…is that bad? Wrong? Unbiblical? These are questions I’ve wrestled with all summer as we moved 97% of our belongings into storage to live a bit more nomadic-ally. I thought I had come to a good place with the topic of “stuff” and examining my heart with how I viewed our things, but I don’t yet think I’ve arrived in a sound, Biblical place with this yet.
Today, we found out the storage unit housing that 97% statistic of our worldly possessions took on water from overland flooding after that horrendous downpour/tornado warning two nights ago. I’ve heard that storm dumped between 2-3 inches of rain in the FM area in under an hour. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. (A side note: Aaron and I slept right through the whole thing – I figure that’s a great thing until the time when a tornado warning around here actually produces a destructive tornado. At that point, I will very much so wish we slept a bit more lightly…)
Two bad things came of that storm: our tomato plants that were MONSTROUS, and by monstrous, I mean as tall as I am (almost 6′-0″) bent over. From closer inspection, none of the limbs snapped, but the cages we had around these wooly mammoths aren’t keeping up holding all the weight of these four plants, so I THINK they will survive. Well, can tomato plants survive if they’ve almost bent in half as long as the limbs haven’t snapped off? I guess we shall see…
The other most recent discovery as an outcome of that storm was the crazy overland flooding in parts of the city simply because the city drainage system couldn’t keep up with the rate the rain was falling. I saw friends post photos on Facebook of streets that looked like lakes with water coming several feet up their driveways. And I was thankful (at least from those I know) no water made it into the homes. Then I received an email this morning saying our storage unit manager had heard the overland flooding was pretty bad in the neighborhood of our location, so get over to check things out to see if your unit had any water in it. It’s just down the road from where I work, so I ran there over lunch today. We had taken on some water in our unit and from the little bit of digging I could do in my work clothes, some water still remains in the back half of the unit.
Not knowing much else at the moment, what exactly took on water and was damaged, or what our next steps would be, I came back to the office to make some calls. Because how on earth do you dry out a unit like that when you can’t leave the door open and unattended. Where would you move all that stuff? Our rental manager also didn’t know, so I’m currently waiting for a call from the property maintenance guy. I’m praying he has a good idea of how to proceed. And our renter’s insurance was moved to our unit, but of course those types of insurance don’t cover flooding of any kind…
Stuff is just stuff, right? I keep trying to press that into my head and heart right now. I thought it was bad enough earlier this summer to have to put it all away for several months; now I’m sitting here wishing that were still the case. What keeps rolling around in my head is Jesus’ call to his disciples. He asked them to leave everything behind and follow Him. Sounds simple enough, right? I find myself realizing here I thought I held a pretty loose view of our things. Aaron and I have always used whatever we’ve been entrusted with to be able to invite people into our home, to love on them and share Jesus with them. We’ve also always lived a very simple life – not extravagant or lavish by any means. Simple with the ability to have one or 12 people over and share life together.
I’ve always wondered what would happen if I was asked to give up everything like those first disciples were asked. I think I’ve just realized although I’ve asked myself that question often, I’ve never really examined my heart in that and been OK with the answer. I want to be able to shout YES! and not even look back at what I was leaving behind. But I’m not there. (Another side note: I realize there’s more to what Jesus was asking of his disciples than leaving their tangible “things” behind, but part of what He asked of them was leaving those things they held dear: their jobs, homes, friends, and possessions.) I’d say those tangible things would be the easier things to leave for those 12 men. They were leaving behind all they knew as life, theology, beliefs, everything – and following Jesus. They saw far more value, importance, and true life in a life with Jesus, no matter the cost than they did in those worldly things.
If I can’t even let go (completely go) of these tangible things we’ve been entrusted with, what am I holding onto in my life. Why do I view these things, places, people as more important than following the One who offers redemption, grace, and a life I know I’ve only scratched the surface of. I don’t think Jesus is asking us to pick up and move to South Africa (although after we learned RC was partnering with a new A29 plant there, our hearts were definitely stirred…) or maybe He is doing that now, I don’t know. Really, it doesn’t matter what the logistics of things are. Every day, He asks me to hand over my life and everything in it. Relinquish control. Trust. Hard things for me to do. But oh-so good things for me to do.
My thoughts have been all over the place in this post; for that, I am sorry. But you won’t ever get perfection from me. Today’s post is straight from the heart with tears threatening to spill over. We don’t know yet how much of our “stuff” was damaged beyond saving, but my prayer today is that I can stand before those around us and say in full honesty, it doesn’t matter. Nothing is valuable in this life; this place is not our home. I want to be able to be willing to at every moment lay myself and all that’s attached to me down and follow Jesus. It won’t always looks dramatic and life-altering the way it was for those first disciples. It could be as simple as talking with the guy who makes your coffee every morning or the person sitting next to you at work. It doesn’t matter what, as long as my heart is always willing to follow Jesus instead of myself.
So today, our wet storage unit has revealed far more than the loss of things. I’m not sure yet if I think it’s OK to even be mourning the loss of that stuff, but I’m thankful for this situation to open my eyes to another sinful and very disastrous area of my heart. I’ll let you know what happens, yes with our unit, but more importantly, how the Gospel is pressed deeper into my heart and life because of this. I can’t wait to share!