Letting go is a hard principle to tackle. I grew up loving stuff and took great joy in collecting more things than I could ever need. By the time I was 24, I had a hefty amount of debt to carry along with all the treasures, electronics, furniture, clothing, and vehicles I called my own. Then something happened.
Working as a church assistant led me down a series of paths that required taking a serious look at my flaws, shortcomings, and misguided habits. One morning, while doing devotions and working on a Bible study series that had continued to break me down, I was compelled to empty my life. That can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, to me, it literally meant to EMPTY my life.
Throughout the study series I had been challenged each week to take a barebones approach to different areas of my life. That week the challenge was to rid myself of all the things that blocked me from being transparent, authentic, and completely open to change. I needed to take an inventory and explain why each thing was important to me and how, if it did, assist me in growth. What I found was a house and office full of things that did nothing but build walls, prevent attentive leadership and relationships, and constantly worked to hold me back instead of pushing me forward.
That morning, before anyone came to the office, I systematically acted on the conviction of hurdles in my life. It took 73 minutes to gather the most significant items that I knew were preventing me from living transparent. These were items I had acquired through dishonesty, items that were purely negative, items that served as distractions from my goals, and items that I worshiped and gave more attention than my faith and responsibilities. I put it all in the dumpster behind the office.
Later that day I was asked about a few of the items. One was my computer, clearly an item that would be noticed in its absence. My boss inquired about the meaning of these severe actions and why didn’t I donate the items. My response was clear, and I still have no idea how it came out of me. I simply stated that if they were a hindrance for me, then surely, they would be a hindrance for someone else. There was a higher power at work that day. When I doubted myself and this drastic change, I went to the dumpster and it had already been emptied. It was not our usual trash pickup day.
You may not be a religious person, and that is perfectly ok. This really isn’t about my faith. Its about realizing what, or who, controls you. There is more to this journey and over the next week I’ll continue to share. But today, just think about this: what or who is blocking or preventing you from living? This is a deep inquiry. Take time to really think about it. For me, it was electronics, books, and music that were taking my attention in ways and places that weren’t productive. They weren’t helping to shape the best version of me, instead, they were creating the bumps and bruises that were sustaining a stagnate me.