Safety or Slavery?

I’ve always been a ‘collector’.  Even when I was wee, I used to hoard  random items, shoring them up for a time when the world ran out.  There’s   safety in surplus.  My brain (and life) may be a mess, but those stacks  promise security, stability and solace.

According to Paul Salkovskis, (professor of clinical psychology at Bath Uni), there are three categories of hoarder:

1. OCD hoarding. A quarter of hoarders fall into this group : they fear things could be contaminated and worry about contaminating others if they get rid of them.

2. Deprivation hoarders (50%).  People who have been through a period of massive deprivation, such as war or some other major loss.  Having once lost so much, they now hoard as a way of preventing it from happening again.

3. Sentimental hoarders.  These, argues Salkovskis, are most difficult to treat.  They have been damaged by childhood unpredictability or even neglect – and they have learnt that possessions are more reliable than people.

In myself, I can see bits of all three.  But underlying them is fear – that I’m not enough and – worse – that God isn’t either. It’s easier to put my faith in the dead things I can see and control, than the living Lord that I can’t. But it’s hard to cling to Jesus when my arms are full of clutter.


5 thoughts on “Safety or Slavery?

  1. I’m definitely no’s 2+3. I realised that my ‘being thrifty’ or keeping things ‘just in case’ was in fact a refusal to trust in God, and instead that my security was tied up in my possessions. Where my treasure is, there my heart is. I’ve at least realised that now and I DO trust that God is perfectly capable of supplying me with what I need. Getting rid of the clutter is an ongoing battle and whenever I try then the same old thoughts resurface. Thankfully I know I am saved by grace and that doesn’t change!

  2. Hi Ruth – yes, it’s funny how idolatry sneaks in under the auspices of thrift! But as you’ve said, even in the midst of failure we come back to the grace that doesn’t change.

  3. I’m not really any of the above (closest to “sentimental”, but not because of issues of reliability, rather because I want any kids we might have one day to enjoy stuff I enjoyed, or to give them a little more insight as to where their old man has come from!), … but I do hate the idea of ever-expanding landfill sites, and me going out to buy new stuff whose purpose could have been fulfilled by any number of things I’ve recently consigned to the dustbin.

    Maybe that shows a lack of trust that God looks after his Creation and is more than capable of redeeming the mess we make of it?

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