Breaking the Allure of "Stuff"

Originally published Monday, 30 July 2012.

I've been thinking a lot about stuff lately. "Stuff," as in things and objects and items and the role they play in my life. And how much they mean to me.

I realized this awhile ago when my day-old laptop got stuck on the Windows update screen for hours. This had happened to my previous computer and there was nothing we could do but wipe it and start over.

While my new computer was fresh and starting over from scratch wouldn't be a problem (everything was already backed up on our external hard drive), I hated the idea of shipping it off. The idea of taking my new computer, which was supposed to make things easier, and box it up and get it worked on already. It's one thing when it's already made it through a couple of years, because you expect that. But less than 24 hours?!

I'm embarrassed to admit I cried at the thought.

And it was that moment when I realized the emotional attachment I had to this thing, the unhealthy control it had over me. It's one thing to despair over a life or hard circumstances, but things—no matter their price tag—certainly do not deserve to fall into that category. And I had unwittingly allowed it to creep into that dangerous territory.

It was definitely a heart-check for me to be able to see this situation and my reaction in this light. Humbling but also enlightening. And from it, I found a renewed calm and decided to not let this circumstance or this thing rule over me and my emotions and my reactions.

I got on my husband's computer, did some research and found one suggestion for fixing the problem. I prayed and decided to try it myself. What do you know, but it worked? And all that emotion had been spilled out for nothing—except that it taught me a terribly important lesson that I've tried to hold dear in the weeks since.

Then, the other morning, I woke up early with big plans to go on a baking spree, cranking out bagels and bread and pizza dough. And after I threw the ingredients in, I could tell something was wrong. It wasn't making the churning sound I was accustomed to. I opened it up to see a chunky mound of flour and the machine making a clicking sound, but not the large doughy ball I'm used to seeing. I resigned myself to the fact that it had broken.

But this time, rather than despairing, I pulled the dough out and kneaded it by hand. I took control of the thing rather than letting it control me.

And then, with my dough swelling and rising, I decided to test the machine out one last time before I started looking into other options. As it turns out, some dough had got stuck to the paddle and had kept it from chugging and churning. It wasn't broken after all. No emotions spilled out, and some arm muscles got an unexpected workout.

So I went ahead, threw my next batch of bread-baking in and thanked God for this latest lesson of His.

Carmen writes the blog, Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twentysomething woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be. Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons."

Feel free to learn more at her blog, Life Blessons.

Related Posts from Life Blessons
Breaking Down over a Broken Computer