Saturday, October 28, 2017

How Much Is Enough?


The first time I read the checked baggage allowance, I could carry two checked bags, up to 50 pounds each, one carry-on and one personal bag. I packed accordingly. Two bags. 45-50 pounds apiece. My carry-on and backpack were stuffed because I'd packed a considerable amount of things I expected to use while I was here.

The evening before I left, I read the airline's checked baggage allowance policy again and found that I could now have one checked bag, up to 60 pounds, and one carry-on weighing no more than 15 pounds, as well as a "computer bag."

As you might imagine, panic flooded through me. I found different luggage and took everything out of the original suitcases. From the huge pile of "stuff," I extracted the items I had agreed to deliver. Those definitely had to go. I divided everything else into stacks according to item category and began to sort through. Pants, tops, underwear, socks, toiletries, books, snacks. 

I decided to carry eight tops, three pairs of pants plus the pair I wore on the flight over, and a week's worth of underwear and socks. I kept a denim jacket and left behind the heavier jacket I'd planned to bring. I kept one ziplock bag of individual peanut butter and fruit & nut bars. I didn't need them, but I wanted them. 

When all the supposed essentials were packed, I filled the empty spaces with things I thought I might need. Extra scarves. Another pair of shoes. Leggings.

I left two full weeks of snacks behind, and the box of tea I prefer. Curling iron, flat iron (hair straightener), and hair products didn't seem as essential as I'd first thought, nor did flip flops. The books and notebooks weren't essential, either.

In the end, the one thing that mattered most went in my backpack first: my study Bible. I knew I couldn't do without it, so I packed it where I could be sure it was safe. I needed my computer because this is a writing trip, so that went in the backpack next, then toothbrush and toothpaste. 

The longer I've been here, the more I've realized those three items were the only essentials I brought. A complete change of clothes, or maybe two, would've been plenty, even though I'm staying more than three weeks. 

I "needed" a lot less than I thought. 

The extra tops have been convenient, but I could've made do with fewer. Next time I travel, I plan to do just that. I'm choosing, in advance, to be content with less. 

I wish I'd done this a long time ago, and not just in my travel bags. I wish I'd been content with less in my home, my life. 

I had already started cleaning out the excess before I left, but I expect that will continue in a more serious way when I get home. How much is enough? I don't know yet, but I intend to find out how much leaner I can go.

The more I live lean, the more I wonder why I wanted to live with a bunch of stuff in the first place. What's the point?

I'm pretty sure this accumulation of stuff is not an exclusively-Leanna issue. Today, let's ask ourselves if we have more stuff than we need. Could we live leaner? Give more away? 

Is there someone else to whom our excess would be a blessing? Let's pass it on. Is there a way to make do with less? Let's give it a try. 

Why does lean living matter? It was the way Jesus lived. No extra. No burdens. No debt. It was also the way He taught His disciples to live. Lean. Ready. Available. Isn't that the way we should live, too? 

". . . I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity, in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of bring filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need." Philippians 4:11-12 nasb
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I love you, my sweet, encouraging digital family, and I miss you more than you might imagine. I'll be home soon and I hope you'll to invite me to your Sunday school classes, small groups, and church families to share the stories of what God has done the last few weeks. It's bigger than I can share in a blog, harder and sweeter than I can communicate in emails or text messages. 

The best parts can only be shared in person. 
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In case you missed the most recent post, here's the link: When the Fast Pace is Gone and We Find a New Life

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You can also mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.