A Hoarding Pandemic
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Have you noticed that some things are just hard to get rid of. Most of us have a box of mementos sitting on a shelf that we just can’t part with. Many guys find it hard to throw away nuts, bolts, nails, screws, and lumber because they are convinced they will need it one day. To some degree, we are all hoarders. With a new year about to begin, maybe it’s time to unclutter our lives. Please read more.
Were you aware that hoarding is a diagnosable condition? The following information was found on the Mayo Clinic website.
“Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.
Hoarding often creates such cramped living conditions that homes may be filled to capacity, with only narrow pathways winding through stacks of clutter. Countertops, sinks, stoves, desks, stairways and virtually all other surfaces are usually piled with stuff. And when there’s no more room inside, the clutter may spread to the garage, vehicles, yard, and other storage facilities.
Hoarding ranges from mild to severe. In some cases, hoarding may not have much impact on your life, while in other cases it seriously affects your functioning on a daily basis.
People with hoarding disorder may not see it as a problem, making treatment challenging. But intensive treatment can help people with hoarding disorder understand how their beliefs and behaviors can be changed so that they can live safer, more enjoyable lives.”
This past week I was cleaning out and throwing away old files and other office stuff that I had accumulated over my forty-year career in the life insurance business. Even though I have been disabled and away from that career for the past eight years, it took me until now to finally be able to part with this stuff. I guess there were just too many memories attached to it.
Sadly, we don’t just hoard physical things. We also fill our heart, mind, soul, and our lives with many things. We become overly attached to certain activities and hobbies. We hold on too tightly to our past mistakes. Our thoughts become consumed by bad memories and regrets. We become addicted to smoking, drinking, gambling, drugs, pornography, and other sensory pleasures. All of these things work to crowd out God. We can become so wrapped up with STUFF, that our spiritual life is reduced to just a couple of minutes of prayer each day and one hour of church every Sunday.
In Luke 12:15 Jesus said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” We don’t only become greedy for things; we become greedy with our time. The only time we have is the time God gives us and yet, we often give so little back to Him in return. Our time for God is crowded out by the things we hoard. A quick look at the many things that distract us from God tells us that mankind is in the midst of a hoarding pandemic.
Just like with physical hoarding, these other forms of hoarding range from mild to severe. I know I have clutter in my life. Do you? As hoarders, we have stuff filling every crevasse of our life, so much so, that when Jesus comes knocking at the door to our heart, we are forced to respond, “I am sorry but there is no room for you in the inn.”
With a new year on the horizon, now is a good time to take an inventory of our clutter. The first and greatest commandment says, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” If God is going to occupy primacy in our heart, mind, and soul, we inevitably need to clear some things out of our life.
In these remaining days before the end of the year, we would all be well advised to pray over this question. What things am I hoarding or holding onto that need to be purged, so that God can truly be number one in my life?
Heavenly Father, forgive me for crowding you out with meaningless and inconsequential things. Forgive me for hording my time. Grant me the courage to clean the clutter. Help me to always keep you first in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!
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Another coincidence? I was planning to do my next reflection about faith and photography with the title “Letting It Go”.
My heart breaks for the people I’ve seen on TV shows like “H0arders”, and yet I can relate. I may not be emotionally attached to every little thing, but I am somewhat lazy in doing the work of clearing things out. I actually don’t like shopping, not only because I hate deciding what to buy, but because I don’t want to add to the stuff that clutters my life already.
I then think of the rich man who asks Jesus what he must do, and Jesus tells him to sell what he has and give to the poor. (Mark 10:17-31) The rich man left sad because he didn’t think he could part with his possessions.
This should make us ask ourselves if we really have what we call the “nice things” or do the “nice things” really have us?
Faith, Hope, and Love,
Hi Brian, It is still Christmas Octave, so I can still wish you a Merry Christmas! Thank you for the timely letter. I pray that this will help me to get this mess cleaned up! Love you, brother. Ernie
Amen Brother! What a perfect message to start the New Year, thank you for the reminder!