I ran across a quote the other day that I immediately wrote down to think about...
Less is preferable to more, and doing without is better than accumulating too much.
When I read this I had one of those "lightbulb moments" that you see in the cartoons. I thought of my favorite little hardcover journal that I had found a number of years ago. I carried it everywhere - it was my journal, contained my lists, and housed my thoughts from my morning Bible study. I loved it. As I began to fill it up I thought, "I need to be sure to pick up another one soon", so I went to the local store only to find that they didn't carry them anymore. I soon found one, but it was more expensive than the first notebook, and apparently this set off a "scarcity response" in my mind. I had just started this new journal when I started to think, "You'd better get another one soon. What if they sell out??" Pretty soon I saw one on clearance and picked it up and tucked it away. Then I found another on sale -- and another -- and another until I had a stack of three or four of them in my closet "for when I needed them".
The thought of doing without if I ran out never once crossed my mind except as something to be avoided.
I look around and see that this attitude is displayed in so many areas of my life. I have a box of fabric "just in case" I want to make a quilt, more than a lifetime's worth of cross stitch patterns, notebooks of all shapes and sizes, a large handful of beautiful bags and wallets, extras of everything imaginable, six or eight pairs of shoes, four coats, food in my cupboards and freezer, clothes in my closet, and yet I still act like I don't have "enough". Somewhere deep within me I have rejected the thought of doing without as a viable option.
Here's my conversation with myself...
How about I only keep enough fabric for one or two projects and give the rest away?
"But when I am done with those two projects I would be out of fabric and I wouldn't be able to make anything else!"
You could buy what you needed when you needed it.
"But what if I didn't have any money then?"
You would have to trust the Lord to provide.
"But I have all this fabric I could use and God already provided it.
It would be a waste to get rid of it. "
So are you using it like you should right now?
Could you bless someone else with it who would put it to good use?
"Maybe - only I don't know who..."
Can you trust God that He will provide for you when you need it? Or are you willing to do without if He doesn't see fit to give it to you?
At that point I sulk off mumbling and spluttering because, honestly, I don't like the idea of doing without. It is much more comfortable when my needs are met before they become a need, rather than having to trust God when I am hungry or truly needy.
Another quote comes to mind that I know I've shared before...
If I have enough for the project I am working on, I have enough.
I am currently working on a large cross stitch project that will probably take me another 2 years to complete. I have a hoop, a needle, thread, and scissors, as well as a pencil, my pattern, and a clipboard to hold the pattern. I have a magnet for my needle and a little thread catcher for my thread ends. I even have a box for my needles and scissors when they aren't in use. I have enough, so why am I not willing to stop there? When is "enough" truly enough??
I think that "decluttering" for me needs to take on a new dimension. Not just getting rid of things that don't "spark joy", but learning to not love the things that I have, as well. To hold them lightly and with thanksgiving, but not so tightly that I'm not willing to occasionally do without. To not be so intent on meeting my own needs before they are needs that I am never able to witness God's provision in my life. To be willing to even make myself needy in order to share with another.
I think contentment is something that we can always grow in, so I'd love to hear how you are doing and things that have helped you. Feel free to share in the comments. Your answers and ideas might be just the thing God uses to encourage someone else!!