It came up in our conversation, that while driving, her purse threw up it’s contents all over the floor, and she was aghast at just how.much.stuff was in there.
I laughed because I completely relate. On any given day, there are those oh-so-random things found inside my purse: ahem, 300 pens, receipts, cheerios, crayons, dry-cleaning bills, gum wrappers, and toy cars. Truth be told, I’ve emptied sand out of my purse. I don’t even know how it got there. Oh, and that one occasion that underwear was found. Whose? That shall remain anonymous.
As we spoke, I could tell she was preoccupied by much, but continued circling around to a couple of key passions, stirrings she wanted to reach for but was unsure how. Aside from her daily responsibilities, specific interests tugged within her, but she didn’t know where to start, or how to make time for them.
I wonder if our lives are like what we carry in our purses- some of it necessary, but much of it distracting.
We have all these things – some great, some neh -that we cram our lives with. Does the “extra” keep us from focusing on the purposes God uniquely designed us to live from? Do those inklings of what makes you feel alive get hidden in a bunch of junk? And by junk, I do not mean a lipgloss pouch. There is always, alway room for that.
But really. What if we dumped our purses out and rummaged through to find those few essentials to focus on, set the rest aside, or even threw some out? What are those God-given purposes you’ve been given that need laser- focused attention? Do you sense they are there, but have gotten lost, and you’re not even sure where to begin giving them time?
Last fall I recognized weighty, bulky extras that were clogging necessary purse space. Old habits, old thoughts, old people-pleasing tendencies squashed together like old gum. I had so many everyday hopes that I wasn’t doing any one thing well.
So I purse-dumped.
One by one I wrote down what I love, how I enjoy spending time, in what areas I want to grow, who I feel God has made me to be, and how to hone traits into His likeness. And I left it on the floor for a while, saturated it in prayer, and waited to see what items He put back in the purse.
The rest, I set aside.
And some I threw away.
And holy cow it’s been so freeing. And oh-so-challenging. Isn’t it easier to just grab our bag and head out the door day after day? How often do we stop and take inventory, take responsibility for our conversations, hours, and purposes?
Before, I wanted to do EVERYTHING and expected myself to do it ALL well. Well, no purse can fit all that stuff and not get heavy.
When do you feel most alive? As you process or unwind, what do you find yourself naturally doing? What advice to people come to you for? Where are you drawn to give your time, and with whom? What is getting in the way? Are you expecting yourself to carry all the purse contents instead of giving yourself grace and focusing on just one?
Five years ago I wanted to cram all my experiences/careers/dreams/ ideas together and poof! throw in some kids and here.we.go! A healthy dose of reality reflected that no, I canNOT be all ideas considered for more than 5 minutes. None of us are created to be all things to all people. So I released my grip on the notion of event planning, on home design, on being available to every single person always. Yes, I adore those things, but again, I have to listen and choose.
I laughed off my impulse to become a florist, a baker, Mom-of-the-Year, and now enjoy those creative outlets for the simple joys they are. Instead, I took a good, long look at my list of purse contents and slowly, over the years, have been amazed at what God has consistently put back in my purse after it’s been dumped out.
The list is small.
And they are ones that have remained tried and true and life-giving and outward-focused.