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Life Coaching Lesson from a Yard Sale

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.

Matthew 6:19

When I studied to be a certified life coach, I knew it would be rewarding to help clients discover their “aha” moments to move forward with their best life. I had no idea how life transforming the classes would be for me. I have come to learn there is a life coaching lesson in every situation, even a yard sale.

The huge billboard sign advertising a community yard sale at a nearby church caught my attention. Reserving space to sell items I no longer wanted or needed would be a new experience for me, but I was all in. The thought of getting rid of clutter, streamlining my belongings, and making some extra money in the process was exciting, until I actually started the hard work of sorting through all my stuff. Determining what to purge was easier said than done as I set up piles to keep, sell, donate, and trash.

Yard sale shoppers are looking for bargains. Having never been on the other side of the table as a vendor, it was difficult for me to know what prices to ask for my merchandise, especially knowing what I paid for them when I bought them.

Fortunately, the yard sale date was postponed due to rain. That extra week was needed to attach my color-coded price system, box and bag all the items, and place them near the door to be transported to the yard sale.

Getting an early start, I arrived at the yard sale with enough items to fill two cars. My sister and a friend helped to unpack and set up the items on the tables. My goal, at the end of the yard sale, was not to be left with the items that I started with. And yes, a profitable yard sale would be nice too.

Meeting people I had never met and selling much of my merchandise helped to make the yard sale a success, even though we had items left that did not sell. Repacking the car with all the unsold items (even after dropping the prices) was not what I had planned.

The dilemma about what to do with the unsold items taught me a valuable life lesson that less becomes a life of more.

Instead of bringing the items back into the house, I decided I would donate them to a charity or give them away to someone who needed them. Accumulating stuff made me realize that the quantity of things is a distraction to the quality of life.

What was I working for? To spend money to buy things that I will end up not wanting or needing? The best things in life are not things. We can begin to live a life of less by looking at our possessions, commitments, and our schedule of activities. Start examining your financial receipts and your calendar. It will tell you where you spend your money, and what you do with your time—all indicators of what our hearts treasure and love more.

Sorting through the unsold items to donate or give away was harder than I thought. I questioned whether I really wanted some of the items or not. Maybe I wanted to hold on to them because of the price I had paid, or because I thought someday I will need them, or because the item was valuable to me at one time in my life.

We make the mistake of holding onto many things that no longer are valuable, when letting go makes room for what really matters.

I reflected on the difficult conversation with my mom a couple years ago when her health was failing. She discussed her favorite song she wanted sung at her funeral service, how much she loved Jesus and loved us, and what she wanted us to do with her belongings. It was obvious that the material possessions she had cherished no longer mattered.

The old saying that we never see a U-Haul truck accompanying a hearse is still true. We can choose to focus on accumulating for ourselves the things of this world and what the world has to offer. Or we can focus on investing our time, resources, and our lives to seeking Jesus and the Kingdom of God, loving others, helping the poor, visiting the sick and shut in, helping widows and those less fortunate.

Matthew 6:19-21 tells us:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

God used a yard sale to get my attention to focus on storing treasures in heaven more than the treasures on earth. Priceless!

Prayer: Lord, treasures are not just things, but what we have affections for or give our attention to. Help me to not allow my possessions and the things I enjoy in this life—relationships, dreams, education, job, appearance, social media, sports, activities—to be more of a treasure than the treasures you honor. Help me to look at my priorities to determine if anything is more valuable to me than becoming more like you and reaching others so they might know you and your love. Help me to treasure what you treasure. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Yard sale journal post
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