Why Minimalism Matters

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?

  • First of all, your blog is looking BEAUTIFUL. I love all the white space.

    Secondly, I am getting really into this minimalism stuff. I totally hear your heart, and I feel like mine is on the same wavelength. I feel it every time I buy a new lipstick or sweater or anything, really. There’s this voice in my head saying “hey, that’s not going to fill you up or truly make you feel better about yourself.” So while I haven’t really done away with everything, I feel like I’ve done a much better job at having a Jesus centered minimalist mindset recently.

    Thirdly, we need to catch up like yesterday, girl. Love you dearly.

    • You’re so kind, friend! I’m in love with white lately, and wanted some clean lines on this little internet space.

      I honestly think you’re onto the whole point of being a minimalist. It’s about having a Jesus-centred mindset (like you said). When I’m focusing my heart & mind on Him, the desire for earthly ‘stuff’ starts fading away as I realize it doesn’t fill me; He does. Goodness, we could have a whole book written on the subject of Jesus-centred minimalism!

      So thankful for your friendship & our chats. Love to you!

  • Such wise words! Our contentment should be in Jesus! I also agree that most Joy I have found hasn’t been in things, but In my relationship with my savior and the simple things in life. Those things that matter the most like the my children and family!

    • Exactly, Nikki! You can’t buy those things, yet they’re the most important. I agree that family is a huge blessing & truly what matters most. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Ro

    Gosh, I love this post so much! These are such wise and true words! I’ve wrestled with this a lot as of late and have also found myself desiring to simplify my life a little more. It’s crazy how much these things can also clog up our brains – well at least for me I feel more cluttered when there’s more things around me. Aside from those benefits, you’re spot on about how it relates to contentment. We should only be content in Jesus and we’ll always come up short trying to find contentment elsewhere. I was tempted to go “retail therapy” shopping since it’s been a rough week for us and your post really encouraged and reminded me that I don’t need more things to feel better. What I need is Jesus and His power at work in my heart – not a temporary thing to give me some temporary joy. Thank you, for sharing your heart with us!

    • Girl, I am so glad this post was an encouragement to you!

      I’ve fallen in the trap of buying things (not expensive things, but things I ultimately don’t need) when I’m feeling stressed, anxious, or sad. Then, when the problem in my life has passed, I feel such guilt because I’ve tried to bandage up a wound with retail therapy. It just doesn’t bring me joy, but Jesus always does.

      Thank YOU for stopping by & being such a wonderful, faithful reader!

  • This is so beautifully written, girl. And I really could not agree more. I feel like I’m in the same season right now. I’ve been embracing minimalism more and more (although, like you, I’ll never be a radical minimalist). I’ve been trying to be more mindful, or intentional, with all of my purchases going forward. It’s really helped me. It’s so refreshing to give things away and organize what’s left. And since I don’t have as much to keep clean, I can focus my energy on spending time with God, my family + friends.

    • I agree 100%, Jessica! Giving things away & organizing our lives really does refresh us in an amazing way. It also gives us such a beautiful chance at focusing our attention on God, rather than the next item we want. And besides, having fewer things means less cleaning (especially dusting!).

  • Kendra

    Thank you for sharing your heart! You said it beautifully and I can’t agree more

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  • Blessing Boamah

    Throughout the last couple of years I’ve really been working on decluttering my space. One of the ways that helped me is by choosing not to buy any new clothes for possibly the whole year. I realize I have more than enough and need to make more of an effort for simple living, because I do believe that is important :). What you said really resonated with me.