How much is stuff is enough? Our closets, basements, and garages are overflowing with stuff, but still we can’t get enough. So we call a charity to bring a truck and pick up our “old” stuff so that we will have room for more new stuff. Or we rent a storage unit (sometimes three or four) and stuff it full of the stuff we don’t have room for in our over-stuffed house.
I work for a charity that collects and processes donations of stuff. The quantity and quality of the stuff that comes through is amazing – tons and tons of really nice stuff, some of it brand new.
As a society, we are awash in stuff and yet we still buy more: the latest fashion, the next new thing. Even our landfills are bulging, yet we are not satisfied. More! More! We have to have more stuff!
Well, if the accumulation of stuff hasn’t made Americans the happiest people in history (and it hasn’t), it should be obvious to everyone that stuff is not the answer that creates a life of personal peace and fulfillment. And yet, we continue to grasp for more stuff.
Our human desire for stuff can never be satisfied — the more the desire is fed, the more it grows. Our hope for satisfaction comes in learning to control and limit our desire for stuff. Here’s a quote from Paul of Tarsus: “Having food and clothing, let us be content.”
Long-term satisfaction does not come from stuff, but from inner contentment. Contentment can be achieved by working to change our focus from acquiring more stuff to:
1) Helping other people. As we begin to help others (face to face, not just in writing checks) and personally give some of our stuff to them, it begins to break our stuff obsession and addiction.
2) Achieving inner victory. Instead of trying to satisfy insecurities and inner pain with new material things, begin to overcome them by using mental, emotional, and spiritual resources. When you win the inner victory, the longing for stuff will no longer consume you.
3) Begin to accumulate wisdom on how to live a happy and fulfilling life. Since stuff hasn’t made you extremely happy, why not try wisdom? Begin to read great non-fiction books about how to live a mentally and emotionally rewarding life. Collect uplifting quotations. Feed on wisdom day and night. Stuff has led you on a wild goose chase, but wisdom will lead you to peace, joy, and contentment.