Packing up...

Waking up this morning I am greeted by a room of boxes stacked to the hilt.  

I feel a little like Harry, Ron and Hermione in Bellatrix's vault, more and more stuff multiplying around me, never-ending piles of stuff accumulating as I pack my life into boxes for the big move.

After three years in one place I'm about to move into a new house in a new area with people I've never lived with before.  In order to prepare for that I've got an awful lot of packing to do, and an awful lot of throwing out too.  

Train tickets from 7 years ago, a ribbon that came off a Christmas present I can't even remember getting, and clothes that were hand-me downs nearly a decade ago (actually!)  come streaming out as I plunge into the overflow of possessions.  The odd thing is, even now those clothes are hard to get rid of.  Not because they're sentimental or special, not even because I like them, but because of the resounding echo in my head 'what if I need it one day'.

The reality is that I have a lot of clothes which are there for 'what ifs' and they pack out my drawers, unworn, unnecessary, and actually getting in the way of the ones I do like.  'What ifs' govern so much of my hoarding, and I realise that I am fearful of being in a place where I won't have everything to hand to handle any given situation.  

Jesus said 'do not worry about life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes?...See how the flowers of the field grow.  They do not labour or spin.  Yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire will he not much more clothe you - you of little faith...Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself'.

I often thought that this is a passage for those without much - when I have no money, not many clothes, then I might look to this passage for encouragement, for hope.  Having sorted through my room though I think it has great poignancy for me - I have too many clothes, too much stuff, and I hoard and hoard it not out of actual usefulness or enjoyment of it, but truly out of fear that I might let go of something I might one day need.  I am fearful of being without even in my place of plenty.  Yet Jesus says here 'don't depend on what you have - don't let that be where your security lies, because I can take care of you - is not life more important than what you have - get on and live your life without worry about what you might have or not have - live your life to the full, pursuing me and I will provide'.  

As school leavers head off to uni this year its so easy to be fearful of not having everything you need, whether socially, spiritually or actually.  The reality is, you'll need a lot less than you think, and either way, worrying about it won't help.  The key is that just because we don't have it all planned it doesn't mean its not all planned.  God knows what lies ahead for you at university and fear about not having, even when you have everything you need is unnecessary, unhelpful and will diminish the joy of the experience.  Be diligent in packing and planning, but don't let your worries about tomorrow ruin the excitement and the anticipation of it.  Be ready to pursue what is important to you - pursue God, pursue fun and life, pursue church and community, pursue friendships, and trust that in pursuing what is good, God will provide.

As I'm packing and planning for tomorrow I'm trying to remember not to worry about it - once I get there, it will take care of itself.

Pippa Elmes

Ministry Training Leader

Pippa supports those in church based student ministry to do their job really well. She loves challenging churches to work with students and equipping them to pioneer new mission opportunities to reach students.                     

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