Yesterday as we prayed our morning prayer as a family I felt the Holy Spirit urging me to simplify. I was reminded of the 40 Day challenge I had heard of when living in the U.S. last year. Basically you fill 1 bag a day for each of the 40 days of Lent (not the Sundays) with anything you have in your home. It is a great way to de-clutter and simplify your household. In our case we have had some practice with this concept over the years as we sold and gave away many of our things to become full-time foreign Catholic missionaries. But even in our life that is already more simple than what it was in the U.S. we can gather things we brought, bought or are given over time. I keep a bag in the corner of the living room as the donation bag. When we have an item we really don't need or use we toss it in the bag. This is something I started many years ago when living in Kansas.
When we make our home visits in the community here we are able to give these items away to others who are in much more need of them. It's great to see the Holy Spirit lead us to others who need our things.
|We found 10 1/2 pairs of shoes to give away!|
I always feel the tug of the Lord asking me to let go. Let go of my fears, my anxieties and my attachment to stuff. Yes it is still a challenge for me and something I need to continue to work on. So for this Lent we have used the idea of 40 Bags in 40 days and altered it a little to fit our little mission house. We made a list of 40 groups of things we have in our home (shoes, kitchen utensils, linens, etc.). Each day for 40 days we will tackle one area to sort through. We will be asking our selves: What do I realistically need in this area? What can I donate to someone else? What am I holding on to that I need to detach from?
This process is going to hurt a little, and it should. When we detach from our things it hurts! But, even more so, it is going to be freeing. We experienced this in a huge way the first time we went into mission and emptied our entire house in 4 weeks. It was 5% hard and 95% freeing! Not only does the Lord ask us to share what we have in excess, but He also asks us to give from our need.
He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two tunics should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” - Luke 3:11
He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” -Mark 12: 41-44
When we give from our need we must rely more on the Lord to provide all that we need. When we hold onto all of our things we find comfort and safety in our stuff instead of comfort and safety in the Lord.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. - Matthew 6:25-33