In one gloriously productive day, my husband and I succeeded at clearing out one stall in our garage. It wasn’t the first time we had spent hours in pursuit of empty space, but we were thrilled to finally be able to park a car INSIDE the garage (it did help that we finally have a car small enough for our modest space)!
We hauled away a van load of cast-offs to Goodwill that day – things which we had accumulated over the years that had long since either lost their usefulness or had simply been outgrown. Some of what we gave away hadn’t done time outside of the garage in an embarrassingly long period of time.
We piled up a lot of trash during our cleaning frenzy. Some we can recycle. Some cardboard boxes we gave away to a friend who needs them for an upcoming move. Tomorrow a whole bunch of bags and boxes will find their way to the curb for the garbage truck to haul them away. Some of the things that have taken up space in our garage for years are good for nothing but the trash heap.
We filled up one box with items that should have been in the house, being put to good use. I brought in a collection of home videos filmed over the past 17 years that had been quietly collecting dust, some office supplies that will save a trip to the store, a few books worth adding to the keepers on the shelf and some brand new toys that we had never given as gifts. Some of what we hold onto gets lost in the graveyard of useless things when we amass large quantities of stuff that we just can’t keep track of.
More isn’t always more. Sometimes more is just too much.
I don’t always subscribe to the tradition of making promises to myself in the New Year. Resolutions, in my limited experience, tend to guilt me within weeks of making them rather than spurring me on to good works.
I had no intention of falling into that trap again – that is, until I pulled my car into the garage for the first time last week. The timing was incredible! Our work day was terrifically warm for December, and dry so that we could spill out into the driveway as we sorted and stacked and separated our excesses. But even as we turned the key in the ignition, snow began to fall – softly at first, but eventually resulting in an uncharacteristically messy winter storm. A winter storm that my little car didn’t have to endure because we had made room for it in the space where it belongs.
So I’ve decided that there really is just one thing tugging at me as the New Year looms again. I’m tired of seeing so much stuff crammed into places where it simply does not belong.
Trash and junk and outgrown toys in the garage, where the car ought to be.
Unworn and poorly fitting clothing in the closet, where the things I actually will wear ought to be.
Calendars and schedule books littered with tedious meetings and pointless commitments, where satisfying and rewarding activities ought to be.
Worries and stressors and disturbing emotions taking up head and heart space, where joy and direction and clarity most definitely ought to be.
This year, I’m resolving to pass along to others the things that I have that they need.
This year, I’m resolving to throw away those things that are not worth keeping and are not worth giving away.
This year, I’m resolving to put to good use those things that I knew I would need someday.
This year, I’m resolving to make room in my house, in my head, in my life for that which really ought to be there instead.
And who knows? Maybe God has been patiently waiting on me to do just that.
After all, how can He pour new life and living water into the space within when it’s already jam-packed-full of something other than His very best for me?
A car belongs in its garage. That’s what the space is for.
I can’t wait to see what God has in mind for the space we’re about to create… in me!