My husband and I recently made a big shift in the way we live. In a season where most people our age are in their peak earning years, accumulating excessive amounts of unnecessary things, we are intentionally taking a step back to live simply.
I realize our path is not everyone’s, nor am I advocating that it should be. However, if you resonate with most people in our culture and have several junk drawers, boxes that haven’t been opened since your last move, a storage unit full of things you wouldn’t purchase again, or a closet jammed with clothes you haven’t worn since the last decade, simplifying may help you find the life you’ve been looking for underneath all your stuff!
As we looked at our spending habits; or even the enticement to purchase that new kitchen gadget, tool, jacket, or piece of home decor, we recognized how thoughtless our spending had become. We recognized our motivations behind purchases were not always healthy. We recognized we spent a large amount of time “dreaming about consuming.” Where were we going to put it all? What was happening to us? Were WE actually being consumed?
Something needed to change.
God was inviting us to choose—to choose our lives instead of chasing other people’s lives. We asked his forgiveness for mindlessly spending his resources, cluttering up our home and our schedules. Then, we asked him to reveal what a “holy and beautiful” life looked like for us.
1 Thessalonians 4:7 (MSG) explains, “God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful—as beautiful on the inside as the outside.”
Joshua Becker, pastor and author of “The More of Less,” defines minimalism as “the intentional promotion of things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts from it.”
Our intentional removal of things was pretty intense for a season. We spent a lot of time not just decluttering but donating, selling, and throwing away unwanted items. Your process doesn’t have to look like ours, but it could start with asking a few questions of yourself:
- What is God inviting me to do or not do?
- What physical, financial, relational, or schedule-related obligations is God inviting me to surrender to his control?
- How would Jesus live my life if he were me?
For us, we’ve found that living simply has made us come alive! We’ve found more joy in owning less than we ever found in the constant pursuit of owning more. We have downsized our space but upsized our capacity for the things and people who are important to us! We spend less time cleaning, virtually no time shopping, more time learning, more time creating, and more time building community through intentional relationships. We are stepping off the treadmill of consumerism and passion to possess, and walking towards treasures that can’t be stolen.
Matthew 6:21 (NLT) says, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Through this journey, God has been kindly changing our desires to look more like his desires, and this is why it matters! We aren’t “stuffed” and tired, mindlessly living our lives as culture demands, but we are finding joy and freedom through intentionally promoting things we value and the people God is highlighting to us.
By removing external clutter, we’ve had the space to reach deep inside to explore what our hearts really want. We are still on the journey and still battle with wanting more, but our radar is tuned in to asking ourselves the real “why” behind our want.
Simplifying isn’t just a trend. There is so much freedom in it, friend. If you have too much clutter in your life to think about the greater purpose in it all, just start with donating clothes you never wear or throwing away items in your junk drawer. I found a forgotten $50 gift card when I began. God’s invitations are always filled with life-giving discoveries!