Monday, June 4, 2007

Newness and Stuff

It has been a busy week, and I've had a couple of things on my mind...turning them over, always striving to understand myself better and then walk in that understanding.

I have many interests, and I love newness. So, I get a new thing going, & after a while, when the magic of the new is gone, it gets set aside. Addedly, there is the issue of just how much energy should even be spent on acquiring new stuff.

As far as finishing things, I'm working to change this. I have chosen one large project & am driving myself like a horse in its bridle to complete it. Saturday, I was bucking, my head yanking those straps from side to side, trying to escape what felt like iron bands, and I realized my flesh wanted newness, something to fill the emptiness, remove the boredom, escape the pure discipline of finishing a task. Do you ever struggle with something, and just plead for God to take it from you, deliver you from the struggle? From my experience, it seems He rarely does. It must be that the struggle is what builds me; it drives me to HIM, makes me realize my utter dependence on HIM, my emptiness without HIM.

I am trying to simplify life, spend less on new things, not constantly introduce myself to new educational tools & ideas, new decorating ideas, new recipes or landscaping designs,...the list could go on for a while.

We talked yesterday in Sunday school about the deceitfulness of riches. One of the guys paraphrased it "the deceitfulness of stuff." I've lived long enough to know that stuff doesn't satisfy my longing for fulfillment. I know new stuff isn't new for long. I'm tempted to think it would be easier if we could just sell or give away everything and move to a 3rd world country to do our "mission" there. (Of course, I wouldn't do that without knowing I was supposed to, and I do understand that even though that might solve this issue in this particular context, there would be other issues to work through. I know the grass is not greener on the other side in the biggest sense of those words.) However, once you set up home in this wealthy nation, no matter how much you send to missionaries and all the different charity groups, no matter how much time you give to others and to valuable causes, there is this issue that is ever before you; how much should be spent on stuff: things to "finish" the house, improve our property value, decorate the house, make our work easier with tools and machines, clothe ourselves, entertain us, pamper us?

As far as I can tell, it's not easily answered in black and white. I have to maintain my trust in Jesus, and if I make a decision that hurts that, I know I need to change. I don't give up, I keep a tender conscience about these issues, and I strive to understand what would please HIM. Ultimately, I want to be a vessel used up for HIM, not myself. I don't want the "deceitfulness of stuff" to enamor me and take me away from HIM. I want to be characterized as someone who completes the task, sticks to it, finishes the race. I'm keenly aware that I need HIS help.


  1. Very good agree and want to also have this awareness &sensitivity in my decisions (i can identify w/the initial excitement and then maybe not "finishing")And there are sooo many voices pushing toward materialism..I'm learning that even "bargain shopping" can get out of bounds if not careful. Glad you posted!

  2. thanks for sharing! this is true and is challenging to me! love ya!

  3. Thanks, girls, for your comments. Sometimes I feel so alone in this struggle. Maybe people just deal with it silently.

  4. I think about these things a lot... but you're right, it's not something we talk about much. I dunno. Are we afraid we'll be judged or something? Anyway, I appreciate your post!

  5. Laura;

    I enjoyed this post as well. Sunday School was so good and thought provoking. Before you sell all and start looking for Curt a job at McDonalds let me warn you that, even when means keep you from being able to acquire much stuff, you still can get caught in the "I want some stuff" trap. Occassionally, I have to sit down and think about what it is I value to help keep my "wandering brain" from heading down the Stuff road. You are not alone Sister.

  6. As you can tell, this is a blog that resonates with so many people! Your thoughts were very honest, and reflect so many of those feelings that I have down inside. It's always so eye-opening when you find that no matter what stage of life you're in, our human struggles are so similar. I remember being in your lovely home after Camp several years ago. Beautiful.....and to think you have the same thoughts that I do about my 'stuff' is so telling. I think you make a good point of wondering at what time will we feel 'it's enough; it's finished', etc.

    Good thoughts! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Ladies,
    I really appreciate your honest and open comments. It encourages me to keep walkin' the walk, fightin' the fight, choosin' the right. Thanks so much for the encouragement.

  8. Very good post Laura! I know that even after I sold most of my things and moved to Colombia, then we needed to set up our home again, one wants to be careful to not just buy for buying! I too want to be exactly what God wants me to be in all areas of my life.

    Take care,
    Love, Heather =)

  9. Thanks for this post. It makes me think of VeggieTale's "Stuffmart".
    You are so right about "this wealthy nation". My husband is always quick to remind me that no matter how poor we seem in our "neck of the woods" when compared with the rest of the world's population we are wealthy.

  10. You're not alone in this struggle, Friend!! As you mentioned after church this evening, it's probably universal.

    As far as wanting "stuff", it makes me think of the quote that says we all have a "God-sized" hole in our hearts that can only be filled by HIM!!