Thursday, October 31, 2013

Steal my joy or my toy?

After a fairly normal week of life with three kids, I was fed up with all the toy clutter! I mean FED UP! I was in tears, angry tears, fed up. I wasn't so much angry at my kids but at the toys. How did they, little inanimate objects, have such power over me? Why did I feel like their servant? Aren't they here to serve ME? Something had to change. I felt like I was paying way too much attention to them than they deserved...constantly picking up toys, buying tubs to organize them, shouting out orders about picking them up or siblings not to fight over them or yelping because I just stepped or stubbed my toe on me. Where was the fun, the joy, in these toys...where was the joy in life?

Thankfully I was able to "run away" from the toy monster and think in one of my favorite places...the shower. I let the water wash away my angry tears as I cried out to God for wisdom. "God, where has my joy gone? It's lost somewhere in this chaotic clutter of toys. I am so distracted from what I love...that which brings me the most joy. Help!" His answer? Craziness! Well, at first it seemed crazy, but the thought that popped into my head was to go through the whole house, gather up ALL the toys and put them away in my storage room and not buy any new ones for an entire YEAR! Then, instead of all the time it took to deal with them, we would focus on spending time together as a family doing crafts, reading books, playing games and all the things we truly loved in life.

At this point I began to get really excited. The anger at the toys began to fade as the excitement of what could be gained began to rise in my heart, if they were not in the way. Joy. This is joy. The simple time spent with a child, with a spouse cuddling and sharing life together. Toys had nothing to do with that. There is nothing wrong with a toy in itself, only if it gets in the way of love. Then, that toy becomes my enemy. It was meant to be a tool...a tool to learn...a tool to laugh....a tool to bring joy. If it's not doing that, then something needs to change. If my toys were becoming more important than people...than God, then they must go. If I have to choose, then I will choose the later.

Is she reading?!? What else do you do without toys? Apparently kids will still be kids, because her room is still messy with clothes, Kleenex's, shoes, decorations and anything else her little imagination can work with! :)

 So, that's what we did! Although, we decided to start with a month and see how that went. I explained to my oldest two (the ones who could maybe understand) that Mommy wanted to be able to do more of the things that brought me joy and less time cleaning up toys. I asked if they would rather have toys or have my time? They chose toys. Just kidding! :) They, thankfully, caught my heart and chose time with me. They caught my excitement apparently because they wanted to start right then, that very night. It was amazing to see how all of our attitudes changed (well, except for Mr. Squawker, my 18 month, who couldn't understand why we were taking all of his toys away :( ) as we unified towards a goal...a goal of making time for what was most important to us.

We are still chipping away at our mountains of toys, deciding what we can do without completely, what we will store and what we can give away. Each child got to choose one toy (or set of toys) to keep out for the month. We are discovering the joy of giving away our toys as well as the peace that comes from a clean home and time together. I'm looking forward to the rest of this month to see how it goes and the impact it has on our family. My prayer is that the God of all wisdom would guide us in our adventure.

The mountain of toys that is now in my laundry room!

So, the moral of the story is...go ahead, steal my TOY, just don't let my toys steal my JOY!


  1. Hey Kristi,
    Love your blog!
    When my kids were little we had two toy boxes that we rotated every month. It kept toys to a minimum and they had 'Christmas' every month!
    - kath

  2. Kristi, I love this story. The best part is God meeting you in this very real frustration and giving you the wisdom. Its so simple, yet profound. I look forward to hearing how November works out for you. Keep fighting for what matters and challenging the norm.
    -Emily Martin

  3. Love this!!! I just gave up picking them up unless absolutely necessary- but I really really want to do the same thing! My issue is having so many other kids at my house during any given week that it's easier to have toys than fights :) but I definitely think "paring down" is in my future!!! :) thanks for the honest pouring out of your heart- and the reminder that people are always more important than things, and God desires our hearts to be after His each and every day. :)