Breaking the Allure of "Stuff"

I've been thinking a lot about stuff lately. "Stuff," as in things and objects and items and the role they play in my life. And how much they mean to me.

I realized this awhile ago when my day-old laptop got stuck on the Windows update screen for hours. This had happened to my previous computer and there was nothing we could do but wipe it and start over.

While my new computer was fresh and starting over from scratch wouldn't be a problem (everything was already backed up on our external hard drive), I hated the idea of shipping it off. The idea of taking my new computer, which was supposed to make things easier, and box it up and get it worked on already. It's one thing when it's already made it through a couple of years, because you expect that. But less than 24 hours?!

I'm embarrassed to admit I cried at the thought.

And it was that moment when I realized the emotional attachment I had to this thing, the unhealthy control it had over me. It's one thing to despair over a life or hard circumstances, but things—no matter their price tag—certainly do not deserve to fall into that category. And I had unwittingly allowed it to creep into that dangerous territory.

It was definitely a heart-check for me to be able to see this situation and my reaction in this light. Humbling but also enlightening. And from it, I found a renewed calm and decided to not let this circumstance or this thing rule over me and my emotions and my reactions.

I got on my husband's computer, did some research and found one suggestion for fixing the problem. I prayed and decided to try it myself. What do you know, but it worked? And all that emotion had been spilled out for nothing—except that it taught me a terribly important lesson that I've tried to hold dear in the weeks since.

Then, the other morning, I woke up early with big plans to go on a baking spree, cranking out bagels and bread and pizza dough. And after I threw the ingredients in, I could tell something was wrong. It wasn't making the churning sound I was accustomed to. I opened it up to see a chunky mound of flour and the machine making a clicking sound, but not the large doughy ball I'm used to seeing. I resigned myself to the fact that it had broken.

But this time, rather than despairing, I pulled the dough out and kneaded it by hand. I took control of the thing rather than letting it control me.

And then, with my dough swelling and rising, I decided to test the machine out one last time before I started looking into other options. As it turns out, some dough had got stuck to the paddle and had kept it from chugging and churning. It wasn't broken after all. No emotions spilled out, and some arm muscles got an unexpected workout.

So I went ahead, threw my next batch of bread-baking in and thanked God for this latest lesson of His.

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  1. I am dealing with similar things right now. As I go through my house to organize it for our upcoming move I find things we HAD to have, that area dirty and dusty from sitting around and not being used.

    Not only am I not being a good steward of the things God has given me, but I'm obsessed with having more and the best.

    Hard lessons to learn, at least for me.

  2. So important to remember not to be ruled by our reactions and emotions, which can sometimes lead us astray. God will lead us to the answers...and toned arms don't hurt, either! ;)

  3. @ PJ - Agh! They truly are hard lessons. It can be so discouraging when I realize how entrenched they are into my life and mind. But I know that discouragement is NOT the answer; I have to fight that, too!

    @ Nicole - I know. I am so awed by how gentle he has been in leading me even to become aware of these things and showing me the good that can come of them (like the toned arms!). Thanks :)

  4. Thank you so much for sharing what's on your heart. This really hit home with me. I always tend to over-react and get upset over the smallest things that truly don't matter. This definitely opened my eyes. Thank you!!

  5. this is something that I learned a few years ago...I would get upset and waste emotional energy on 'what ifs' or on something that actually had an easy solution (like your bread maker) the thing that kind of snapped me out of it was one day I was in a rush to get somewhere and got stopped by a train and I flipped out...I was so frustrated...then you would never believe that the train was only 2 cars long, a locomotive and a caboose...that day I learned that sometimes problems in life are not always LONG trains sometimes they are only two cars long...

  6. @ Lori - Aw, I appreciate that! My pleasure :)

    @ April - I wish I encountered 2-car long trains more often! I love how God can use those sorts of things to open our eyes wide at what he's showing us!

  7. Such a tough lesson to really grasp for us finite, proud humans. We so easily get wrapped up in a sense of entitlement and that makes *everything* that goes wrong seem worse. I'm so glad you shared this post because it's such a good reminder to pay attention to my own reactions to bumps in the road and my desires for material things. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Powerful, important information. :)

  8. this is such a good post. and definitely what I needed to hear!
    it is so easy to let material things be our comfort and happiness, but God has a way of changing that and getting our eyes back on Him. (although it can be super challenging)
    I am totally guilty of letting my material things run my emotions and it eventually leads to actions/responses I know God wouldn't be to thrilled with.
    I'm glad to see someone else is going through the same types of struggles I've been thinking about!

    love your blog, by the way! :D


  9. oh, and is that picture of you?!

  10. @ Kristin - So true!

    @ Megan - Thanks for the kind words! Nope, that's not a picture of me, but that'd be really cool if it was! I'm not that fancy with photography yet!


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