What Stuff Means

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In The Power of Enough: Finding Contentment by Putting Stuff in Its Place, Lynn Miller has a great exercise for our personal reflection. It goes like this (my paraphrases):

  1. For each word on this list, write down what it means to you. There are no wrong answers.

House                                                                                                               Possessions Happy

Car

Salary

Food

Clothes

Cash Savings

Retirement Savings.

2. Think about how you formed those opinions. What did your parents teach you? What were the unspoken lessons you learned about having things? Were you aware of your family being poor or rich? Write down your thoughts.

3. Look back at the list of things in the first question. Which of your beliefs about these things are working for you? Which beliefs are working against you? Circle the ones that still make sense to you.

4. You can change your mind about what stuff means at any time. Write down what would be the “inherent usefulness” (the practical function) of each category in your life.

5. Given the inherent usefulness of each of these things, look at each word again and write down what is “enough” related to that item.

House

Car

Salary

Food

Clothes

Cash Savings

Retirement Savings.

What have you learned from this exercise? Does it change your perspective in any way? Might it make any difference in the decisions you make?

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub

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