Cleaning Out my Closet
“Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." ~ Luke 12:15
When I first moved into my house I was shocked at the large closet space. I couldn’t imagine it ever getting full. I grew up in a house with small closets and even then they were only half full. That’s how it used to be when these older homes were built. You had a handful of nice dresses a few pairs of shoes, a couple of pants and handful of shirts. You mixed and matched to create new outfits and washed at the end of the week.
When I was 23 years old I bought my first expensive skirt. It was $100 from Banana Republic. It was satin and I thought it was absolutely beautiful. The evening I wore it, I walked into my boss’ party and almost immediately a friend spilled her red drink on me. Ah yes, God is always the comedian with sitcom ending style learning lesson to boot. I did get the stain out and then wore it all the time but I felt so guilty spending that much money on one skirt. But after hitting that threshold it seemed I wanted more and was ok with spending more. So my wardrobe grew.
Fast forward to this house and its large closet that looked so empty. I quickly filled it with all sorts of clothing, shoes, hats, coats and jewelry. It was to the brim. A lot of these items I never even wore. I bought them on sale (what a great deal! I’ll wear it at some point!). But, I never did. It wasn’t quite my style although it was nice but I wouldn’t have bought it had I not convinced myself that I needed it. Or maybe I was trying to dress in a way that didn’t match how I felt. Either way, it all added up to a massive wardrobe but an emptier soul. Why was I filling this closet up? It seems I was trying to fill myself with things in order to give myself a moment of a purchase high that quickly fell into regret. Regret and shame. I have all these clothes but still can’t find anything to wear. Going out was a huge struggle. I changed a million times and ended up in tears not wanting to go anywhere. I wasn’t happy with who I was and I couldn’t make that up by projecting from my outside image. In those moments it was especially apparent. What was it that I was trying to fill or trying to project?
Allowing Him to walk next to me permits my soul to know that all of this stuff will not fill me.
I realized that I was projecting the comfy Christian. I could display my wealth which made me feel better than I felt inside. I had the safety of being surrounded by like-minded people and we all felt we were good but inside knew we were just doing the minimum. Even our children had all they could imagine (and then some) and we fervently made sure they were put together properly to uphold this image. That may have been the most eye-opening aspect to me. Seeing my children not scoff at a high price item or casually toss something aside that had recently been purchased and then ask for something new.
I would look at images of people suffering around the world and I felt incredible pain and guilt. I constantly recognized my shallowness and I knew what I was trying to fill could only come from shrouding myself in God. Through service. Through loving my neighbor. Toby Mac is an artist that writes from the heart and explains things in ways that make me want to get out and make a change. In his song “Made to Love” he sings, “Anything, I would give up for you. Everything, I'd give it all away". On my journey to Christ I heard this and thought... Would I? What would it take for me to do this? God asking me directly? Even then, would I be willing to give it all? Or would I stash things away like a child would hide candy in undisclosed locations. Surface sacrifice.
Through this long back and forth process of meeting my demons head on and recognizing they may walk just a few steps behind me all of my life, I also found who walks next to me. I’ve begun to declutter. In decluttering my closet and my home it helps to clear my mind and make room for what is really needed. I can tackle focusing and decluttering my inside as well as what I see on the outside. In doing so, I’m also focusing on this glorious planet that God gave us. Buying less, knowing what materials I am buying (and their effect on the earth), where it comes from and who is making it is also caring for my neighbor. I’m in control of that. It takes more time and effort but it helps the clutter in my mind, my home, and encourages a small change in the world that may lead to a big change (even if it’s only to one person). Less really is more. Quality (not quantity) really boosts that. Ensuring that my children understand both of these helps their future as well as the future of our planet thus completing a circle of respect for God. Allowing Him to walk next to me permits my soul to know that all of this stuff will not fill me. It will fill my house, it will fill landfills, it will fill our oceans but it will not fill me. It won’t fill you either.
There is this group on Facebook called GMB Akash. This gentleman is a photographer and journalist who goes around to places like Bangladesh or Indonesia and asks for people to share their stories. They are often of lives that we could never even imagine living. What I’ve found is that a lot of them are happy with the little they have. They may live in a mud hut and work ridiculously and laboriously hard for the little rice they eat daily. But, they feel blessed and praise God joyfully for what they do have. They hold tight to the love and to the gifts they have been given. Gifts that we might consider curses had they been presented to us. It humbled me and helps me stay focused (along with the gentle nudging by the Holy Spirit). I pray that we all accept this responsibility to encourage baby steps towards reformation. We can’t do it all but we can make small changes that do make a difference.
About: Sosie Matosian resides in Virginia with her husband, three children and two dogs. She has her degree in Biblical Studies from University of Northwestern with additional emphasis and certificate in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She is passionate about sharing her faith with others and brings a personal perspective to the struggles one might face in their journey walking to and with Christ.