Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

We Would Never Be A Hoarder Would We?

Maybe you've seen the reality show called Hoarders. The producers find someone who is clearly obsessed with keeping everything and a team of expert organizers, a psychologist and other helpers try to get them to change their ways.

In most cases it's not easy. There is usually all sorts of personal baggage hidden under their emotional layers of debris which will not be disposed of quickly. Often the person breaks down in despair seeing their prized possessions being thrown in a dumpster or at best organized.

Most of us watching a program like that would say, "That will never be me. I couldn't stand living that way." And we're probably right. There are only a small percentage of people who will endure the extremes of a true hoarder.

But I wonder if a lot of us aren't closer than we think, at least in spirit. We really do hoard we just do it in an organized and more acceptable way.  Let me suggest a few areas where potential hoarding can crop up in our homes.

We may hoard successes. We keep trying to add one more award, win, trophy or adulation for our kids or ourselves. We live for the next chance to tell a friend or put on Facebook the latest impressive feats in our family. How many Christmas letters rather than just giving an update on the family's important moments of the year are filled with all of the latest things to brag about on each person?

We may hoard security. Of course it makes sense to set aside savings for emergencies and retirement and to do all we can to make sure our family needs are maintained. But many keep adding more: another piece of real estate, bank accounts, other income streams and the like. We're never satisfied that enough is enough.

We can hoard extra stuff. Just like we might do with our finances we feel we always have to have a lot of abundance or we won't be OK. So we buy mulitiples of everything, never miss a good sale and keep trying to find more space to store it all in.

So what might we do at our house to battle the temptation to hoard?

First, make giving things and money away the norm at home. Look for ways to share what you have, find a regular place to give things to and teach your kids to do the same. Yes, be wise and careful that you have planned well for your needs then give the rest to someone or a great organization.

Second, take inventory and pare things down to only what you need. This may take some soul-searching and admitting that you really do have too much. Get rid of a lot, have a garage sale or rent a truck and donate things to a needy organization. If you really want to get serious, move into a smaller home and you will quickly find you can't take it all and will have to do something about it.

Third, start living in ways where you must trust God more to make it. Don't be foolish. God  has blessed us in many ways so that we would have what we need. Take good care of those basic things. But find some challenges, mission opportunities or whatever that require you to have special faith in God meeting your needs. You will live on a lot less but live a lot more.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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