The Giveaway Box

July 9, 2010

Chris and I are moving into a house this weekend, so as I’ve started packing up our apartment, I’ve once again been tossing unwanted items into a giveaway box.

I love this part of the process. The clearing out, the moving on. I love the feeling of saying no to something when I put it in the box. No, I will not try to fix this. No, I will not keep this shirt that is two sizes too big, or these pants that make my arse look lumpy. No, I will not keep these books that I haven’t read in ten years.

The giveaway box sits in our hallway, accessible to both Chris and I as we pack up our belongings and clean out closets. Every so often, one of us will stop in front of it, peer in, and pick up an item for reconsideration. Very rarely do we decide to keep the item, but that last glance, that last consideration is a necessary part of the vetting process. Call it closure, I guess.

I wish I had a giveaway box for life that I could just toss things into and ship them off. Expectations from other people, classifications that don’t fit, and plans that aren’t in line with my own values or desires. Even though no such physical box exists, I am learning that it is still possible and even necessary to metaphorically “giveaway” those things that I no longer need or want to take with me. This usually means taking time to consider the things I am carrying with me, to examine them closely, to remember where they came from and why it is I have them. It’s a cleansing process, one I find more valuable from year to year.

In Matthew 11:29 Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Some versions of the Bible translate “my yoke” to mean his way of being and doing things (see this verse in The Message Bible). Whichever version of the Bible you prefer, it is clear that Jesus’ way of doing things is better than anyone else’s – better than my method, and definitely better than the latest self-help trend.

What are you carrying with you? What expectations can you set aside? What is weighing on your shoulders that is no longer your burden to bear? Are you doing what God has asked you to do, or what someone else thought was best for you? Take some time today to let go of these things. Trade them instead for the perfect fit that Christ has in mind specifically for you.

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