Thinking Outside the Treasure Box

I woke up this morning thinking about the way that Ann and I recently downsized during our move.. we got rid of about a third of our stuff to move into a place that was about a third smaller. I was surprised at how easy it got to get rid of all of the treasures we had collected over the years. At first it was a bit difficult to decide what would be moved and what would be sold, given away or thrown away. Many of these treasures had been with one of us for a very long time. The estate sale guy helped.

As I made the coffee this morning I thought of the old coffee pot.. I think we had several in the cabinets.. and how for years we tended to keep things only because we had the room for them.. please do not ask me about our basement.. oh so many treasures buried there.. and yes I mean buried.. I found things down there that I had not seen since we moved and placed them there seven years ago.

So when I saw this funny Ziggy cartoon (LOL - talk about a cat's treasure box!) I thought about how the things we treasure affect our ability to think outside of the box. Jesus once spoke about our hearts being tied to those things that we treasure. Maybe sometimes we just need to let go of old treasured things.. like my old LP record albums.. don't worry I still kept the valuable ones.. to embrace new things and new ideas. Maybe sometimes the litter box needs to be emptied of all of our treasures?

I have found that reading blogs authored by people who are different than me has helped me to think outside of the proverbial box. People that I do not agree with help me and challenge me to be a bit grayer in my thinking - I still love the old black and white approach to life.. life is so much easier when I am riding my high horse.

Have you been able to get rid of any of your old treasures lately? For sure some things need to be kept. But I wonder what you do to keep your mind fresh. Do you have suggestions about thinking outside of the box?


  1. Whenever moving I find that there are things I can do without. Six months later, some things are still in boxes and I learn I can do without them too. Every now and then I take a virtual inventory of my "stuff" and I think what would I absolutely not want to be without. I find it a healthy exercise.

  2. @Mike - Thanks for sharing. From the little I know of your experience you are a person who has been able to think outside of the box. Were there any specific events that helped you think that way or is it more a part of the way that you have always processed life?

  3. No major events, though I have observed others losing much. All it takes is one family you know or even a friend of a friend to have a house fire and it makes it a reality.

    My movie collection is a constant reminder of things I own, but do not need. I have movies I've never unwrapped, such a waste, but at the time I wanted all of them.

  4. @Mike - I ran across a few unopened CDs when we were packing.. kind of amazing isn't it?

    Guess I was really thinking more about your openness to new ideas that I have witnessed in your comments here, on other blogs and on FB when I asked about thinking outside of the box.

  5. Ahh, that too. Living for so many years holding tightly to my belief in God and conservative evangelical Christianity in general and then having my faith wain and disappear made me realize that nothing in life is certain, no matter how dearly you hold it.

    I'm reminded of the conversation from The Matrix.

    Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth.
    Neo: What truth?
    Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
    Neo: There is no spoon?
    Spoon boy: Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

    The secret to thinking outside the box is to realize that there is no box.

    I think I just found my status update for the day. ;-)

  6. @Mike - Thanks again for the comment. No box? Probably true but I have found that people (generally speaking) trade one box for another. Have not ever met a really free thinker. We seem to be conditioned from birth to think in a particular box. I think that it takes a tremendous amount of courage to change boxes. But to accept the idea that there is no box might mean that you keep one foot in the old box and the other foot in a new box? And perhaps hands in other boxes. :)

  7. Oh I agree. I don't think it's possible to not hold onto aspects of the box. We are our experiences. It's almost as difficult to see no box as it is just see not a spoon, but the elements that make up the spoon and that molecularly the spoon is not much different than many other objects. Just as all our boxes have very similar aspects.

  8. I guess we do really trade one box for another. I really like the one I am in now.
    Moving after 41 years in the same house was a shock to the system. Talk about things being buried!!
    We got rid of so much "stuff". Still have things but most of it is still in plastic tubs to be sold on Ebay, etc. Many "collections" have not been displayed and I really don't miss seeing them. Time to say bye bye to them.
    Many people from our former church could not understand our moving and leaving it (what ever it was) behind. They said we wouldn't be happy, it would be too hot, we would get lost in a big church. In fact, one man said to me, wouldn't I rather be a big fish in a little pond than a little fish in the big one.
    To leave all that and the opressive thinking behind was like stepping outside the box for us. We have never looked back and our lives are full and we are extremely happy.
    Thanks for your insightful blogs. You always get me thinking, even if I don't always comment.

  9. @photowannabe - Thanks for sharing that story. Reminds me that sometimes thinking outside of the box involves actually moving. The majority of folks didn't seem to understand our move from the suburbs to urban KC.. yet a few did.. it is hard when someone else changes boxes. :)

  10. Any and all thinking like or as Christ thinks is thinking outside the box. The philosophy and ideology of this present world is antithetical to God and His Kingdom. Certainly the natural man cannot receive the things of the Holy Spirit because they are Spiritual things - or things of the Spirit. This is why Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born from above.

    Any time we, as believers think as Christ thinks we have abandoned the box. The trouble is since the old nature remains we must guard against going back to the box in order to think as we once thought.

    Romans 12:1-2 tells us how to keep our minds fresh. We must be transformed by the renewing of our mind, so that by both testing and discerning we can know what God's thinking outside the humanistic box (will) is in order to know what is good and perfect.

    If the Lord doesn't do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, we will find out how much our house has become a treasure when the bank asks for it back. This is just brick and mortar but thanks be unto God for 6 years it has been our brick and mortar.

  11. Let's see. Wasn't it just this morning that I heard the lectionary Scripture from Luke about the man who built bigger barns? He died that night.


    The town is not far from us, but this house is a long, long way from the way my husband and I live. I can only imagine how the former residents of this house may be living now.

    BTW, I agree with you that getting rid of stuff is truly liberating. Having room to move is delightful! Now if I can only stop people from giving us more! LOL!

  13. @Gregg - So glad that God does not live in a box. Unfortunately like Peter in Acts I continually have to be corrected by Him when I relegate things to the "unclean" box when they indeed are really clean. Of course there are many things that are located in that box called sin. :)

    @Joe - The link below in crownring's comment has a pretty big barn for sale.

    @CR - Thought this was particularly telling from that link - "Throughout Metro Detroit, 719 properties worth at least $1 million have received foreclosure filings since January 2009" - amazing!

  14. We had to get rid of a lot when we retired and moved to Southern CA...from a large country parsonage, to a small cottage. We still have a Garage stacked from floor to ceiling and only a small pathway. We so need to work on that "Treasure Box" I do have a problem. My dearest and I differ completely when it comes to "tossing out...or giving away" ~ He is the most dear and loving "pack rat" I know...but he's still a pack rat!!! The garage is on our TO DO List....and I'm sure if we don't get to it, our kids will put it all in the dump when were gone!!!! Maybe that's what Dad is waiting for!!!
    Really good read Bob....and I loved all the comments.


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