Excess. Stuff. A Hard Lesson.

July 25, 2013.J.J. Mancini.0 Likes.1 Comment

In our process of getting ready to go on our mission trip, we want to make sure there is nothing here in our home that is holding us back from actually completing the goal of going on our mission trip. This is tough. We have built lives for ourselves. We have so much. So much… excess.

What you read from here first of all, is not supposed to be preachy. Not in anyway. This is simply us trying to communicate what we have learned. Frankly so that we do not forget the lessons. God is teaching us something very important right now, that is why we are writing about it, to remember. So once again, this is not Sara and J.J. talking to you the reader, no.. not at all. This is J.J. and Sara talking to J.J. and Sara.

What Have We Done?

Store up treasures on earth, where moth and rust will destroy… that is exactly what we have done. Granted, we live in New Mexico and we  don’t have a problem of rust and we only have a problem of Moth’s every 5 years or so, but this is still what we have done; stored up so much stuff.

It’s crazy what we do to ourselves. We start off wanting what we don’t have. Then once we get it, it’s only satisfying for a short time, sometimes only minutes after the purchase. Then we desire more. But now we have to maintain the stuff that we already have, and in the case of larger items like cars and houses and student loans, we now live for these other things. We have to work just to stay marginally ahead of the debt. But then as soon as we make more, we spend more, and then it satisfies but only for a short time and then we do it again. And sometimes we do that same thing without making more, thus we put it on a credit card and get into debt over these things that never satisfy. We end up enslaved to them; we are working for the stuff to keep the stuff. We have to maintain the nice cars we buy; we have to keep clean our big houses, which takes LOTS of time; we have to use the toys we buy, it takes time to get rid of the stuff we buy, but we cant just give it away as that would be irresponsible, so we sell it, but it takes too much work to sell it so we hoard it, and then it becomes more worthless. We still have VHS tapes and no VCR, cassette tapes and no casette player. Thus we hold on to the stuff that is worthless so that we can make some of the money that we spent putting into it, and all for what? Just to buy more? Well we may justify to ourselves that we can give the money to charity or to a good cause, but what do we spend the majority of our money on? Ourselves, which just perpetuates the process and starts it all over again just kicked up a notch. And it’s sickening.

Thus we decided to do the most irresponsibly responsible thing we have ever done. Gather up all of our excess stuff (At least 50 boxes worth) and give it away. We didn’t try to garage sale it ourselves, even though that is exactly what the “responsible” thing was to do; instead we gave it away to APH. Now this might sound a little backward, but they had a big garage sale and all the proceeds went to help that organization. They made the most ever this year raising over $3,500 from donations from a bunch of different people. Then the remaining items were given to the Orphans Thrift store where 100% of the proceeds go to help the orphanages in Albuquerque.

Isn’t this much better? Yes we could have made a couple grand ourselves from selling the stuff, yes we could have spent hours hauling the stuff out on our driveway every Friday and Saturday morning for 3 weeks. Yes we could have. But we decided to be irresponsible, give it away, hopefully be a blessing to other people, and be free of the time and the attention given to things that mean so little.

If all of that was not enough, over the next few weeks as we prepared to move, we realized that we still had too much stuff. Then we decided to do an estate sale. There we sold everything that did not go to our new home (But we still have a storage unit that some of our things went to). We are still a work in progress.


There is a freedom that is found, a weight that is lifted, a profound burden released, a catharsis, when the focus of our lives is not stuff. Gosh, it sounds almost biblical. We worshipped stuff. No it did not involve gold shrines, incense, and constant bowing to stuff, but this is the definition of worship I am talking about. Worship is when you give your time, your attention, and your adoration to something.  Well, we spent so much time working to acquire the stuff, we would spend time maintaining the stuff, then we would make sure to keep working all to feed our habits of wanting and buying more stuff. If I were to sum it up… of all the money that I have spent in the past years, what % was spent on me? On my insatiable “need” for more? And I work to generate more money to ultimately buy more. Thus what % of my time was spent on stuff? When you look at it from that perspective, my shrine is made of stuff, I was worshiping it. And still do. This is just a small step in the right direction.

Far From Perfect:

We have much further to go, this is just the beginning of our journey, but its a start. A good start. To simplify. To keep what should be important, important. To redefine the words “need”  and “want”. When I say need, I really mean want.

Our Promise to Ourselves:

After all of this, we have decided that we do not ever want to go down this road again. But how do we stop it? These are a couple of promises that we have made to ourselves.

  1. One in, One Out: This means, that every-time we buy something new, we have to get rid of something old. For example, if I want to buy a new shirt, then an old shirt must go. This keeps me from buying things for no reason and it ensures that we do not accumulate.
  2. Redefine “Need” to “Want”: How often do I really “need” something?  Rarely. I don’t need new clothes, I don’t need a hamburger. That is what I want.
  3. Be a blessing: Another way to just remember that it’s not about stuff, is to think of better things for the stuff or for money to go towards. Obviously this is a much bigger subject, but suffice to say that we desire to be a blessing to others, and stop blessing ourselves with stuff.

We pray that this never happens again. This is our desire. This is our heart.


Categories: Mission

Comments (1)

  • Mom! . August 10, 2013 . Reply

    WOW … I am so proud of the both of you! It takes great communication to reach a point of self denial
    together! Our LORD is truly preparing you for HIS service. HE has given you both great insight as HE draws you closer to HIM. : )

    I am praying for your mission unto the LORD JESUS CHRIST that HE opens the right door for you because the harvest is ripe and the workers are few … There are so many opportunities here in Israel
    but you need to go where your heart takes you.

    May our mighty GOD of the Universe bless you with FIRE from HIS HOLY SPIRIT to His honor and glory!!

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