Bristle blocks, Lalaloopsy, a magnetic dress-up game—one by one I stuffed them into plastic garbage bags, tied the handles and lugged my load to the garage. This was the annual pre-Christmas purge, when Momma Claus tears through every room and storage bin to sort outgrown toys, broken toys, toys the kids never played with much in the first place. One stash goes to charity, another to the trash. And the house is cleared for a sparkling new haul of happy toys come Christmas morning.
It’s a therapeutic process.
If only my children weren’t hoarders.
“Mom, why is Rainbow Bear in that garbage bag?” My six-year-old looked up at me and blinked.
“I’m giving him away. You don’t need Rainbow Bear anymore.”
“But I love Rainbow Bear!” Her voice raised two octaves, and panic welled in her eyes. “I want to keep him!”
“Sweetheart,” I reasoned, “you haven’t played with Rainbow Bear all year. He’s been packed away in the basement for at least six months and you never once asked for him.”
“Well that’s because I didn’t know he was down there!”
“Exactly my point, lovey dove. You didn’t miss him. You won’t miss him now. Besides, we need to make room for all the fancy new Christmas gifts you’ll be getting soon.”
“But Mom, I really want Rainbow Bear!”
“Okay, then on Christmas morning you can decide which one of your new gifts you want to take back to the store in order to keep Rainbow Bear instead.”
She scrunched her nose, wrinkled her eyebrows, and tucked her chin into her neck. “No. I don’t like that idea.”
“I don’t either,” I chuckled. “Trust me, okay? It’s time to let go of Rainbow Bear.”
Whoa. I should take my own advice.
I hoard stuff, too. Grudges, fears, bad habits, old dreams—things I’ve outgrown and don’t need anymore. They’re worn out, don’t fit, and I’m too smart for them now. Yet I struggle to toss them for good.
If my daughter could only see what’s waiting for her under the tree, I guarantee she’d cast Rainbow Bear into the charity bin herself. School desks for her American Girl dolls! The LEGO Friends café! Bitty Twins, people! Bitty. Twins. Eeeek!
And so it goes with my soul. God wants to bless me. He wants to bless you. But sometimes we have to release the old junk in order to make room for new gifts. Do I really want to hang onto those outgrown anxieties, those hurts, those plans that I realize now may not be the Lord’s best fit for me? Do I trust God enough to let go so he can replace my old stuff with something beautiful and new?
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland,” (Isaiah 43:18–19).
This Christmas, let’s give Jesus a birthday gift. Lay an old “toy” at his feet. Then just watch as he unwraps a better blessing in its place—worth a thousand Rainbow Bears and more.
Will you join me?
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If this post encouraged you, please pass it on. You might also like Goodbye Summer, I Want My House Back, It’s Not a Yawn It’s a Hiccup, and What’s Better Than a Bed Full of Teddy Bears?
Linking up with: Playdates With God, Titus 2sdays, Tuesdays Unwrapped, Wedded Wednesday, Grace at Home, Thriving Thursdays, and Things I Can’t Say.
Joanne Viola says
I love what you shared here. Yes, I want to let go of some of the old to make plenty of room of what the Lord will yet do! So glad that I visited from Tues. Unwrapped :)Blessings!
Thank you so much for visiting from Emily’s place, Joanne! Merry Christmas!
Becky I have seen those faces on my sons at that age! And yes, I too am a hoarder of worn out attitudes and actions. Love the image of laying down an ‘old toy’ as a gift for Jesus. I must decrease that He might increase. Thank you for the reminder!
Ah, love that – yes, I must decrease. Thanks for that scripture association, Lisa. Blessings!
Joe Pote says
Yes, letting go is essential. Letting go of past hurts, letting go of disappointments, letting go of labels, letting go of wrong perceptions…
I think a large part of deliverance is learning to let go and trust.
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts, Joe! Merry Christmas!
Great idea, Becky!
“Trust me, ok? It’s ok to let go…” That is an abundance of divine wisdom there!
If only it were as easy to do as it is to say! Thanks for reading, Steve!
We do this every year. We clear out the old toys and clothes and we give them to local charities. It took a while to get my boys “in the spirit” of it – but I think my oldest is getting it.
It felt so good to unload those bags of toys and clothes at the donation drop-off last week. I like to picture some other child enjoying Rainbow Bear this Christmas. 🙂
Jo @ Real Married Life says
Ever since we got married, we’ve been good about pitching anything we didn’t like or didn’t have a good purpose – even if it was a well meaning gift. Small apartment = hatred of clutter! De-cluttering my life can be a bit more complicated… Good thoughts and challenges!
Wow, Jo, that’s an excellent practice to maintain. I wish we were more regular about de-cluttering… it might make the task much easier. But you’re right, getting rid of the non-tangible junk is a lot harder. Thanks for reading!
Tondra Denise says
Yes, yes, and more yes! This post really speaks to my heart… thank you!
Merry Christmas, Tondra!
I really needed to hear this, Becky! I’ve been convicted lately about how I’ve continued to hang on to some “ages old” hurts, even as I do a “series on forgiveness” over at my place! ha! Yes, it’s time to hand them over and not dig them back up from the long-ago past. Love this and will be sharing! Merry Christmas to you, sweet friend!
Funny how God convicts us about the very topics we’re writing on, isn’t it, Beth? I’ve been thinking about you – I hope you have a very Merry Christmas with your family by your side!
Christine at More Than Mommies says
I totally relate to this post as we purged a few weeks ago. You make a wonderful point about giving things up and getting something even better in return. Thanks for making me feel a little lighter! Visiting from Pour Your Heart out.
Thanks for stopping by, Christine! Have a wonderful Christmas, clutter-free (for now, anyway). 🙂
Kendra Burrows says
I needed this a lot today! And yesterday… Thank you!
Thank you for reading, Kendra! Blessings!
You know one of the things I love most about this time of year is that you feel like you get a new start and get to rid yourself of whatever junk you accumulated over the past year. lovely post.
I completely agree, Julia. There’s something beautiful about fresh starts. Merry Christmas and happy New Year!