It took not 1, not 2 but 3 pods to pack up everything we owned to move it down with us in June. That’s a lot of stuff! Ryan and I had many arguments over what was coming and what was not. We discussed the reality that we had things that had not been touched or seen in years but had been stored up in boxes. My Ryan was firm in his stance that it was not going with us. I agreed with him like it was the easiest thing to say, but when it came down to doing it…well I stunk at it.
When Ryan took the job he had to start 2 weeks before the girls were out of school and 3 weeks before I was finished with my job. He went to live with my parents during this transition while the girls and I were responsible for getting the house packed up. Yikes! That’s a big undertaking. I had some of my besties help me pack. I remember them asking what some of my things were and why in the world was I taking it. There was an emotional string to each of my replies. They tried to convince me that it was time for it to go. There were a few things I agreed to but for the most part it was packed. Moving day came and all of our boxes and furniture would not fit. The 2 pods that were outside of our home were filled to the brim. You couldn’t even fit one more single item in them. The next morning we had 1 more pod delivered to gather the remaining items. This of course came with a disappointed husband. Guess what happened next, the 3rd pod still did not fit all of our stuff. How in the world? Ryan told me that whatever didn’t fit in the 3rd pod was not going…the end…period. I was determined that every single thing was going. I imposed upon my friends and their garages and they took it in. This meant that we were going to have to make another trip into Mansfield, get a U-Haul and pack it up. At this point Ryan was more than disappointed with me, he was angry, but it didn’t stop me from hanging on to it all for dear life. I had a death grip.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
This scripture was studied in my very first bible study in Boerne at our new church with new ladies. I had tried my hardest to find the same study that my girls were doing back home. I was willing to drive to another church just to do it, I wanted to try to stay connected to them in every way I could. It wasn’t working out for me. 2 different churches offered the study, but it was during the day which is when I worked. One of the ladies at my church said why don’t you do “The 7 Experiment” with us, its Wednesday night’s at 7p when the youth meet. It was perfect timing for me. The girls needed to jump into youth and get plugged in, so I said yes. I didn’t even read the back of the study to even know what I was getting myself into. The Lord did! It was part of his design. He had some work to do with me.
You can imagine my surprise at the very first meeting when we watched the intro video about the study. The Holy Spirit had moved me to tears. I’m sure the ladies thought I was one crazy gal. They had asked us to go around the room and share what we were looking for in this study and what we had hoped to gain. By the time it reached me, there was a lump in my throat and I could barely speak. I didn’t have many words. I knew that the Lord had led me there for His glory. For the next seven weeks of my life I was radically changed. Each morning I woke up to spend time with him I would weep, and I mean really weep. It was a deep and sorrowful cry out to Him. I had never been more convicted in my life and there was true repentance happening. I was turning around and running right to Him. The crazy part about all of this is that I didn’t even realize that I was wrong until I studied this. I mean, I had read Matthew 6:19-21 so many times in my life but never really grasped what it was saying to me. I read over it like that didn’t pertain to me, my heart was good. WRONG! I love this quote from Jenn Hatmaker’s “7” study,
“If we mistakenly spend the majority of this short life on earth earning more, buying bigger, possessing nicer, and chasing better, then at the end we have this: a mostly wasted life. Jesus begged us not to get trapped in materialism, because not only does it derail our purpose here, it’s stupid. Our stuff will matter for zero seconds after we die, and all it does is steal precious time, energy, and resources away from our true mission here.”
I don’t want to waste my life…especially on stuff that isn’t going to matter! I have a true mission here and it is to bring GLORY to His name and help those that don’t know Him to see Him for who He is, so they too can be with Him forever in our eternal home. What a huge honor to get to serve Him in that way. That is my real heart and always has been, but I had a case of double vision. I wanted one foot into the material world and one foot into the Heavenly world.
“There is no middle road…Grayed-down discipleship is an easier sell, but it creates pretend Christians, obsessing over Scriptures we like while conspicuously ignoring the rest. Until God asks for everything and we answer, “It’s Yours,” we don’t yet have ears to hear or eyes to see” said Jenn Hatmaker.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” There it is in black and white, it’s not possible to dabble into chasing after both. I had to choose!
I remember asking Ryan if I could sit down with him that evening when he got home. We did. I told him that I wanted to get rid of all of our stuff. All of it! You would think that he would have fought me on it and said you are crazy, but he was so excited. All of that stuff that we had accumulated over the years didn’t matter to him at all. He had bought it for me, to make me happy, which is another blog for another day, nonetheless we both agreed to LET GO of the things that were holding us back to serving GOD alone.
So the purging began! We made trips to our storage facility where we had 2 storage units! Gross! I started calculating the money that we were spending on the storage units each month just to keep our stuff that we weren’t using. It made my tummy hurt realizing how much that money could be helping others in need. How can we be His hands and feet if we are so consumed with us? Another quote that penetrated deep into my heart from Jenn says,
“We cannot carry the gospel to the poor and lowly while emulating the practices of the rich and powerful. We’ve been invited into a story that begins with humility and ends with glory.”
We began to take inventory on what we had. We posted pics on Facebook of our furniture and started selling it! It went fast! Then we went box by box and kept what we needed, trashed the broken and worn and donated the rest. We went from storing away treasures to giving them away and His peace that surpasses understanding was ushered in. Instead of feeling a loss we felt we had gained more. God’s economy is not like ours…His is better!
I invite you to find a study in your community somewhere. There is nothing like being in His word. It is transforming and brings healing for your soul.
In closing, I am sharing with you my personal prayer that I wrote at the conclusion of my week studying “Possessions.” This was my hardest week out of the seven weeks. Each of the weeks tugged at my heart in a new way, but this is where He transformed me the most. I read it often and want to remember what I learned. Remembering where He has brought us from and giving Him PRAISE for His faithfulness keeps us from returning to the way things once were.
If you struggle with this too, know you are not alone. We are fighting the good fight together. Be encouraged friends! Glory UP!
“Father, this study and intimate time with you is messing with me. For the first time every verse I read and hear convicts and moves me to tears. I have been prideful and righteous before you for too long! I am so sorry! Thank you for loving me so much to discipline me and show me. Help me to truly be transformed from the inside-out. I don’t want to go back to the old me ever. I want to serve you and you alone! I have a growing heart for the poor and needy. Help me to find a way to connect with them and love them! Help me to be so transformed that everyone everywhere can see! Help me become less and less of me and become more and more of YOU! I surrender to you! Whatever you want me to do I will do it. Help me to be brave and bold for Christ! For He paved the perfect way! Help me to carry my cross, to bare the burdens of others, to help bring healing and show them Your face every day when I encounter them. I want to be like Jesus. Father, help me!”