Sunday, October 3, 2010

Purging

I spent the afternoon going through my clothes.  We bought a new dresser a few weeks ago, a single, tall dresser which is meant to take the place of the two long ones we've had for years. Beve and I have quite a small room in this house, actually the smallest room of any room we've ever shared.  When we were first contemplating moving here, Beve pulled out a tape-measure and marked off in the bedroom of our former home, exactly how small this room was, and convinced me it would work. When my shins are bruised from our bed, I'm still not so sure. 

So we're finally downsizing our dresser, going up rather than out, and I made a concentrated effort to pare down my clothes. I mean, I was completely ruthless.  My friend, M, who likes to say, "Less is more," would be so proud of me today, as I filled three giant garbage bags with clothes for Good Will.  Nice clothes, too. Really.  Not a stain among them.  Some with their Nordstrom tags still on them.

It hit me that I have had a whole lot of chaff among my clothes.  Why is it that I need seven long-sleeved shirts all in some shade of orange?  You'd think it was my favorite color or something.  And how many short-sleeved black t-shirts does a person actually need?  I won't tell you how many I gave away.  I kept two.  I'm actually horrified with the redundancy I found in my closet.  For a person who rarely dresses in anything but pjs, there's no need for the blazers I've been holding on to or all those khaki pants. And the copious sweaters that are too hot for me these days--don't wear them, don't need them.  The end.

Yep, it felt so good to get rid of all that excess.  I can't tell you. I didn't even know I had all that stuff.  I mean, I wouldn't call myself a pack-rat when it comes to clothing.  Books, yes, but not clothes.  However, I learned a thing or two today.  And was reminded of some fundamental spiritual truths.

None of the clothing I own is of itself bad or wrong. But allowing it to build up and collect without purpose became a problem.  And I think this is the way things can become sin.  Something that is morally neutral can become sin simply by our holding onto it, allowing it to build up, collect and overrun our lives.  Overwhelm our spiritual space, so to speak.

It's what I do with what I have that is sin.  Wanting more, yes, but even just holding on.  Therefore, letting go, releasing my things is a step toward God.  Even good things, distorted, can cause a person to sin.  So this afternoon was a very good exercise for me.  I needed to let go of some of those things.  Some articles of clothing were easy to get rid of, but others I've held on to for sentimental reasons, without ever having worn.  Like the giraffe t-shirt that belonged to Beve's mother.  I finally sent that packing today.  There has really been no earthly reason to keep it.  Just to remember her, I guess.  Though now that I'm writing about it, I want to rush out to my car and dig it out of the bag.  Sigh.

But the most astonishing thing also happened as I was emptying my dresser.  I found an old wallet.  And inside, $100.00.  Now I've found $5.00 before, maybe even $20.00, but never 100.00.  And I can't remember when I put it there.  But you know what I was saying about how even good things can cause a person to sin?  When I found it, I thought, "wow, I can spend this on whatever I want, and no one has to know.  I don't even have to tell Beve."  Yep, I actually thought that for a moment.  That's what's in me.  A good thing found but an instinct to do wrong.

As soon as Beve got home, I told him about the money.  If I hadn't had that thought, I might have kept it as a means to buy him a Christmas gift or something.  But the instance it became a wrong thought, I couldn't do other than tell him.  That's Holy Spirit working, thank God.

I'm a whole lot lighter this evening, and a whole lot richer.  And I'm not talking about that 100.00.

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