I, like many of you, are using the days after Thanksgiving to get ready for Christmas. I no longer go Black Friday shopping so I use that time to put my Fall decorations away and bring down my Christmas decorations from the attic.

And according to the amount of decorations that I have, I must really like Christmas.

Growing up, my mother decorated for each season, LIKE THE WHOLE HOUSE, and as her oldest daughter, I have obviously felt the need to continue her legacy. On Friday I brought my bins of snowmen and trees and wreaths all down from the attic and one by one, I got them out and some I just wasn’t so into, but I put them out anyway. Then I took them down. Then I took down some more. 

It’s possible to NOT FEEL a Christmas decoration.

The beginning of October I cleaned out our bedroom. I took everything out in preparation of painting. EVERYTHING as in ALL. I painted our walls, shampooed our carpets and cleaned our windows. Once our bedroom furniture was in, I was left with bins of STUFF and left with the decision of what to let go of and what to hold onto.

Some of these belongings just wouldn’t fit. The walls and the bedding were a different color, the dressers were not the same. Some of the stuff I had really never wanted but was gifted therefore displayed and most of the items were from like twenty years ago; old watches, my children’s first teeth, old notes, socks and belts…pants that would never again see the light of day. Over the years, I had gone through and cleaned out but there is nothing quite like taking it ALL out and then deciding what gets put back in…becuase it all doesn’t have to.

Taking those snowman down that I didn’t want really got me thinking about how important it is not to hold onto to things that don’t carry value or are no longer us. Maybe years ago, cute little ceramic decorations were me, maybe they brought me great joy or maybe they were just THERE and then somehow HERE in my home, but I am no longer at a place in life were I’m looking for fillers. I know what I want and am not going to settle for anything less than. I’m all about compromise but I’m no longer about settling. There’s a difference.

The entirety of my life I have kept things, even relationships with people, because I though I HAD to. I remember my mother gave me my deceased grandmothers ceramic white cat when she passed away because I apparently liked it when I was a child. I brought that thing home and could not, for the love, understand WHAT it is was doing in my house. For a few weeks it sat there all out of place and stared at me and I loathed it each day more and more till eventually I got the guts up to remove it all together. BUT IT’S YOUR GRANDMOTHERS….I could hear the voices in my head trying to make me feel bad. Not having it. All the sentiments in the world could not make me love that cat enough to keep it.

Friends, stuff is easy to get rid of. You just get your brutality on and decide what’s important and what’s not, you grab some bags and open up the back of your vehicle and TA-DAH. You drive that stuff far, far away. People on the other hand, not so easy. You cannot pick up your relatives or your friends and stuff them in grocery bags and throw them in the back of your Jeep …though it’s tempting at times. You cannot go by your feelings, absolutely not. Try your very best to keep yourself open to everyone you encounter and hold each of them in your hands, one-hearted. Some will stay with you over the course of time, some will ebb and flow in and out and there WILL be seasons when some just can’t stay. I’m learning to ask Holy Spirit, the voice inside of me that whispers to my heart, WHO is to be in my life in THIS season. SHOW ME. 

And He always does.

Somewhere along the way I have believed the lie that I have to. I have to keep everything…I have to do everything…I have to be for everyone. In reality, the only thing I have to is be true to myself and the only way I know what is true FOR ME, is to spend time with Jesus and continually ask Him…

What stay and what goes?

Who.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.” – Proverbs 4:23 The Message