Do Not Be Enslaved By Them

English: Compulsive hoarding home yard
English: Compulsive hoarding home yard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Read Lisa Notes Blog Entry Here 

“But I will not be enslaved by anything,” 1 Corinthians 6:12 says, and I wonder how much we listen? The NIV Bible version uses the word “dominated” rather than “enslaved.” Are we enslaved or dominated by our stuff?

1.2 million people suffer from compulsive hoarding in the United States. If trauma causes hoarding, why aren’t we hearing about hoarding in other countries, like third world countries?

Someone said in third world countries it is unheard of to have houses for cars (garages). In America, those garages can hardly fit a car in them.  Out of 58,000 storage facilities worldwide, the United States has 46,000 of them. That says something about Americans being “enslaved” by what they own. Glenn Beck encouraged people to clean out their clutter, saying much of what we own could be sold to help pay off our debts. We have too much stuff and that stuff is causing problems in our life both financially and emotionally. That’s more colorfully illustrated in divorces.

According to the India Times, “Family partner Fiona Wood said some ex-husbands and wives are prepared to run up significant legal bills to win ‘custody’ of seemingly trivial items such as CDs, books, cutlery, Air Miles, Tesco Clubcard points, goldfish and vacuum cleaners.” In America, the Huffington Post reported celebrities fighting over dogs and golf carts. Then, there’s debt accumulation and our warped sense of need versus want.

According to Nerd Wallet, Americans on average owe in credit card debt $7,193 per household (which has gone down since 2010). That’s in addition to monthly rent or mortgage, car payments, cell phone charges, cable or dish packages, utilities, and internet. How much of this stuff do we really need and why are we allowing ourselves to be enslaved by them?

Obviously, we need a place to live. Utilities, rent, and mortgage fall under need. Internet can fall under need or want, depending if the person uses it to bring in extra income or for potential income. You can avoid monthly internet charges by going to your local library. It’s not convenient, but if you don’t need the internet for potential or actual income, then it’s a want. Cell Phones can be a need, but unless you use it for work, you don’t need a smart phone and you don’t really need unlimited text. You don’t need television or cable packages. You do need a car, but you don’t need the most expensive car on the lot. Then, there’s the stuff in our home.

In moving from one house to another, my husband and I de-cluttered and threw out what we hadn’t used in over a year. We liked seeing these nice homes on Home and Garden channel and how they took out all the clutter so the room looked warm and inviting. We copied their example. Later, I sold old furniture that caused emotional distress every time I looked at it.

So when Lisa Notes said this (quoted below), I totally agreed:

God wants me to live free of spiritual clutter, too. To follow his Son with no baggage. To breathe deeply of his Spirit.I don’t have to hoard the goods. God owns the storehouse, and he’s never stingy. His provisions overflow and are available on an as-needed basis.

He gives freely to open and empty hands, refilling them with relevant things, new things, now things.

Third World countries may be enslaved by their governments and are fraught by other issues, but clutter isn’t one of them. What would we do if we didn’t have so much stuff? Would we view people differently? See this picture by Sandra Heska King (below).

used with permission from here:

This an example of what one country eats on–Frisbees and metal plates. When we think we lack more stuff, think of this picture and the orphans who don’t have the stuff to hoard or the money to buy them. Do not be enslaved by the things you own. Seek financial and emotional freedom.

Is your stuff causing issues in your relationships or in your relationship with God?