Thursday, November 26, 2020 00:44

Stuff I Learned about Stuff

no new stuff, stewardship, materialism, temptation

What gets your attention gets you. And this 30-Day Challenge to buy NO NEW STUFF really grabbed me.  We have achieved the goal of NO NEW STUFF and in the process my life has been changed.

I’ve heard it said that it takes 21 days or so to form a new habit.  And so, I think that 30 days is a long enough period to alter my lifestyle.  It’s true, neither Litsa nor I was addicted to buying stuff when we began this challenge, so in some ways it was perhaps easier than if we had been shopaholics.  Nonetheless, a 30-day focus on NO NEW STUFF has changed us.

First, it has made us more acutely aware of all the stuff we have.  We moved to Denver after our honeymoon pulling a small U-Haul behind our old Plymouth Fury.  All our earthly possessions fit into roughly 300 cubic feet.  Now we’ve filled a 2000 square-foot house and 2-car garage plus basement.  We’ve managed to accumulate some stuff.

Second, this challenge has caused me to start getting rid of stuff.  I’ve been giving stuff away over the past couple of weeks and it’s been fun.  Even refreshing.  It feels good to divest myself of some excess.

I have learned that I have more than I need and that marketing makes it hard to resist the temptation for more.  Yet, the problem is not really marketing; it’s the appeal to my inner insufficiencies that gives marketing power.  The more I keep my focus on the sufficiency of Christ, the less prone I am to give in to temptation of any kind.

And yet, 21st-century America is organized as a consumer society with planned obsolescence and constant innovation built-in.  So, constant exposure to marketing and new stuff is unavoidable.  Today, “keeping up with the Joneses” is not the only issue.  Honestly, I don’t care too much about the Joneses.  But keeping up with new technology is a real concern.  While I may be perfectly content on a personal level with an older cell phone or an older version of computer software, there is a need to keep up with the technology.  I am afraid of falling too far behind.  I am afraid of being irrelevant.  I am afraid of not being able to service churches and individuals who do have the latest.  The dilemma for me is figuring out what technology is really needed.  Some is only faddish, some is not mainstream, and some is only cool but not necessary.

Two things seem to help me resist unnecessary stuff.  One is to minimize exposure to my greatest temptations.  (Books being one.)  And second is to force myself to look at stuff from a long-range perspective.  If it’s going to just add to my piles, then I don’t really need it.  I’ve got to use it, and use it often, for it to be truly justified.  This applies even to books.  If I’m only going to read it once, then I don’t really need to purchase it.  If I know it will be a resource I will refer to often and use directly in my consulting practice, then it falls into a different category.

It’s been good to learn about myself and the attraction of stuff through this challenge.  Anthony Robbins said, “Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.”  For 30 days we’ve focused on this area.  We’ve done well.  Time will tell if it’s really mastered.

Thanks for following our journey on this 30-Day Challenge to buy NO NEW STUFF.  If you’re on the RSS feed, you’ll still get my Excelerator! blogs as they are posted.  And I plan to keep blogging periodically on all things related to stewardship, so stay tuned.  There’s more good stuff to come.

Questions:  What have you learned about stuff and it's attraction for you personally?  What helps you to resist the pull of stuff?  Someone suggested I put modified versions of this 30-day blog into an e-book and/or small printed booklet.  Would that be helpful for others or would it be just more stuff in the world?  What's your opinion?

Day 31: NEW STUFF = 0

© 2011, Linden Kirby, Excel Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. 

2 Responses to “Stuff I Learned about Stuff”

  1. We did it~
    Our kids managed and were not deprived…maybe a little, but oh, what character it built!!! Even though we are done, we haven't gone on any shopping sprees, and don't plan to. I don't have the desire. I want new clothes, but plan to alter/embellish the old ones. I am eager to make more gifts, since I love to create. The hours not spent shopping are well used in our abundantly stocked basement craft studio! When I create, I am using the gifts God gave me.
    I  would love an ebook!

  2. Linda Kirby says:

    I'm slow reading about the end of your journey here.  I think I will try it after vacation.  I am kind of on a semi-journey now.  Trying to think "do we need" or just want, and that goes for the kinds of food I am buying and other products.  Been riding my bike more and making less trips and planning meals better.  Hopefully it will result in less.  I'm also going around trying to use up things we already have, even if I might not like the product.