Today I spent the day (after my 5 hour trip to take Mia to swim practice) taking down my Christmas tree and putting away my kids new toys/presents. During the process I placed a laundry basket in the kitchen and started placing items in it for donation. As the day went on and the basket filled up,I not only decided what I was going to do with it, but learned several things about myself too!
Every time I passed that basket I thought about how much stuff we have as a family. Anyone who knows me, knows I used to save everything. I had bins and bins full of baby clothes. I never gave away a thing. Then the summer before I got pregnant with Luna, I gave it all away. It wasn’t easy (that is a story for another time) but that is when God started working on my heart and my attachment to my possessions.
My possessions have always filled a void for me. Buying us stuff was how my dad showed his affection, and that love language carried over when I had Mia. As I passed the basket filled with clothes, blankets, games and other items I realized that a lot of my attachment to things and buying things is still there. There is some kind of satisfaction I get from getting a good sale or shopping with my mom. Although I have learned to give away more, I still have trouble with shopping as a form of therapy when things are going bad.
As I went back into Mia’s room to continue to organize I looked around at the monster I had created. Mia is a mini hoarder. Parting with things is very hard for her. What have I done? What kind of parent allows their child to have so many nick knacks set up around the room. As we sorted through things to put in the donation bucket, I kept thinking of the following verse:
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Ouch that stings a bit. Clearly my treasure is a reflection of my heart and at this moment to be honest I am not that proud.
I looked at the bin of various items knowing we should have filled up three. When I walked in the laundry room, where a whole other type of hoarding takes place, I saw the skate box I had put for sale on the Galax yard sale page, along with the left handed putter we had accidentally bought Kendal. There God was plainly saying to me , For where your treasure is there is your heart. I had listed the box for sale for $10. Mia and I came up with the price together. We have given away so many of Mia’s items, why did we feel the need to sell this one? To be honest I have no idea but right at that moment I realized that the box was about more than $10. If I really needed another $10 I could just not get Starbucks the next two mornings when I took Mia to swim. The problem was not that I couldn’t sell my stuff, the problem is what I chose to use my money on. My problem is what I do with my money to honor God. Not that I have so much stuff and I can’t sell it. I picked that box right up and put it in the donation pile. I was kidding myself if I thought selling things on Facebook was going to help me pay off debt and then in return be able to give more. No the reality was I needed to use my money to honor God first. Not as an after thought.So here was this basket of stuff. That left handed putter a reminder of wasted money, we should have returned it, got our money back, instead it sat in the garage for two years. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. I looked at that bin and thought about money and how much control it has over my life. The following verse came to mind. You can not serve both God and money. Ouch that hurt too! As I stared at the basket I figured out just what to do with it for my act of kindness for the day. I was going to donate it to Goodwill. Now I realize there are plenty of organizations and churches in our community who we can donate to and I try to donate to as many as I can, and I also realize Goodwill has some controversy surrounding it, but I was donating to them for a very specific reason and my act of kindness for day one.
We currently have a Goodwill worker named Linda at my school. She is always trying to share her food with me, she must feel bad for me since I almost always eat on the go. Over the years we have had several Goodwill workers at our school, each bringing with them something unique. Linda has had a rough year with sickness and death throughout her family but it never stops her from offering me a Hot Pocket or some of her popcorn. I looked at that bin of stuff and knew I had to donate to Goodwill, in Linda’s honor. So I wrote a note to Goodwill and a Thank you note to Linda telling them both about the purpose of my donation. These notes are my act of kindness. A letter to Goodwill telling them how much I appreciate our Goodwill worker and the program. A note to Linda telling her about the donation and my apprecation for her service.
When I took the items to Goodwill this evening the manager just happened to be working the drop off. I handed her the note and asked her to read it and pass it on to the right person. She wrote down Linda’s name and thanked me.
Little did I know that today’s act of kindness would take me on this journey. I learned there are always opportunities to be kind but also to learn. As I read through Romans 12 tonight I kept coming back to this verse.Maybe this journey of intentionally serving, loving and showing kindness towards others for 365 days will help to renew my mind. For now I am going to sleep and think about why we never returned that left handed putter!