Happy Monday! I am so glad you are stopping by to read my thoughts and perhaps enjoy a cup of coffee and a break from whatever you are doing.
Last week I mentioned I was looking through a basket of old mementos. I’ve found myself in an end of summer cleaning mode. I go through this several times a year, the urge to purge. No drawer or closet is safe! The garage, oh, the garage…it’s definitely time for a sale.
Coincidentally, the sermon at my church happened to be on this very topic. The series for the month of August is on simplifying life. The premise of the talk was that ‘stuff complicates our lives. I find that to be true for myself…and I am an organizer at heart. The more stuff I have, the more stressed I feel. I think this is true for a lot of people whether they recognize it or not.
The pastor cited a study that was done on what happens in the brain when we buy something new. The area of the brain called the caudate nucleus, lights up when we buy ‘stuff’? Would you believe this is the same area of the brain that lights up when a person feels a deep connection to God? I find this very, very interesting.
How often do we think a shopping trip is just the thing to bring some cheer? The perfect pair of shoes, a purse, a cute shirt, home decor…anything to fill the empty spot for the moment. I know I’ve done this many times and usually on auto pilot. How long does it take for the excitement and newness to wear off? I watched my daughter rip open birthday presents last week, with frenzied excitement. There was hardly time to see what each thing was before she was on to the next bag. To be fair to her, she has played with many of those new toys, but the newness has definitely worn off… already! So much so that she was begging for a stuffed animal from the store two days later.
I am not suggesting that we never shop, or not give/get birthday presents, or that we should give all we have to the Goodwill. I am however wondering if it’s easy to get the ‘fix’ we need temporarily by filling life with things. Things can never take the place of close relationships, particularly one with God. If our brains are wired to light up when we have a deep connection with Him, why are we letting things take the place of that? This is a question I am asking myself as I prepare to downsize my junk and simplify my life.
In Luke 12:15 Jesus tells us “…life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” “Stuff” can never fill the space that He can. Hebrews 13:5 says “be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
May you look up to Him for that contentment when the urge to get more stuff hits you!
Until next week, be blessed,