Considering my possessions with a discriminating eye can certainly make life more complicated.
Today I planned on getting rid of stuff but instead I went shopping. Thankfully they are consumable goods and I won't have to evaluate them for long; groceries. I never find shopping with four children to be a simple task. Things often spin out of control as we traverse the aisles. One hand on the cart, one hand holding a baby who is on the verge of fussiness. Today I wanted to put on a good face. I may be a harried homemaker but I didn't want to look like one. So in preparation for our shopping excursion I got dressed. Now that may not seem like much of an accomplishment to you but I have interchangeable dayclothes and nightclothes. They look so much the same, no one can tell the difference. Except for my oldest daughter of course. While we are standing in line to check out she will suddenly notice my "outfit" and will ask me in her high pitched six year old voice, "Mommy, why are you still wearing your pajamas?"
So I made the effort and put on a nice white button up blouse and an almost matching white skirt. "Pretty good," I thought. "I don't look rundown or all that overweight. This was a good choice." I was feeling relatively attractive and put together as we browsed the aisles of our nearest health food store. That is until my oldest daughter started laughing and pointing at my newborn son. "Mommy," she said "the baby has spit up all over him." Why this was funny, I do not know. I do know however, that it caused me to look down and realize that not only was he splattered with spit up so was my shirt. Then as I turned him around I noticed the distinct smell of baby poop. Not a terrible smell as poop goes, but distinct all the same. Upon closer inspection it became apparent that his adorable cloth diaper cover had not done it's job. I had a mustard yellow stain smeared on my white shirt where his little bottom had been pressed against me. Goodbye to "relatively attractive and put together," and hello to "harried housewife".
Although I may have suddenly looked like one I didn't feel like one. Wearing a bemused smile, I said to myself. "This is what I get for focusing on the outward instead of my heart." At the slightest sign of vanity, God always seems to give me a gentle, and often humorous reminder of where my thoughts should be. "Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning...of putting on of apparel, but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."
1 Peter 3:3-4
Wouldn't my life be simpler if I wasn't concerned about what people may think of me because of my clothing?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:28-33
If I want to simplify my life, I need to seek first his kingdom. Changing out of my pajamas and looking presentable is certainly not a sin but if that is what makes me feel good about myself I have really pinned my hopes on the wrong thing.
I guess as I spend the next few weeks evaluating my possessions, I should consider my attitudes towards them as well. This may be tougher then I thought.