Yard sales..... I know many people who love them. They enjoy going to yard sales and they enjoy having yard sales. I do not like either! It is not on my list of fun things to do. So when my husband said, "Hey, we really need to do this." My stomach got in knots as I knew the inevitable would come....a yard sale. 3-4 days of gathering stuff, 12 hours out in a sun and a nice sunburn returned some extra dollars, a cleaner attic and garage, and more space in closets. Not to bad, huh? It was worth it, but I still don't like them. As we were winding things up yesterday evening my heart began to hear the Lord speaking.
Have you ever heard the saying, "Are you managing your life or is your life managing you"? Sometimes I think we have a hard time figuring out how to manage our lives. Things get out of hand and before you know it we've created a monster that is running the show. Take our homes for instance. In my house, I am the "household manager". If it has to do with the inside of the house it has to go through me. Hubby gets the outside (yay!) Not too long ago, though, it felt like the "house" was managing me. The kids rooms were overflowing with "stuff",I had groceries in my closet because I didn't have enough pantry space, and chores and projects were piling up around me. I felt overwhelmed, mainly because this goes way against my love for organization. Clutter makes me feel claustrophobic. It drives me nutty! One day I had a revelation. If its out of hand and I can't manage it, then I need to make it manageable. Starting with the kids rooms. I realized that one of the reasons they can't keep their room clean is they have too much. By taking some stuff out of their rooms we found what was reasonable for them to manage. All three of my kids are different in how much they can manage. As parents I believe its important that we help our kids discover how much they are capable to manage. Why? Eventually, this ability will help them through their whole lives. As for the rest of the house, it was as easy as identifing what the need was and coming up with a plan to get it done. As we look at our lives (especially if it seems to be managing you), take time to identify what the need is. Then we can take that need to God, our family, and begin a process of getting that need met. I enjoy having quiet time. With three boisterous kids in a 1300 sq ft house with a open floor plan, it is hard have that at times. I use to go around yelling, "BE QUIET!" with little to no response. Over the past year I have learned to say, "Hey, guys, mom really needs some quiet time. So for the next hour or so, I NEED you to go to your room or find something quiet to do in the living room. Works every time!I identified what I needed, set the boundary by clearly communicating what that need was. So having the yard sale was a step of manageability, identifing what the need was and getting it done. The attic had gotten out of hand and it desperately needed to be more manageable. As the yard sale was winding down, reflecting on how much better we had gotten and making things more manageable was encouraging.
Does it stay or does it go? That is the question.
Some people have a hard time getting rid of things. Some even take it to the extreme and become hoarders. Which seems to be a problem in our culture because now there is a TV reality show about these types of people. Some people don't keep anything. Then there is that place in between the two where you like to hang on to some things but most things can go. My middle child likes to hang on to things. She is very crafty and creative especially when it comes to repurposing things. She is also very resourceful. Everything has a potential use to her. When she was little it was cute, now not so much. She can't keep everything....my house is not big enough. Part of cleaning out the attic included three totes of her "potential craft supplies". I made her sit down and go through these totes to decide what she would keep and what would go.
It requires us to ask ourselves questions. Am I really going to use this? really? Its important that our kids learn to answer these easy questions now. Later in life the questions will get harder. Like, "Which friends are healthy for me to be around?" "Should I do homework or go out with my friends?" "What do I want to do for the rest of my life?. The process of evaluation, asking good questions, and making good choices starts now....with the little stuff. Sometimes as parents we just go in and clean out their room for them, robbing them of this valuable decision making process. What's important and valuable to me? When we let them have opportunities to answer the easy questions and make the easy choices they will be better prepared as the move along their journey and the choices and decisions get harder.
This one was a little personal for me this weekend. As we cleaned out the attic we decided to chunk a bunch of old records and papers that we didn't need anymore. We burned the stuff that would be a danger to identity theft and the rest went into the recycle bin. So as I was doing this I came across some things like cards the kids had made for me, letters from Nathan when we were dating, old pictures, bible study workbooks, my bible from when I was a teenager, and journals. It was interesting reading cards from friends of the past that aren't in my life anymore. I realized that even though they aren't in life anymore, I treasure the times that they were. Finding my bible from when I was a teenager was really neat. Immediately, memories began to flood my mind and heart of all the Sunday School classes, mission trips, Wednesday night youth services, and youth camps this bible had accompanied me to. This was the bible that I used when I first felt that fire inside to love and serve the Lord. I even found my mom's wedding book. This one was bittersweet. My parents divorced when I was 4, but reading about she and my Dad's first years together was very special. The engagement, showers, wedding, honeymoon, and first house. Reflection is important because it reminds us of where we've been, what God has brought us through, and the connections of friends and family God has weaved in and out of our lives.
With all that being said, yard sales still aren't my favorite thing to do and I pray I won't have to have another for a long time. lol!