Updated: May 24
Seven years ago this month, our family moved from a house that seemed too big for us into a house that seems increasingly too small for us. It’s not the house that’s getting smaller. This week we bought our son a pair of size 11 baseball cleats, and based on recent household milk consumption we’ll be in the market for a Holstein.
Plus, we’ve accumulated stuff. We all do. As much as we vow not to, to be purposefully simple, we do. We are continually in de-clutter mode, but we’re not winning the battle. Marie Kondo is really onto something.
“Our souls accumulate stuff, too, pulling it in like a magnet,” writes John Eldredge in Get Your Life Back. We become overloaded, entangled, not only with stuff but also with worries, fears, information, and opinions. Need convincing that we have more reactions than time or energy to express them? Consider our vast vocabulary of emojis.
Now enter in the factor of living in the midst of a pandemic, and a divisive one at that. The entanglement is simply overwhelming.
What a relief it can be to realize that God addresses this fact of our lives. Consistently, the way we are invited to make our way in a world of entanglements is by detaching, and living by the practiced art and grace of detachment.
When a rich young ruler asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life in Luke 18, Jesus asks him to detach from the most powerful entanglements of his life: his wealth. The pattern remains the same elsewhere: to find your life you have to lose it, to live you have to die, to gain the priceless pearl you must sell all you have to buy the field. Even in daily prayer, we discipline ourselves to ask for God’s will and kingdom over our own. Fasting means to go without something in order to gain something better.
Echoing Meister Eckhart, Augustine writes that we must empty ourselves of all that fills us so that we may be filled with what we are empty of.
Even when some detachment seems forced upon us by this pandemic, we can still use it as a laboratory for letting go of our entanglements in order to declutter our souls. How? No secret, just God's invitation - one moment, one decision at a time.
Bob Jacobs is Pastor of Westminster Church, Rapid City. Check out his personal blog at www.brittlecrazyglass.wordpress.com.