Overflowing with Over-Abundance

— by Jackie Beeler —

Jackie BeelerIf you ever run into me on a hiking trail, you might notice that I tend to carry belongings with me that are roughly equal to my size.

My tendency to over-pack (I prefer to call it “being prepared”) is reflective of my subconscious belief that my belongings will alleviate stressful situations.

Bored on the trail? No problem, I have a choice of five books to read.

Random blizzard to hit the mountains in July? Never fear, I have packed a winter coat for every friend… and enough food to keep us fed for a week, even if a blizzard hasn’t hit in July in hundreds of years.

At times this can be helpful, but more often than not, it’s far from practical. My small frame physically suffers from the weight of belongings that I never even needed.

By mid-trip, I find myself tired and frustrated that the control I perceived from “having more” was a false reality. I become a slave to the weight that I carry on my back.

Of course, at home, I am not carrying my physical belongings on my back – but the lesson is no less true Everyday, I drag around the weight of too much stuff, too many choices, too much maintenance and not enough time.

When I participate in the Overflow Project’s 50 day challenge and make small choices to simplify my life, I begin to grasp how much I choose to carry on a regular basis. The act of giving up coffee, for example, releases me of physical addiction and the financial obligation that comes with it. Inviting friends into my home instead of going out to happy hour allows me to be more intentional about my presence and less concerned about my surroundings and finances.

These small, intentional steps slowly help me realize how I’ve bought into the consumerism lie – the truth is that after a certain point, none of the objects I own (nor many of the financial habits that I deem necessary) bring me any more happiness or control. On the contrary, my surplus of belongings and obligations begins to control me.

The 50 day challenge is beautiful in that it demonstrates to me that I am not stuck carrying this load forever. When I allow God to open my fists and free me of the financial and material burdens that I choose to carry, I have more to give. Without the added weight of extra things, I am free to enjoy the journey… the rest will be taken care of.

This is the second post in a Friday series about The Overflow Project leading up to the 50 Day Challenge starting on Easter. Periodically during the 50 days, various Challenge participants with share how they are taking the challenge and what they’re learning.
If you decide to take the challenge and would like to share your story, please contact us at Mustard Seed Associates.