Stuff and Other Things

Have you ever watched people continue to accumulate more and more “stuff?” You know – stuff they don’t need, shouldn’t have, will never use, didn’t really want? Stuff! More stuff! And then it just sits and seldom gets used, admired, looked at, read, turned on. Wait a few years and it becomes the basis for a garage sale when people come and buy what you should have never owned at a greatly reduced price and the cycle often begins again.

Makes you wonder why people buy all this stuff in the first place. A lack of inner contentment? A need to surround oneself with stuff so that you look and feel successful? An attempt to impress others you hang out with? Maybe it is strictly the consumerism of the society and we are being sucked into it – but why? We need to ask ourselves this question. Why all this stuff?

In my experienced – limited though it may be – I have discovered that most often the people with less are happier than those who have more. Those who have just what they need to live life are almost always happier than those who are constantly needing to purchase more and more and more stuff. Overseas I see a steady rise in consumer spending and believers wanting to be more and more like those who live in the G8 nations … and so they are purchasing stuff and filling their lives with stuff and accumulating stuff. Sad! It is not making them happier or more content. It seems to simply breed discontent in everyone who gets caught in the trap.

I love what humorist Lily Tomlin said, “If I had known what it would be like to have it all, I might have settled for less.” I believe that is true of many who have it all or even wish that they had it all. That may be a dawning truth in your life right now. I know it is in mine.

I am watching what is happening in Eastern Europe as they enter into our way of life – exiting from Communism into consumerism. I see less contentment and little happiness. I see a lot of striving and envy. And, slowly but surely the banks are opening up branches for the regular people and credit cards are being advertised and offered. Credit will, no doubt, become a way of life as it is in North America and they will be able to accumulate more stuff!

In my life I am buying less and less. I have to admit that I have always hated to go shopping and can think of little in my life that is more boring. However, regardless, I am simply buying less and less. How many unread books do I need? How many pairs of pants can you wear in a week or at one time? How many Bibles do you need to own – after all, most never get read. Even when it comes to food items, I have found myself cutting back on the extras and becoming more basic in what we buy and eat – and also healthier as a result.

I was never an accumulator but I have managed to accumulate much. And, so I have begun to give things away. New things. Unused things. Not needed and needed things. And as I do it seems like there is a lightness in the spiritual realm that was not there before – like a spirit of consumerism has let go and gone. Call it what you want something has changed – left, lifted, opened up – and spiritually I am more alive and settled and content than ever before. I have lots of people overseas who can use what I no longer want to keep and I am spreading it out among many and very slowly so as not to feed this human desire to accumulate stuff.

On last comment … better to do this now than to leave the sorting and tossing to others after you are dead. Doing it now means you get to determine what goes where and who receives what blessing. Later, after you are dead, those sorting through your treasures will most likely see more trash than you do and toss it or sell it in a garage sale. I have seen it happen many too many times.

So, divest and give away what you don’t need or use – and expect nothing in return except to feel good about it and to then be able to walk with a lighter load. I agree with Lily Tomlin.

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