Possessions are important to us. What we strive for, earn, and own become some of the lenses through which people perceive us. From a young age it is easy to form wish lists filled with things we would love to have, and consequently, we build our lives around acquiring those very things.
Yet we see person after person striving to obtain this or that, still ending up with an outcome of unhappiness. People often arrive at their destination and realize having more is not all it is made, even feeling they have been left with nothing.
How is it possible for someone to possess everything they ever wanted, yet feel they have nothing they need? It seems the more our hands are filled with “stuff”, the less capacity our heart has to hold fulfillment and purpose. Our hearts can hold more if our hands will hold less, and although we are in a world filled with shiny and attractive things, we were created to be satisfied and fulfilled by deeper longings.
The point here is not to convince you to live in poverty and without possessions in order to finally find true happiness. Rather, we need to evaluate how tightly our hands are clenched around what we own. If our source of happiness is our possessions, we live in the poverty of an enslaved heart.
We are called to sacrifice, to give up, to be willing to let go of the things that we hold so that our hearts can find purpose in the deeper things in life- love, relationships, trust, community, passion- intangible and difficult to hold or measure, yet fulfilling and life-giving all the same.
It is easier to convince ourselves that we are finding happiness in what we can buy, sell, touch, taste, and wear. Even though our possessions can put a smile on our face and make us feel satisfied for a brief time, how many of us have grown tired of our new “toy” after a few weeks, realizing it may not be all we thought it would be? As we see things we care about come and go, break and bust, and then get replaced with the “latest and greatest”, we create a feeling of temporary attachment in our hearts to the things that we claim make us happy.
We confuse our emotions by positioning ourselves around things of temporary value instead of things of substance. Think of a person who has moved from relationship to relationship, often confused on how to truly love. In the same way, as our hearts and emotions move from possession to possession, we become confused about what true fulfillment is.
What if there was good news for our dysfunctional hearts? What if by possessing less, we could actually have more, and be more fulfilled? As our hands begin to hold less, our hearts will begin to hold more. We will find more fulfillment, purpose, and blessing in our lives as we focus not on our possessions, but on things that are consistent and true. By focusing on elements in our lives that are constant, we give our heart the ability to love consistently. By holding on to people, prayer, love, faith, and our identity as children of God, we attach our hearts to the everlasting.
A.W. TOZER, says “The blessed ones who possess the kingdom are they who have repudiated every external thing and have rooted from their hearts all sense of possessing. These are the ‘poor in spirit’. These blessed poor are no longer slaves to the tyranny of things. They have broken the yoke of the oppressor; and this they have done not by fighting but by surrendering. Though free from all sense of possessing, they yet possess all things. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Pursuit of God, p.23).
Right now, you are likely feeling inspired or uncomfortable. If you are uncomfortable, dive into that discomfort, explore it, and make changes. If inspired, don’t leave without committing to change. We must move past inspiration in order to create change.
How do we move from inspiration to action? Start today by simply letting go of things you know you’re holding onto too tightly. Learning what to do in light of this problem of possessiveness is as simple as letting go of things in our life that possess us… Today.
Look at your life and the things that control you. When you do this, you will open up room in your heart to hold the things that truly matter. It is evident in our culture that happiness and fulfillment are hard to find; it is equally clear that possessions are piled around us with plenty to spare. Maybe there truly is a blessedness in possessing nothing.
Our hearts will hold more if our hands are holding less.
What things are you holding onto that are actually holding onto you?