I am one of those people who can have a tough time decluttering. I do not have a problem getting rid of the item itself. The challenge lies in letting go of what it represents. The challenge is the emotional attachment it harbors.
For instance, as I am sitting here typing this blog post, I can see a mug that says, “I love you” on the front and “With all my heart on the back.” I do not think I will ever be able to get rid of it because it is the mug my husband used to propose to me. In fact, I’ve never had coffee in the mug. It simply sits as decoration.
I know some people who think I should use the mug because of the emotional attachment behind it. But, that same emotional attachment that will not let me rid of it is the same attachment that says do not use it.
That same scenario is the exact flux of emotion I feel for people, only it is stronger. For instance, I have had a handful of jobs. Leaving each job is hard, not because I will miss what I do or where I work, but because I will desperately miss the people. I will miss the connections I made.
The longer I stay at a job, the harder it is. If I have not said so or if you have not been here long enough to figure it out, I am a deeply emotionally rooted person. I haven’t always been that way. But, once I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart, I simply have not been the same.
So, yes, the emotional person I am cannot stand goodbyes. I cannot stand even slightly severing an emotional connection, even if it for something good such as growth or a better opportunity. I do not even want to know what I will be like if and when I leave my current job. I love the people there a great amount.
But, that is for another day and another time. Nevertheless, it does not change the challenge behind the message of necessary growth and change.
We need change and growth in our lives. But, we also need consistency. Sometimes, we can welcome the change. Other times, it catches us off guard. Regardless, I am not saying this change should be as drastic as changing jobs either. It could simply be trying a new menu item or getting that shirt or outfit that completely defies one’s norms.
I’ve slowly started to realize, though, welcomed change or not, does not affect the quality of a relationship. It does not change the memories, the bond, or the experiences one shares with another. With enough intention on both ends, it only becomes stronger. But, even if life gets ahead of us, the true meaningful relationships will stick.
How do I know this? Because I experienced it recently. I recently reconnected with someone I used to work with. It was for a school assignment, nonetheless. But, we reconnected for a few short moments. In those short moments, this person taught me that no matter where God leads me in life, she will always be there. She will not forget the time we shared as colleagues.
As I look at the mug that means so much to me, I tell you this, no object, place, or job will severe the most meaningful emotional bonds you carry with others. They may slowly grow to something deeper, or they may go their own ways, but they will not entirely fade away.
They will leave an imprint. They will matter.
My challenge to you is this: Go through the clutter in your belongings. Figure out what’s keeping you from getting rid of it. If it’s not emotional attachment or absolutely necessity, then consider donating it to someone else who may find a new meaning for it.
If it is something with an emotional attachment to it, examine the attachment behind it. Is it a necessary constant reminder? Now, I am not saying you have to get rid of everything, regardless of the emotional reason behind it.
Preserving people and memories is beautiful. I value and treasure it myself.
But, I do ask you to be wary of if that item, place, or job is keeping you in a cage of your past. Is it keeping you from experiencing the wonderful future God has for you? If so, do not be afraid to talk with someone or even have someone else who loves you to come alongside you and help declutter.
Don’t live in the cage of your past. Rather, look to the open window of a bright future. God’s carrying you through, dear friend.