Friday, April 29, 2011

Sell all you stuff - it's worth it- would I lie to you?

We sold or gave up almost all of our possessions when we moved to Sudan. I used to hear stories of other people doing this sort of thing (you know told in awe) and I would think “yeah, big deal” or “what a pain in the a**”. I’d also heard the "how romantic/how freeing" sentiment and could understand that.

When we made the decision to move to Sudan I didn’t think twice about how it would feel to lose everything I owned. Don’t laugh but I’ve never thought of myself as materialistic. Prior to my career in fashion I had never paid more than $30 for a pair of jeans. My apartment was decorated solely in items either given to me or found at thrift stores. It had a vintage feel, but not in a cool hipster or shabby chic sort of way, more like a creepy cat lady way. So I never really expected to identify getting rid of all our stuff as one of the hardest things about moving to Sudan.

I’m not sentimental either. I don’t keep cards or letters, my photo collection fits in a shoe box. Most items from my childhood burnt up in a fire a few years back and I didn’t shed a tear, but I’m telling you I cried nightly as items left our home eight months ago.

Now granted, I had a wardrobe I loved and the likes of which I will never have again. It was personally handpicked (by myself) from every designer in the country and had a retail value of over $15,000. Each item had a special memory, all of a sweet time in my life when I owned a successful women’s boutique, worked with my best friends, and met my husband and Jesus. As each item was sold or given away I felt myself go with it and wondered if the new owner was worthy.

There is a saying that I think most people are familiar with that goes “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Simple enough right? The rich are bad and can’t get to heaven – sweet. deal. No problem for me ‘cause I’m not rich. I really always filed this saying under weird things Christians quote.

Then after all my items were gone I found myself reading and weeping. What Jesus is actually saying here is giving up all your stuff freaking sucks and it is likely if you try to follow God, at some point he may ask you to do just that and you probably won’t want to.

The good news is life goes on; I’m making new memories with the new things I own. Best of all I never worry or stress about losing my things, I have a freedom from trying to constantly obtain stuff or worry about my appearance.

Oh man, I’m totally lying to you. I hold on to things tighter than ever knowing how precious they are and how hard they are to replace. I think of things I want all the time and I hate my clothes.

Maybe someone out there more virtuous than me and can tell me how to get that “freedom” and “romance” other people feel when they give it all away.


  1. I was listening to this song today:
    I was thinking about how our whole family could sing it as an ensemble. When we came home from our visit with you, man the kids where clinging to their stuff like never before... Kevin and I are in that glass house too, so we won't be throwing any stones.

  2. Sarah, I love it when you post (even if it takes me a while to get to reading them). What fire?! I don't know about this, but it reminds me of this saying that I just heard for the first time today:
    Oh, the barn burned down! Now I can see the moon.

  3. I think I was supposed to hear that today and then read your post. You are so brave. My thought is that one of the gifts of this moment is that it will not blur into the memories of the rest of your life. It is so distinct, so different, it will always stand out. Your memories from this time will be vivid. That's how I feel about my experience in France.