Making Room for Us: The Importance of Managing the Stuff Monster

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Last weekend some friends came down to visit.  I was standing in the kitchen busy doing something, when Gavin asked me for help.  My quick response, “Just a minute buddy, mommy has to…and then I paused.  But, with saddened eyes and a low tone he filled in the blank for me, “do stuff?”

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Really.  That is what he thinks I do.  Stuff.  But at that moment it hit me.  I DO STUFF.  Not only do I DO stuff, I have too much stuff.  I spend more of my time managing my STUFF than I do enjoying the people around me.  Now, don’t get me wrong, as mamas we have a lot of “stuff” to do.  We are managing an entire household and all the people in it and raising a generation of future leaders, encouragers, lovers and, by God’s grace…believers!  We have A LOT on our plates.

But, is the “stuff” in our lives, taking priority?  It was like a lightbulb came on for me.  I’m tired of moving stuff, managing stuff, putting away stuff.  I decided that I’m tired of talking about how much “stuff” I have to do and instead I’m going to start eliminating some of the unnecessary “stuff” in my life.  And isn’t that the reality?  Much of our “stuff” is NOT necessary.  I am putting on a new pair of lenses.  I have been praying for God to give me new vision for what is important and what is not in my home and in my life.

I want to LIVE DIFFERENTLY.

Today and forever.  I want to be that person, be that family that others see as “different” and that God sees as being obedient.  I want to enjoy my children, spending time with them, being creative with them, helping them to see the genuine, God created beauty in this world and not be consumed with products and materialism.

They already at 2 and 3 have a well developed “wanter”: “Mama, I want that!  I want a new batman house!  I want a batman cape!  I want that… (any toy they see at Target)!”  They are foolish, just as we are.  They have learned that when you want something, you get it.  I honestly believe we are all born with a “wanter”.  It’s always been there.  But just like any sinful part of our nature, we must learn to control it.  But sadly, they are imitators.  They watch our behavior.  They learn from watching us.

Do we have our “wanters” in check?  Or are we guilty of feeling like we have to get what we want.  For most of us, life in America isn’t about getting what we need, it’s about getting what we want.  And sadly, we generally feel entitled to get what we want.  What we don’t realize is we have masked the lie by slightly changing the words.  Instead of “I WANT a new TV”, we say, ” I NEED a new TV”.  We have convinced ourselves that our wants are indeed needs that need to be met.

Oh, how sad a generation that we have created.  I am as guilty as everyone.  I enjoy being comfortable and running to Target is way too easy to buy what I “need”.  But when I walk out of Target and spend $100 every time I visit, am I really just feeding my “wanter”?  Because the truth is, the more we have, the more we want.  There is always some new gadget or item that will make our lives easier, less stressful, and more comfortable.  So then, after we have accumulated all these gadgets, why aren’t our lives any easier, less stressful or more comfortable?

So, my mission is to live differently.  What does that look like for me?  For my family?  It looks, well,……different.  In so many areas of my life.  Praise God He isn’t changing me all at once.  Whew!  Thankfully He works on us with love and grace and equips us to pursue the life HE desires for us, the life that we were meant to live.

So, I am waging war with the stuff monster that has invaded my home.  It has been keeping me hostage with busyness and spinning my wheels for so long, it’s grown to a pretty good size.  But, if not now, when?

So, my first battle…the toy department that has overtaken my house.  Now, let me be very clear, I have nothing against toys, but we my children live with excess.  I’ve tried to decrease the toy inventory in our home in the past, but honestly, I have become more attached to their toys than they have.  I always feel guilty.  But after last weekend, the light came on and I knew it was time.  No, I didn’t get rid of all their toys.  They still have more than I think they need, but I took probably 1/3 of their toys upstairs.  It’s been almost a week.  Do you think they have missed them or even noticed they are gone?  Nope.  Not one comment about a missing toy.  I honestly haven’t decided yet whether to just get rid of them or rotate them with the ones that remain.  I’ll probably do a little of both.

The reality: Toys are not important to our children.  We are.  Those precious cherubs will always ask for more things, but they really are craving and needing more time with us.  Now, as a mom we cannot, nor should we spend every waking hour  with our children.  They need independence and play time away from us for sure.  Nor do we cater to their every demand when they verbalize their immediate needs.  But for me, my “stuff” was keeping me stressed and constantly mentally focused on what needed to be done.  When I was playing with kids, it was because I was taking a break from doing my “stuff”.  My main objective seems to be my to-do list.  My ever growing to-do list.  The to-do list will ALWAYS be there.  Always.  And forever, I might add.  But my children will not.  Someone reminded me today as her son was getting ready to graduate from college that my children will be gone sooner than I can even imagine.  I don’t want to miss these moments.  I don’t want to look back and think, “Wow, I just lived stressed out and never caught up and focused on the wrong moments.”

And let me assure you this definitely isn’t about removing toys so I can have a spotless house.  I’m not interested in that.  Really.  I have three children age 3 and under.  My house will never be spotless.  My house will never be completely picked up.  Thank goodness.  I have children!! I want my children to be creative and use our home in that process.  I want them to drag their boxes around and play pretend.  I want our house to be THEIR HOME, for their enjoyment and growth.

My objective is to remove the “stuff” so that we can make room for us.  I have been emotionally pushing the most important people in my life to the side, so “stuff” can take priority.  And I keep doing it.  Isn’t that the definition of insanity?  To keep doing the same thing and expect different results?

I have a framed copy of our family mission statement on our wall and it says this:

The Perez Family Purpose Statement

We will trust God and make people and relationships more important than accomplishing tasks.

God has called us to make people important.  What God says is important.   I am on a mission to remove the clutter, the “stuff”, to make room in our home for the people that God placed here.  Why go to the effort of creating and displaying a purpose statement if I’m not going to live it?  Why claim to believe in a God who is loving and gracious, if I don’t show it?  Why pray for children, if I’m not going to be fully present to enjoy them? One word: hypocrisy.  Ouch.

From our front porch you can see the beautiful Texas sunsets.  Last night we sat on our front step and watched the sun go down.  It was a beautiful, peaceful moment.  The kids were running around us just laughing and playing.  Then they sat in our laps and just snuggled into our arms.  And as I held them close and looked out over the setting golden sun, God gently whispered in my heart…THIS is what is important.  Make room for this.  I looked down at their beautiful, smiling eyes.  I’m sure I heard from their hearts…Make room for us.  

How has “stuff” taken over in your home?  Please help me and share what you have done to make room for your family!  I look forward to hearing how God has been touching your hearts!

About Alissa Perez

Welcome! I'm Alissa, a mother to 3 adorable children, married to my best friend and an ever aspiring homemaker. I love to read, to learn all I can and to write about my life.

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