To be detached and to exercise the virtue of detachment means to be always self-emptying. And like doing a good wardrobe or ‘man shed’ clear out, such actions allow space for things that may be of better use to you, and things that you may actually need, rather than the hordes of stuff that you’ve just kept for the past 10 years, because it’s ‘yours’, ‘special’ or ‘sentimental’.
Augustine of Hippo penned a great quote: “God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.”
Having full hands means we are attached to things of this world, and that makes us a slave to that attachment – whether money, material goods, recognition, job satisfaction, the list goes on. Christ came to free the world, but to be willingly and intentionally enslaved to the things of this world, means we can not be freed, nor be a servant of Christ as He intended.
As Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
It then becomes a choice to break the fetters of that which is idolised and shallow in fulfilment. We must be self-emptying, so we can follow the true fulfilling God.
To be detached means to be self-emptying, and it is through this we have open hearts and open invitations for God to work in our lives. Christ does not enter without an invitation, and if we are always distracted by the search for our identity, attached to things of this world and falling into idolatry with each new fad and social faze, we can never give Christ a proper open-hearted invitation. Instead, we are always short-changing Him, giving Him scraps of our time and consideration. If our hands are so very full, He can’t give us more, for we wouldn’t have the time or capacity to truly understand nor appreciate His gifts. We won’t be able to sieve out the good from the bad. It would sadly end up like that pile of clothes we all have on a chair, or in the corner of our room, the clean with the dirty.
What Christ needs from us is to truly empty ourselves, invite Him intentionally, give Him time to speak, and time for us to listen, and then He will give you the actual essentials for your life – your very particular life, as a unique son or daughter of God. It may be difficult for a time, and it is wise to be prepared to lose yourself, and maybe feel lost as you find your identity in Christ. This time may be difficult because it requires space for Christ to enter and the Holy Spirit to work and transform. You need patience and courage.
But take heart, it is only God who can give us the true essentials for our lives here on earth, he knows our hearts, he knows our needs and he knows the path which best suits us – whether vocation, job, spiritual journey, living conditions, friendships and relationships. To live a life in Christ, detached from the world, will make it a life never empty and never hollow.
“You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” – Psalm 23:5
Christ wants to fill us up to the brim with His promises. The exciting thing is, that is when miracles happen.
So let’s consider how we can invite Christ in properly into our lives. If our hands are full and our schedules are also, then, maybe we need to do some decluttering. Make space for Him. Maybe for some it will require some extreme changes, more than others, but never think you are doing it alone. Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit are just waiting for even the smallest opening, the slightest invitation, the tiniest crack. Detach yourself, little by little, and invite Christ as replacement for each space, and soon you will have plenty of room for Him.
WRITTEN BY GRACE FELTOE
Grace Feltoe is the social media and marketing manager for Virtue Ministry and the Living Fullness Podcast. She is also a sacred liturgical musician, singer and piano teacher. She loves theology, apologetics and her faith, particularly late at night to the detriment of her sleep, and is currently living in Portugal, Europe.