Minimalism is becoming a growing trend. If you have a Pinterest account, you’ve seen it: ideas for creating your own capsule wardrobe, simplifying your space, and pairing down your belongings. There are blogs, documentaries, Facebook groups & pages, plus ebooks, printed books, and audiobooks all mentioning this one idea: simplifying your life.
Just months back, when I thought of the word ‘minimalism’, I thought of someone living in a completely white apartment with one hard chair, a twin-sized bed, and just a handful of earthly possessions. And while there are certainly radical minimalists out there, I feel the idea of minimalism (simplifying your life & belongings) has been misunderstood. Mind you, the majority of people who misunderstand the idea are from the generation who collected things (coins, porcelain dolls, & ‘knick-knacks’). Of course, this is new to that generation–but it doesn’t mean it’s not an important concept.
Simplify has been a word that was on my heart last fall, and has been my theme for 2017 (read more about that here). While I suppose I’ll never be a ‘radical minimalist’, I am becoming more and more interested in simplifying my closet, belongings, routines, and really, my life. I’ve had excess ‘stuff’ in my home before. And you know what? Those belongings–while nice to have–haven’t changed my life.
When my brother passed away, my 23+ coffee cups didn’t comfort my grief. When I’m having a hard day at work, having 6 purses in my closet is not going to soothe me. The point is this: my belongings have no impact on my attitudes, emotions, or my heart. They’re just things. With that in mind, I’ve been intentional in simplifying my life–not for the final goal of having a stark white apartment & one hard chair–but for the goal of finding joy outside of an excess of belongings. For the goal of having a truly simple life–one that’s focused on contentment.
I’m done with ‘more’. Our human nature makes us crave more in life: more belongings, busier schedules, more money, and bigger homes. So what do we do? We buy more things we don’t need, cram more into our already busy schedules, work crazy hours that pull us away from what matters most, and we get stuck in mortgages we become ‘house poor’ in. All in an effort to have that ‘more’ our hearts are longing for.
I’m done with it.
I give up.
That’s where minimalism comes in: it’s all about teaching yourself to be content with less, so you can be intentional in making the most of your life. Minimalism isn’t this new-age, fluffy-unicorns-and-rainbows sort of thing. I truly believe that living a simple life is pleasing to God, and that His plan for our lives doesn’t include having a house stuffed to overflowing.
Oftentimes, we use belongings as a way to try and fill a void in our heart. This isn’t God’s plan for our lives, friends–He wants so much more for us. Our contentment isn’t found in things, but in Christ who has given freedom to us. We don’t have to try and fill a void in our heart when His forgiveness has changed that very same heart. His love means so much more than a cupboard full of dishes, or a closet full of cheap clothing.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 says,
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (ESV)
These verses serve as a wonderful reminder that our belongings are not eternal. Those things will someday pass away, but what will remain is your relationship with Christ. The last thing I want for myself is to attempt to fill a void in my heart with belongings, rather than filling it with the fullness of Christ’s love.
Please hear me on this: having nice things isn’t wrong. It’s not a sin to have a nice home, beautiful clothing, and having more than one coffee cup. But attempting to find contentment in those things is. That’s why it’s important to me to simplify my life. I don’t have to sacrifice having nice things, nor do I have to go on a lifelong spending freeze. The goal, however, is to find contentment in what I already have, and to seek joy in the simplicity of life. Minimalism matters because it frees up the excess ‘junk’ in our lives to make room for what matters most. Besides, the things we’re most grateful for are usually not ‘things’ anyway.
I’d love to keep this conversation open, friends! What are your thoughts? Do you think there’s importance in simple living?