Giving Up and Letting Go

The one-bedroom apartment where my husband and I live hasn’t looked as good as it does right now since we first moved in. We have both been on a purging kick lately so there is a sizeable difference in the amount of clutter around.


I think our purge comes at a pretty good time with Lent coming up in a week. Lent is a time of fasting and abstinence that begins Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. Thinning down our possessions and donating useful items like clothing and books is a good way to get our mind in the right spirit.


As we have been going through this process, I’ve come to see how I react to different objects—sometimes in very surprising ways. Generally, I’m ruthless when it comes to going through my stuff. I don’t hold on to many objects for sentimental reasons. On the other hand, I do like to collect—comic books, action figures from 90s cartoon shows, vinyl figures from shows I currently watch, and books.


Some items I can “give up” pieces of my collections by thinking of the action as a small sacrifice for the sanity of my husband.


Others, however, are harder. Those are the ones that I’m attached to for any number of reasons—they remind me of a person or an event, represent my youth and the person I long to be once again (anyone else have a ‘skinny outfit’ hidden in the back of their closet?). It’s those attachments that keep me from living the life God wants me to live—the one that is happening right now—this very moment. I often have difficulty in letting go of that stuff.


But, when it comes down to what is important, it isn’t about the stuff we collect: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).


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