I’ve always been a ‘collector’. Even when I was wee, I used to hoard random items, shoring them up for a time when the world ran out. There’s safety in surplus. My brain (and life) may be a mess, but those stacks promise security, stability and solace.
According to Paul Salkovskis, (professor of clinical psychology at Bath Uni), there are three categories of hoarder:
1. OCD hoarding. A quarter of hoarders fall into this group : they fear things could be contaminated and worry about contaminating others if they get rid of them.
2. Deprivation hoarders (50%). People who have been through a period of massive deprivation, such as war or some other major loss. Having once lost so much, they now hoard as a way of preventing it from happening again.
3. Sentimental hoarders. These, argues Salkovskis, are most difficult to treat. They have been damaged by childhood unpredictability or even neglect – and they have learnt that possessions are more reliable than people.
In myself, I can see bits of all three. But underlying them is fear – that I’m not enough and – worse – that God isn’t either. It’s easier to put my faith in the dead things I can see and control, than the living Lord that I can’t. But it’s hard to cling to Jesus when my arms are full of clutter.