Welcome to CraviAwesome’s second official blog! Knowing that you value our journey through life enough to take a few moments to read about it fills me (Aubrey Craviotto) with joy. We hope that as you read this entry, you will be entertained by its imagery, challenged by its implications, and encouraged by our mistakes and revelations. Let’s jump in!
I have to tell you: being pregnant as 2019 snuck around the corner, I haven’t been able to join most of the exciting weight loss or exercise plans. I find myself with a comical outsider’s perspective on the things I enjoyed so much last year! The only trend I can actually relate to is that of downsizing and cleaning. As my Third Trimester begins, with Theresa Renee, I’ve entered a serious nesting phase that’s had the most profound effect on my life. my pleasure to share it with you!
Going into 2019, we decided to take on a “Spiritual Discipline” each month from the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. The first one that stood out to me was “detachment.” How perfect.
In our life together so far, we’ve had several moments of great loss. In fact, the phrase, Let Go. Let God. sums up my experiences as a mother having lost my first child as well as my everyday life as a stay-at-home wife.
Knowing how to “let go” as a mother-to-be and friend is a wonderful blessing, but I can honestly say, my responses to situations and objects haven’t all been consistent at all with letting go or letting God.
I’ve started to ask myself some of Adele’s outlined questions like: “How do you handle failure and weakness, suffering and loss?” And, “When has loss made God more real to you?”
Those of you been following our journey for the last few years know that our late son Anthony is the answer to those questions. Two years after our greatest loss, we don’t actually believe we “lost” him. Looking back to a few months before the event, I was actually prompted by the Holy Spirit to “let him go” and give God all my rights as a parent. I was so anxious about the pregnancy until that day. become clear that I was the one who would be borrowing him and that he truly belongs to God, as do I. We were made better rather than bitter through that loss.
Adele Calhoun states that detachment is a mini death and the catchphrase is: “For the love of Jesus, I will let go” (107).
A thought struck me as I chewed on that phrase: I have an easier time letting go of things I can’t control vs things I can control like cleanliness, organization, or responses to my loved ones. This troubles me because, while those things may be small in comparison, they make up most of my life. They can easily wear me down if I’m not careful. Those little things tend to be the ones to lead us away from the vision we have for our family of creating a legacy of enthusiastic, joy-filled love for God that transforms fear into faith, insecurity into dignity, and sin into righteousness.
We are wrestling with this concept of “letting go” and have found that it is leading us toward the lifestyle that is trending all over the United States right now: minimalism. For us as Christians, we immediately started seeing connections between minimalism and the life of Jesus. Minimalism is in some ways a great start to being a missionary and has become a stepping stone and a starting place for our journey!
Minimalists started out as advocates for a minimalist style of art or music that came about in the 60’s. In the US today, a minimalist is more often someone who finds value in experiences and people over possessions. A minimalist is willing to trade their abundance of material possessions for what they find of greater value. The concept began to resonate with me last year, but we’ve only now begun to contemplate its integration into our lifestyle.
The call of Christ shows that a “God first” life means letting go of ALL things, even relationships’ and experiences’ power to define who I am or what I do. In Galatians 2:20 (The Message) Paul writes,
“Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central, it is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not ‘mine,’ but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
This verse explains that our goal, as Christ’s followers, is to let God’s narrative overshadow our own. Loving God first reorders everything else to work together for His plans.
This was sobering for me because I’ve always been a materialistic little girl who wants to carry around all of her belongings in her purse. In fact, if you’re familiar with Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages, I’d consider “Receiving Gifts” to be one of my top two Love Languages. I believe that being a follower of Christ must be a holistic lifestyle change, not just a spiritual or emotional one. Letting go of the status or identity that my “stuff” can give me is a great place to start according to Calhoun’s handbook (107).
Enter Marie Kondo!
An amazing opportunity arose to integrate what I’d learned through the show “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo.
To give you a picture of what habits I was coming from:
You could often find me “throwing” things into junk drawers or in bags and being the only soul to know where things are. But upon my mom’s recommendation, I sat through an episode of Tidying Up on Netflix.
My first response was overwhelming conviction about how thoughtlessly I’d been treating the things have! Marie Kondo is so respectful towards everything she owns and toward her clients’ belongings. By honoring every object’s value in her life, she seemed to be more able to maintain and care for herself and others. She is also gentle and compassionate with other people's journey to let go and keep whatever they chose. I gave it a try, and now I find myself with a new outlook and a tool belt full of skills to exercise gratitude! Now, you can find me hugging socks, placing pillows, and taking the time to find homes for things. I had never “placed” things where they belong before or thoughtfully created a “home” for something. It’s shifted my perception of things and people dramatically in a way I like to call a “heart change.”
I thought being a minimalist and a missionary meant just getting rid of everything. An excessive amount of possessions really does bring anxiety and distractions, after all. After following Marie Kondo’s method, I found myself able to let things go- by mourning the losses of the expectations I had placed on them. By forsaking those ideas and plans, I felt myself overwhelmed with gratitude for a God who has given me more than enough and who doesn’t define my value based on how much I have. I am His treasure purely based on intrinsic value. My potential self isn’t who I need to love more. Instead, I get to love who I currently am.
I believe that peace comes from letting objects, people, and plans take a backseat to God’s obvious and exuberant love. When He has control, those things can’t cause me anxiety anymore. We believe we were designed to detach from our lives here and attach ourselves to God since He can't be taken from us.
Looking back, I realize I may have taken on great shame and guilt for not maintaining my physical surroundings well. The truth was that I only needed to be shown what "proper care" looked like! Now I have a better idea of how the Holy Spirit takes care of my heart. It’s a joy to clean and care for my home now, knowing that I have a wonderful tool and blessing to hand down to the little girl God is lending us.
Who knew that nesting could lead to a real life change. Will it stick? We’ll be sure to keep you all updated. Until then, enjoy these fun pics of the journey! I did most of my sorting while Kyle was away on a business trip, and he bravely signed on for the journey upon his arrival home after seeing the positive change first-hand.
Thanks for reading, and as always, God double bless!
Thanks for reading, and as always, God double bless!
Calhoun, Adele Ahlberg. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook. ReadHowYouWant, 2015.
Chapman, Gary. The 5 love languages: the secret to love that lasts. Northfield Publishing. 2017.
Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002. Print.