Dare #15 of The Respect Dare… GOT STUFF?

Story of Stuff

It was 35+ years ago. I stood outside the police station with a group of  12 year olds, waiting for things to get started.  As I watched my dad drive away in the car, my heart started to pound.  The police officer outside started collecting the permission slips from the other kids…and I realized mine was still sitting on the table in the kitchen.

What to do? We’d been looking forward to this for WEEKS.

My face grew hot as I worried about being the only kid who didn’t get to shoot that night.

I looked around, and saw lights on and people moving in the house across the street from the police station. Bolting out of line, I crossed the street, and ran up the front steps and rang the doorbell.

I needed to use the phone, because I wouldn’t get to shoot and finish hunters safety if I didn’t get my permission slip.

Yes, I was a tomboy, Yes, I grew up in the West, and NO, I wasn’t the only girl. And Yes, I was/am a great shot.

I knew they were home. I saw them a minute ago. Why weren’t they answering the door? So I rang it again.

And knocked.

Finally, a girl about my age answered the door. “Uh, yeah?” she said.

“Can I use your phone to call my parents?” I asked.

“Um, sure…it will take me a while to find it,” she replied.

I walked in behind her.

And stared.

There were three adults in the family room, all watching television. I think it was the Andy Griffith Show.

And the TV picture was in black and white.

Yes, I am that old.

And I watched her climb over piles of laundry, books, dishes, food wrappers, boxes, and I don’t even know what…to get to the wall, where the phone was plugged in.

Obviously this was  a while ago, back when all we had were land lines.

And no one thought twice about going to a stranger’s house.

She found the cord, and followed it under the piles of stuff. I called my parents.

None of the adults even looked away from the television to acknowledge that I was there.

The girl and I talked for a while.

I never asked her why she didn’t go to school where I did.

And I never saw her again.

I got to shoot that night, but I remember less about that than I do about this girl’s home.

Too Much Stuff

And now, in the world we live in today, there’s a name for folks like this and even a TV show or two about them.

We in the west make light of the many serious issues our gluttony causes – we lightly refer to them as, “first world problems.”

And I’m not exempt – I have too many dishes, too many pairs of black shoes, too much makeup, and I’ve kept too much STUFF that I don’t need over the years.

And this year for Christmas, when I was asked what I wanted, I said, “I want someone else to get chickens.” I want my own chickens, actually, but I can’t have them in my subdivision.  So I wanted someone else to have chickens.  And regardless of what you think about the controversy with World Vision about a month ago, they took chickens to people in another country for my son as a gift to me.

And it made us both happy.

Because honestly, I would rather have things that money can’t buy – time with the people I love to pieces.

There’s never enough of that.

And I don’t really need anything else.

And who has too much love in their life?

But having said that, a friend of mine on our ministry team sent me the plaque below – it has my life verse on it. And it makes me exquisitely happy. WAAAAYYY happy.

And the best thing? I don’t get to see her that often because she lives in Georgia. So every time I see this, it makes me ridiculously happy and helps me think the best-est of things – about her, about my life, about everything He gives us.

So understand I’m not saying to be uber-minimalist.

But I am saying to be careful where you store up your treasures – because that’s where your heart will be. Matthew 6:21

Dare ya to get rid of some things and get a tax deduction. Double dog dare you to share what you’re getting rid of… 🙂

philippians 4 8


If you have tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings, you should totally follow Debbie. And if you want to read a very engaging novel about women who faced real-life dilemmas like these, read Dare to Respect.  Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter as @NinaRoesner.  Come join the discussion!

Love to you,


If you want to explore ways of getting your tweens, teens and twenty-somethings to share in the household responsibilities, read With All Due Respect










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4 thoughts on “Dare #15 of The Respect Dare… GOT STUFF?

  1. Decluttering is an ongoing process for me because stuff keeps coming into our home. Yesterday while running errands before leaving for Boot Camp I left a box of good stuff at my favorite thrift shop. This is not a do it once and over process every day. Too much stuff is a prison:
    It takes care.
    It takes space.
    It charges the air with tension and hides the stuff you really need.
    I take pictures of my stuff when I donate it so I can remember st tax time. Letting go of stuff is walking out of a prison. Your willingness to let go is the key.
    I love you and so look forward to seeing you today

  2. Wow. WHAT an amazing and timely post.
    This is exactly the journey He has me on. He’s had me sell and giveaway items I thought I needed. My DSLR camera, Apple Watch, furniture and lots more.

    Hard at first, but so worth it because I don’t even miss the items.
    And now I’m training up my boys to not “hold” so tightly to things.
    As a family we’re SO much richer for it.
    Thank you Father

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