I am no hoarder, but I am quite sentimental. I have been prone to hang on to things gifted or earned. Every note written to me, every card sent to me, every knickknack and gift given to me has traveled with me through the years. I also kept everything school related. The report cards and tests, the projects and papers never went in the trash. (And I really do mean all of them, from kindergarten through college.) I had boxes and boxes from things from school.
Before heading to school at Union from Florida, I went through the majority of my school stuff and recycled a good bit of it. But I still hung on to way too much. Then, after Spencer and I got married, we went through everything as we unpacked. Once again, a good chunk was recycled. And then when we moved from Jackson to Nashville last year, we sorted through what was left of it, and found more to get rid of. We narrowed our collective school stuff down to a small bin. And it felt great!
But looking back, it is funny how at one point what I thought I needed and couldn't get rid of, were the very things that were easily recycled later on. It definitely took me some time to sort through it all. Sometimes time gives us the perspective we need.
We moved just over a month ago, and I stumbled upon a few papers that probably shouldn't have made it through all those previous cut backs. They were just a few papers, so it wasn't a big deal to hang on to, but it still got me thinking as to why I felt like I needed them. Why hadn't I thrown them away before?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized it all goes back to that desire to achieve, to accomplish. Clinging to all those report cards, test scores, and grades revealed that I found my worth and value in my accomplishments. For many years, I over-committed and overachieved because, even if I didn't realize it at the time, I needed to accomplish in order to be of worth and to be respected, to be loved and make others proud. And that translates to trying to earn love. It has taken me several years to realize that. And it will probably take the rest of my life to fight that tendency.
That is why I have to fight for grace.
I have to fight that tendency I have to earn, to achieve, to accomplish, to work. I have to fight to simply receive. The Lord is continually reminding me, grace is not earned but given by Him, gifted by Him. Grace is not something to achieve, it is a gift to receive. I cannot do anything to earn or accomplish grace. And that is the beauty of it, the mystery of it, the majesty of it.
As we try to live more minimalist, it is definitely easier for me to not hold on to things. And as the Lord works in my heart, I am getting better at seeing when I am trying to earn love or acceptance. I am grateful the Lord never gives up on us. And I'm grateful for Grace that not only saves us, but also sanctifies us and sustains us.
May we live today in light of the glorious grace we have been given. May we live with gratitude and joy because of His saving, sanctifying, sustaining grace. May we rest in a grace that isn't earned but gifted.