I just moved onto a boat.  It’s 30 feet long, 10 feet wide.  A sailboat.

Now before you have glamorous visions of a fancy boat with crisp white sails and matching cushions in the cabin, I need to tell you this is a fixer-upper in every sense of the phrase.  The boat has no sails, no kitchen, a corroded ‘fresh’ water tank, and worst of all, the previous owner (who abandoned the boat) neglected to have the bathroom holding tank emptied before he left town.

In spite of all this my husband and I are excited about the potential and possibilities our boat holds.  We are working hard, learning lots, and getting cozy in our tiny new home!  We’ve been talking about doing something like this for a while now and it’s been fun to hear the responses of friends and family as we shared our plan.  Most are somewhere between “You guys are crazy!” and “That’s the coolest thing ever!”

Reality is, it’s a little of both.

One of the most interesting parts of the process has been downsizing.  There’s no room for furniture of any kind on the boat.  So we sold the table and chairs, the bed, the couch, the mountain bikes (kept the road bikes—they are in storage).   And even though this was all part of the plan, it was tough to get rid of some of those things.  I swallowed hard as I watched my bike ride away in the back of a pick-up truck.  It felt like a little piece of me was going with it.  Several weeks later, it still crosses my mind occasionally.

Driving to work the day after moving onto the boat, I thought of the story about the rich young ruler.  He came to Jesus asking what he needed to do to be saved.  Jesus instructed him to keep the commandments.  The young man replied, “Check.  Been doing that my whole life.”  So Jesus told him to go sell all his possessions and come follow Him.  The Bible says the man walked away sad because he was very wealthy.  He couldn’t let go of his belongings. He cherished them.  They were part of him.

What if the rich young ruler was so busy managing all his possessions he didn’t have time to nurture his soul?  What if Jesus was asking him to remove the material stuff so he would have time to think about what is most important?

Now, I’m not advocating for everyone to sell all they have and move onto a boat.  I do wonder, however, what it would be like to have a little less clutter in our lives—internally and externally.  What if our material possessions somehow reflect our soul?  What would you clear out to make room for occasional silence and stillness?  What does your soul need to be free of clutter?

One of the things I noticed soon after moving onto the boat is that the clutter in my life isn’t determined by how much or how little I have in the material sense.  I don’t think Jesus’ request was really about the rich young ruler’s possessions.  The call was to connection.  The call was to create soul space for God.   And I hear the same call today.

So, I’m asking what else in my life needs to go so my soul can be free to connect with God more fully.  I’d like to develop a heart willing to walk away from external possessions because my internal priorities are straight.

I think I need to get rid of some more stuff.  I’d love to hear your ideas for de-cluttering from the inside out.

In the meantime, I have a few more things to put on Craigslist….

Posted on by Lisa M Hope Tilstra in Articles

About Lisa M Hope Tilstra

I just got married and I live on a boat! :)

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