I found this letter that I wrote (maybe two years ago), prompted by a blog post on Be More with Less called “How to Write a Break-up Letter to Your Stuff”. It was written quickly and without revision, but today I am appreciating the analogy.
I am making a commitment to only be with stuff that serves a good purpose or leads me closer to God. I believe that this is how God wants me to relate to things. I’m liking the idea of seeing material possessions as tools. They help me to do God’s will. Like school supplies and curriculum help me to educate my children. Pots and pans are tools to cook with. My crucifix reminds me of Jesus.
I’m writing to tell you that you are not good for me anymore. I don’t need you; you do not cause me joy. Some of you I did need in the past. You were tools at one time, and you served your purpose well. but my life has changed, and I no longer need your help. Others of you, I don’t even know why I have you around. I never used you for anything. Maybe you were given to me and I said thank you to the giver because I love them and didn’t want to say no. Maybe I purchased you when I was afraid. You made me feel better. From you I am learning to have a criteria for future purchases. To ask if I really need it. What purpose will it serve? Can I do without it?
I am determined to live a well-ordered life. I am working my butt off this summer to go through everything and keep only the tools God wants me to use and to let go of my attachments to you all.
I have trouble letting go of some of you. I’d like to keep you just in case I’ll use you again in the future. But this is not what God teaches.
He wants me to live in the present and serve Him, love Him and pray unceasingly to Him. He does not want me to worry about tomorrow. He says it in the Bible. He will provide for me always. I really need to trust Him completely and let you go.
I did not sign my letter. It was anonymous. And because I like to linger over ideas… How about a list of questions to ask when decluttering, based on the ideas found in this letter?
- Does this serve a good purpose or lead me closer to God?
- Why do I have this?
- Is this a tool I used in the past, but don’t need anymore? Let it go.
- Have I never used this? Let it go.
- Was this a gift? Did I thank the giver? Let it go.
- Did someone give it to me and I didn’t want to say no? Let it go.
- Did I purchase this when I was afraid? Let it go.
Questions to ask before a new purchase:
- Do I really need this?
- What purpose will it serve?
- Can I do without it?
Remember: Live in the present. Love, serve and pray all day. Do not worry about tomorrow. God will provide for you always. Trust him completely and let it go.