11-12 God spoke to Moses, “I’ve listened to the complaints of the Israelites. Now tell them: ‘At dusk you will eat meat and at dawn you’ll eat your fill of bread; and you’ll realize that I am God, your God.’”... So Moses told them, “It’s the bread God has given you to eat. And these are God’s instructions: ‘Gather enough for each person, about two quarts per person; gather enough for everyone in your tent.’”
17-18 The People of Israel went to work and started gathering, some more, some less, but when they measured out what they had gathered, those who gathered more had no extra and those who gathered less weren’t short—each person had gathered as much as was needed.
19 Moses said to them, “Don’t leave any of it until morning.”
20 But they didn’t listen to Moses. A few of the men kept back some of it until morning. It got wormy and smelled bad....
It's summer - the favorite time of year for teachers. Finally we can let our hair down, spend some time with our own families, and....clean our house! Yes, you heard right. Almost without fail, the last week of school I hear teachers say something along the lines of "Now I can clean my house!"
Now lest you think all teachers are slobs, we are not! We just spend the entire school year taking care of our own children, teaching, grading, planning, etc. etc. etc. until the days fly past us and the clutter builds around us. That is why, despite a month long workshop, I am thrilled to be able to spend a little time letting go of the clutter that surrounds me.
The other day as I prepared to do a little "clutter tossing," I got to thinking about the children of Israel and manna. That's how my mind works - crazy connections that make no sense at first but eventually help me see things in a light that is crystal clear!
I was thinking about why I have so much "stuff" in my house. Some of it has collected because I put it down to "deal with it later" and then forgot about it, but some of it has collected because of a lack of trust in God. Seriously? Yep...and I realized it when I made the manna connection.
How often have I kept something because "I might need it later"? Or, it's still good...too good to throw away. So I keep it till I might need it. Over time all the "stuff" I've kept piles up and the thing I kept till I might need it - well, even if I needed it I can't find it! I wind up going out and purchasing another simply because I couldn't find the first one. Oh, and about 95% of the other stuff I keep until I might need it - it never even is thought of again.
Then there is the part I've tried to ignore....the stuff I kept simply "goes bad" and starts to stink up my life! It weighs me down and holds me back from the life God has for me. Some literally goes bad - things do have a shelf life you know, and some goes bad because it is just no longer useful for the life I now lead. For example, as a teacher I have lots of "cool lesson stuff" that I may need one day. As I packed up my classroom to move to another grade level next year, I realize how much of my "cool stuff" never got used because it was out of date, or more likely, available in some form on computer! I could find in seconds what would take me hours to find hunting through old files! And a lot of times, the stuff on the internet is updated and WAY better than the paper copies that are collecting dust and (yuck) bugs!
And in all of this, it's a bit like I'm not trusting God to provide what I will need when I need it.
If God gave it to me in the first place, won't He provide again when I need it? Instead of holding on to things that I might "need" later, wouldn't it be better to simply give the extra to someone else that can use it now and leave my space free for whatever blessings God wants to give me today? (Oh, and the whole holding on to it till I find someone who needs it - that doesn't really work. Sometimes we discover others don't need/want our manna. Take it to an organization that helps distribute to those who need or throw it away! Either way, don't hold on to it too long cause it will start to "smell!")
God will provide for our needs DAILY and holding on to things just in case is actually showing a lack of faith - at least for me it is. God did give instructions to keep some on the 6th day, so that the people could rest on the 7th, but if I am honest with myself, I'm NOT holding on to the things God tells me to...I'm trying to act like God and decide for myself!
I recently started re-reading a book by Peter Walsh called "It's All Too Much" and then this morning an article from Prevention magazine came in my email. In it, Peter is quoted as saying, "Too much stuff sucks the life out of families." To re-energize the family unit, Walsh turns to this fundamental question: Does the stuff you own give you joy and pleasure? "Does it help you create the life you want?" If it does, hold on to it, but set some limits—you can't own everything," he says. "It's all about treating your space with honor and respect." One of Walsh's favorite sayings is, "Clutter is decisions delayed."
So, I'm starting my summer with a new way of looking at cleaning. Instead of just trying to organize my "stuff" I'm working on letting go, freeing my hands, my heart, and my home for whatever new thing God has in store for me and my family. You can't organize clutter, you can only hold on to it or let it go.
Darn...now I've got that stupid song from "Frozen" stuck in my head. Oh well, at least I'll be singing as I move forward! Happy summer my friends!
Below are links to the article, which I highly recommend reading; and for those who haven't heard it enough, the song from Frozen!