Last Friday night, not long after falling asleep, I was jolted awake by a crackling sound and a vision of the curtains in my bedroom catching on fire. I sat up in bed with my heart racing as if I were having a panic attack. I sat there in the dark room thinking, "What would I do if my house caught on fire right now? I would be lucky to get dressed let alone grab anything of value." Then I started thinking about a small handful of things that are important to me and wondering how I ever acquired so much useless stuff and what a waste of money all those things were. I thought about Butch Walker and how he lost everything in the Malibu fires and about my birth mother who the same thing happened to many years before I met her. I eventually mellowed out and fell back to sleep.
This morning I put Joyce Meyer on the TV while making breakfast and she was telling the story of the rich man asking Jesus what he must do to get to heaven. After Jesus answered him, the rich man said he was a believer and had already done all those things that believers do. Then Jesus told him he must take all his possessions and give them to the poor and the rich man went away very sad. He loved his "things" more than he loved God. It's not wrong to have an abundance of nice things, it's about how attached you are to those things and if getting more things is more important to you than serving and honoring God. Hmmm...much to think about.
So I went off to take a shower and after I emerged, I could smell a strange electrical, plastic-like odor. I investigated everything in the bedroom and couldn't figure out where it was coming from. I dried my hair and decided I would just unplug everything in there before leaving for work. As an after-thought, I stepped on the plastic switch to my floorlamp just to test it and it was really hot on my little bare foot! I bent over to take a closer look and when I touched it, sparks flew and zapped me. The switch was melting into the carpet and the carpet was smoldering underneath it! I yanked the plug out of the wall, grabbed a wet towel and smothered the smoldering carpet. Thank God I discovered this before heading off to work!!
That was a scary experience but there's so much more to it than that. I have been consumed with thoughts for years about simplifying my life and getting rid of old clothes and all the crap I'm so afraid I might need some day. The task is so overwhelming I never seem to get very far and I give up. I believe God is being extremely patient and gracious with me by giving me this giant neon warning sign. If I don't sell or give away all this junk, He could easily get rid of it for me--all of it. One thing I know is true: God is not going to allow anyone to have great things if they don't appreciate and take care of the little things they already have. The great changes and miracles I've been praying for are not going to manifest if I don't start doing a better job with what I already have. I must clean up the stuff I need and appreciate, sell off what I can and give away the rest. Anybody want to have a garage sale?? Quick??