You have to choose what to keep hold of

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One of the challenges of moving house is the realisation that you’ve accumulated so much stuff.  When we began to prepare for moving to Great Barr, we realised two things. First, that there were things we had put straight into cupboards back in 2010 when we moved into our old house and never unpacked or used. Secondly, that a lot of things had accumulated.  The most glaring and challenging example was my book collection, then there were associated teddies/soft toys and a lot of ornaments. Finally, there was paperwork including saved invoices, receipts, and certificates etc (some of which were required as part of the House Sale). 

We decided that we were going to have to reduce things down.  Some things were taken to charity shops, a lot of books have been given away through church and the remainder will be off to a Christian book charity soon.  A lot of stuff made its way to the tip. Even still, we probably ended up bringing things to the new house that will meet the same fate as those boxes that went straight into cupboards and stayed there for a decade after.

What I’ve discovered is that there is really only one way to properly reduce things down to manageable proportions. Incidentally, it’s the same principle I learnt from lecturer for editing essays to get them under the required word count. He advised that too often students would write 6000 words and then struggle to get them down to 3000.  He said that we should do things the other way. Start with what you really need to say, sum it up in 1 sentence, then build that up to a paragraph, then from there to a page and so on.

The principle is that you have to decide what really matters, what you definitely don’t want to lose rather than trying to identify what you really don’t want.  So, in the same way, if you want to clear the junk from your house, it is probably better to start by identifying what you really want to keep, then start getting rid of everything else.

In Christian life, too, we sometimes talk about the need for pruning and for things that clutter up our lives to be stripped away as God sorts out the mess.  In the same way, if we want to see God at work in our lives, we need to begin by identifying what is truly important, what really matters. Everything else is incidental, everything else can go.  What are the two or three things that matter, the things that should be the priorities in your life?

In the end, the one thing that should matter is my relationship to Christ. I must cling on to him.

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