This is a guest post by Erica who is on a journey of #NoClutterNovember. You can read about her daily journey here about how she is simplifying her life. She certainly is an inspiration to me!
The Stuff Anxiety is Made of
“A state of well-being occurs when you let go, accept, become vulnerable, and have gratitude.” (The Mommy Happiness Project).
2 words, 2 simple words.
I am currently on a journey of “letting go.”
The journey that could have been beneficial had I attempted it years earlier…and yet a journey which would have had a much higher potential for failure those years ago, simply because, until now, I just wasn’t ready.
At the beginning of 2014, I chose “my word.” I wanted my theme for the year to encompass my desire to be less chaotic, better focused, less anxious, and more organized…
what was my word?! …”SIMPLIFY”
I have a habit of having a million awesome intentions with little follow-through.
It’s the perfect formula for anxiety…and my anxiety exhibited itself in “stuff.”
…Having “stuff”…Accumulating “stuff” …Organizing “stuff” …Saving “stuff” …Loving “stuff.”
At some point, I came to believe that “stuff” was my friend, not realizing that in actuality, I was self-medicating with a prescription that was burying me rather than offering a cure. I looked around and discovered that this “stuff” that was supposed to be comforting me and offering me security, had become a burden I just couldn’t carry anymore. …And that’s when I felt the Lord embrace me with, “Finally, you are ready. Hand it all over to me. Trust Me to provide what you need….and Be Free!”
And so here I am….
22 days into #theminimalistproject.
Knowing that I had a goal for the year of “simplifying” my life and my home, my friend and Bible-study partner approached me on October 30th to ask me to join her on a month-long journey of “purging” excess from our households. I was very non-committal in agreeing to her proposal, so when she added that we would be posting pictures of our items on social media for accountability, I became very skeptical.
How could I possibly put myself out there…or worse yet, how could I reveal “my stuff” (literally & figuratively) to everyone?!
Honestly…it was the accountability of pulling away the curtain and the mask that was key in getting me to Day 22!
There is something so vulnerable about bringing what you are most ashamed of into the light (and potentially under the microscope). As if releasing “stuff” that I was inclined to hold onto wasn’t hard enough, I was now giving the public an open door to see my weaknesses that I wanted to keep packed away for my own private shame.
All the stuff I wanted to keep “just in case,” or because “it was a great deal,” or because “I never know when I’ll need it,” or because “I couldn’t pass it up” all became a lot less appealing when I had to snap a picture of it, admitting that it was something I was “treasuring”… when in reality it was simply “disposable.”
And so what began as a “letting go of stuff” soon transformed into letting go of the underlying fears that caused me to hold on to each of those insignificant items. Each day of my #NoClutterNovember journey got a little easier and a little more exciting, as I began to see the freedom that went along with processing the feelings and rationale of each item through an open blog with the world. (And it didn’t hurt that my house started to get a lot more organized in the process!)
22 days after starting the process, I can say that I am more free than I was a month ago! While I will confess that old habits die hard and this process will have to continue long after the month of November, it is with the Lord’s stregth & faithfulness that I have a renewed sense of purpose. I have learned to have a more open hand with “stuff,” not holding on or holding back, but “letting it go” and seeing where it takes me….And that gives me a gratitude that makes all the “stuff” seem a lot less significant.
“A state of well-being occurs when you let go, accept, become vulnerable, and have gratitude.” (The Mommy Happiness Project)
Determining what You need to let go, ask yourself the following questions:
-Have I used it in the last few months?
-Could someone else get better use out of it?
-Do I have a place for it?
-Do I “need” it?
-Is it solving a problem?
-Is it creating a problem?
-Is it adding stress to my life?
-Am I saving it for an unknown time?
-Is it affecting my relationships?
1. Things you keep should have a PLACE and a PURPOSE.
2. RELATIONSHIPS with PEOPLE are always more important than STUFF.
3. If something is SPECIAL enough to keep, you should HONOR it by taking care of it.
4. STUFF is just STUFF, and you can’t take STUFF with you in the end.