Could you give it all up?

July 7, 2008 at 10:36 pm (Faith, Home) (, , )

I spent the last 3 days in garage sale land again. This time it was cleaning out Mark’s grandparents home. A week ago we loaded up a 17 ft U-haul truck that Mark and his cousin drove to Arkansas where they will live with their daughter. As I helped sort through things, bag clothes for the Rescue Mission, and load stuff in the Uhaul last week I thought, “Hm, there’s not really that much left.”

At 10 p.m. on Thursday night I was singing a different tune. We were still setting up tables and pricing kitchen stuff. We probably had at least 200 pieces of glassware from dishes to vases to little knick knacks. It was midnight before we called it quits – a 14 hour day.

Every time I either have a garage sale or attend one it amazes me all over again at the stuff we accumulate. And this was not even 60 years worth of stuff. Grandma and Grandpa had a house fire about 10 years ago and lost almost everything. Save about a dozen items, this was stuff they either received or bought since then.

I am not judging them in the least, but rather looking at my home and all the things it contains. I pride myself on being someone who fairly consistently goes through closets and clothes and kid’s toys and purges the unnecessary and useless items. But why is it that there is always more stuff the next time I come back to purge?

What could I do without? What would be hardest to give up? My friend Michelle recently moved their family of 6 and her and her husband are trying to go very minimalist.

If, for example, God called Mark and I to the mission field, what would I have a hard time leaving? What would I HAVE to bring with me?

I’m really not a hugely sentimental person. My “memoribilia” from growing up fits in one medium sized box. I have two quilts my grandmother made for my babies. Photos and scrapbooks of course. Only one set of books I care about – The Little House on the Prairie series I read growing up that I saved for Natalie. In a moment of honesty I admit I’d have a hard time leaving all my scrapbooking supplies 🙂

Despite whatever loss I would feel, it is just stuff. It might be painful to part with at first, but it’s amazing how quickly you forget when it’s not there where you see it every day.

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”  Matthew 19:21-22



  1. Jen said,

    Ah Julie have you been walking around the inside of my brain? I’ve REALLY been wrestling with this one lately. Looking around the house and seeing all I have. Looking for the balance in life between the realities of life in places like ET and, in contrast, here. Opening myself up to even more scrutiny and seeking to be more thankful, more contented, more sacrifical.

    I had to laugh about your scrapbooking supplies!! hehe

    Hmmm things I would have a REALLY hard time giving up: my iPod, make-up and good hair products, tampons (I’m just sayin’) and my laptop w/ internet service. Those are the biggies.

  2. Susie said,

    That requires some deep thought and evaluation! What first “things” that come to mind would be photos because they represent memories of a life time of experiences and relationships that God has blessed me with through the years. The only other things I would really want, would be my laptop and internet card and my bible because I AM GOING TO READ THROUGH IT THIS YEAR and hopefully every year after that, too!

  3. Kathleen Flanagan said,

    Several years ago while living in Southern CA our home was threatened by wildfires and we were told to prepare to evacuate, taking only necessities witih us. Funny what goes through your mind in connecton with “necessities”, but ultimately I decided upon the family pictures (as Susie also chose). The danger passed, but not the lesson. I dare stay I still have way too much stuff – but now I know that the good stuff goes with me no matter how much I actually have or don’t have. Memories, dreams and hope won’t burn.

  4. Stacey said,

    We saw this when Jon and Tina had to leave for Indonesia. They had to decide what they “needed” and “wanted” in life. It was a difficult thing for them.

    The things I would have a hard time giving up would be… pictures, my kid’s baby blankets (weird, I know), my laptop and camera.

  5. Mark said,

    1st thing I would leave behind… The lawnmower.
    Not sure how I would survive without my sleep number bed though.
    Pictures we can put onto a hard-drive. Everyone else said laptop (wonder if they’d change their mind on this one when they tried using the internet over there 🙂
    I wonder how many golf clubs I can fit into 1 bag???

  6. I Surrender All « Periodic Ponderings said,

    […] Julie and I have been really considering this a lot, especially in the last year or so.  God has certainly been helping us work through turning over control in every area of our lives to Him and also has really changed our priorities as we have gone done the path to becoming debt free.  Julie had a great post on her blog Could you give it all up? […]

  7. Gary Lecocq said,


    I came across this on a Google Alert, so you are famous! It was in the glassware email. I don’t usually comment to peoples’ blogs, but I had to comment to you. The passage of scripture that you use to end your post is one of my favorite verses.

    I believe that Jesus came here not only to save us, but also to give us an example to care for the needy and the poor. He became God again when confronted with the plight of poor and needy people. That is where He worked His miracles. It is strange that He was not crucified for those miracles either, even though they proved that He is God.

    Well, sorry for going on. I just noticed your comments about your beliefs, and I am very proud to have found your blog.

  8. Tina said,

    My best friend lost everything in a fire a few months back. I was asking her what was the most painful lost and she said her pictures…photo book, scrapbooks etc. I think that would be the hardest for me to give up. And I am right there with you on the Scrapbooking supplies! But I was really thinking about this the other day. A few of my friends give me a hard time that I don’t have an i-pod or a phone with text (it doesn’t even take pics). I was even accused of being old-fashion. But that doesn’t have anything to do with it…it’s financial. When we redid out budget this year, those was down on the priority list and got cut off. Sometimes though, I get caught up in “I wish I had”, or “I need this or that” or so and so has this and I want it. But I have to remind myself that it is just stuff. I can take care of my family and serve God without it. But it’s easy to get sucked back in to that “I need more mindset”. Thank you and Mark for your post on these types of things. It helps to pull me back to a place of contentment for what God had blessed us.

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