New Year- now what?

As we slip into the end of the first month of this new year it suddenly seems old again. Same old warnings on the news, same old scandals in the headlines, same old weather for this time of year, same clothes in the closet, same car in the garage.

So what makes it “new”? Perspective, state of mind, events?

I’m sure all of us can answer that question for ourselves and our lives. I’m equally sure that all of our answers, while different, are going to be similar.

Another day older. Each day brings deep thoughts at the beginning of things. Whether years, jobs, babies, friends, families- all of these things make us ponder about what’s ahead. Those ponderings often bring anxiety, fear and uncertainty with them to our dismay. Yet, God is able to order our days and stretch our time for us should we ask.

I find myself facing a word that I’d like to embrace in my physical environment. No, I don’t mean Marie what’s-her-name’s finding joy when I open a drawer or when I look at a piece of fabric that has been fashioned to fit my bod. “Finding joy” can be used by her in her descriptions I suppose. But I’m just not into finding joy. I think it’s a state of being.

And, so, the word that is hovering around in my head is:


Ok, those of you who know me, can get up off the floor and stop laughing now.

My life has always been complicated with lots of detail. My job depended on detail. Knowing all of the details. Retirement, has, I suppose led me to this word.

I have been paralyzed by my surroundings. In the past 15 years, we have lost parents, friends and extended family. We have moved, we have assimilated those lost parents’ belongings to a degree and we have attempted to make this house we now live in, well, livable. Clutter, I can handle. It’s the vision of hoarding that my house has been trying to acquire that astounds me. Possessions of others have contributed to the feeling of being closed in upon. These things are acquired as we age and family members are gone.

Right now, I am in possession of belongings that were my daughter’s MILs, because she needs to come to get them. A life, a home, a family has semi-dissolved because her mother in law was the cement that held things together, and while she was not a hoarder, as we went through her home to prepare it for an estate sale it became clear she held some of the same things dear as I do.

Those childhood notes written in that crayon, this child’s artwork, that one’s pictures, diplomas noting achievement, old Tupperware that still is serviceable. Things that we just didn’t seem to get around to organizing that were indeed out of sight, out of mind in a drawer. Evidence of a life well lived.

Now, as I face this word simplify I’m looking for a balance. somewhere between hoarding and stark clinical emptiness. Perhaps I’ll find it this year. Perhaps with help I can let go of the evidence that was not well lived and rest in that word simplify. if not for my sake for my family’s.

How do you let go of boxes and boxes of pictures. some which have no names, no familiarity but are part of our history? How do you let go of that quilt that your great grandmother made so so many years ago that has no meaning to anyone but yourself? or how about that china? or those books?  I realize some of these things aren’t sentimental and we should have no problem removing them- like books- however when one has an almost relational attachment to books and the knowledge they contain…… sigh.

I know the memories attached to some things that no one would understand unless they’d been involved in those memories keep me attached. That is the hang up for me. And the feeling responsible because, after all, they left these things to us, right? And the feeling of being bogged down in mind and spirit as well as closed in by physical belongings?

These “things” hang on and intrude upon my thoughts and feelings to the point where I may be obsessing about what to let go and what to keep.

In the end, I will keep nothing and will pass on everything.

Including lessons, whether I meant for them to be learned or not. These things are just that, things. Convincing myself on the other hand is the challenge.  With the phrase “Let go and let God…”  in my head all day long, I pass through these rooms  trying to ignore the space that is consumed.

I remain.

While I long for something better. So I press on.

There’s the dilemma. so with simplify hanging about, I’m asking you to check on me later…. I’m goin’ in. With my waders on. There may not be tears, but, then again…

Disclaimer: there would be pictures of what I’m talking about, however, there would be shame involved as well. I have enough to be embarrassed about without having my domicile spread all over the internet. 

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ,set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2

 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal,but I press on to take holdof that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

4 thoughts on “New Year- now what?”

  1. Ah, Nancy…I hear you.
    I have just come out the other end of this process and feel lighter and brighter because it’s DONE!!
    I made a pile for each child with drawings, school reports, photos etc and gave them to them so they could decide what to keep.
    With my own stuff, I only kept personal photos- no places visited- and threw out many albums.
    Because my friend has my P.O.A. I want to take only what is really needed when I move so her job will be as easy as possible when te time comes.
    Enjoy the process and celebrate when you’re done!
    It takes months…but so worth doing it.
    Cheering you onwards!!

    • I have a feeling mine will take more than months. the piles for the kids is the best idea. I’m not sure I could let go of photos of the places I’ve been. So many memories of each one. I will be sifting I’m sure for a while. Praying that the Lord will direct my piles and my garbage so I can actually simplify our lives here.

  2. Well said.

    I’m the last of my first immediate family. I have been handling my sister’s estate, 600 miles away, where she lived in our family home. Dad built it the year I was born.

    All of the people that lived there and shaped me, swirl in my brain with memories and in myheart with feelings. They were in that house with all of the mementos that I don’t have room for. This week I signed the contract to let all the stuff go.

    It’s been arduous and painful to work through it one baby step at a time. Seeing it trashed by thieves and vandalized by people who didn’t care, who just wanted a warm place for the night–that really hurt.

    But as loaded as it is with memories of love and pain,
    It’s. Just. Stuff.

    What keeps going through my mind:
    Matthew 6:19-21 TPT

    “Don’t keep hoarding for yourselves earthly treasures that can be stolen by thieves. Material wealth eventually rusts, decays, and loses its value. Instead, stockpile heavenly treasures for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never rust, decay, or lose their value.

    For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure.

    • oh Wende, my heart aches for yours. But the Lord is right heavenly treasure can never be lost. This is a hard road, and I’m praying the Lord will ease your pain and sorrow as He has mine. Now, for the energy to get busy.


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