and energy on what I want or need and more on my relationship with God and those around me.

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Will I not purchase anything new during Lent? I’m going to try … but I also know there maybe things we’ll need as we continue to remodel our upstairs. When I do buy something, I pray that I will think about these items with a sense of simplicity and function.

So, will you join me on this 40 for 40 This Lent journey? I know it’s a couple days into Lent. But you can quickly catch up. Find a box or tub or old laundry basket. Keep adding something to it every day. Feel the joy and pleasure of knowing that these items will eventually bring joy to someone else’s heart. And may just a little more simplicity in your life.

For encouragement to seek and implement simplicity in my life, I am grateful.

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Holy God – it’s so easy to accumulate and over consume and over need in our lives. As we seek simplicity this Lent, may we be encouraged to let go of things that can be a blessing to others. And in the process, find joy in having just a little less “stuff” in our lives. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

4 Replies to “40 for 40 this Lent”

    1. Exactly!! One reason I’m trying to be more thoughtful about how I utilize “stuff” in my house. So, do an 80 for Lent — 40 for you and 40 for Bob!! Blessings – Dianne

  1. Very interesting and inviting post. Jim & I have been trying to purge but like you say not as easy as you think. We are redoing our sunroom and making sure I really like the new. Verna’s daughter Jill bought a cottage and she is coming to look over and hopefully she will take a lot. Thanks for the reminder. God bless

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