While in the process of moving, Husband had the habit of going through the trash. Not because he kept loosing the keys to my dad’s truck (that happened after we moved), but because I kept throwing things out. I was in charge of packing and organizing and I used the opportunity to declutter a bit, mostly because I didn’t want to have to move the stuff. Our new house has far more storage than the old one (a woman definitely was involved in laying out the upstairs with all the closets!), but I still could find no reason to keep a lot of stuff. So we had a massive yard sale and didn’t even bring in the leftovers – they went directly to goodwill or the trash.
I think most of my declutter inspiration came from a few of the blogs I’ve been following, which have an emphasis on simplicity. I was tired of owning crap and simply refused to move it. I’ve come to prefer a few nice things over a lot of crappy things.
But this morning as I was reading, I found that while my motivation wasn’t spiritual, perhaps it should be. I read a prayer of David as they were beginning to garner things to build the temple (1 Chronicles 29:12-19). There’s some worthwhile talk of how we’re giving back what was God’s to begin with and how our lives are mere shadows. Good stuff, sure, but nestled in there was a shout out for his kid: “And give my son Solomon an uncluttered and focused heart so that he can obey what you command, live by your directions and counsel, and carry through with building The Temple for which I have provided.”
Give my child an uncluttered heart.
I’ve been standing on the soapbox for a while now regarding the amount of noise in our kids’ lives, that we can’t hear God speak to our hearts because there’s so much background noise going on – we’re constantly entertained, being sold to, and having our attention be diverted by media and the like (cell phones, music, computers… I know these things divert my soul away from the important stuff). But I’ve never given a thought to how stuff impacts a kid in the spiritual sense. I think David was onto something.
I’m not sure what this means for me. I’ve already decreased the number of toys out and about for the kids; I’ve left only about 1/3 of them in the toybox and the rest are in the basement to be rotated in and out later. They haven’t noticed. I’ve asked for fewer toys for their birthdays and holidays because, in all honesty, the toys aren’t for them, they’re for me. The kids find it more enjoyable to be doing whatever I’m doing – baking bread, sweeping the floor, gathering laundry (seriously! They love it! I consider it training). But when I want to escape my responsibilities into the world of facebook, blogging or (my most recent addiction) pinterest, I need something to fill their time and attention. “Get ____ from the toy box” I instruct. Sure, there’s a need for them to be able to self-direct in their play, but they’re generally doing that with their sippy cups from “their drawer” in the kitchen. Or the stones in the backyard that we’ve adopted as a sandbox of sorts.
Until this morning, and even as I write, I didn’t know the full extent that I use stuff to escape. Escape my
children, escape my responsibilities, escape what is really in my heart. Escape God and His calling. And this is what my children will grow up knowing as normal or good.
And give my child an uncluttered and focused heart….
It seems that parenting isn’t just about providing opportunities via introduction and what you say, but it’s also clearing a path. Creating space, in the house and in the heart. For everyone.