Minimalism is such a buzzword now.
I’m pretty sure if you asked any millennial right now, they would probably tell you they are trying to lead a minimalist lifestyle or be a minimalist. I’ve been saying it for a while, but it hasn’t really been a reality.
Let’s be honest. We all have more than we need.
I’m not even just talking about contentment, although we’ll touch on that later. I’m talking about buying things we think we need, but actually don’t. Holding onto things for no reason except sentiment (or guilt). Keeping things stored “just in case” you need two air mattresses and an oil lamp. (What.? Why is this my life right now.)
Josh and I watched an incredible documentary this past weekend called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. Wow. Our minds were blown! I HIGHLY recommend this documentary (be aware there are a few profanities). The various minimalists featured in this documentary offered such unique perspectives, not just about things we own, but also tasks we do and time we spend. Many of them echoed the same concept: they were looking for fulfillment in money and possessions, and never found it until they realized those were not the important things in this life. They remarked that we have all bought into this illusion that our lives have to look perfect–for heaven’s sake, even our kitchen appliances are now designed to be aesthetically pleasing. Our culture tells us we are supposed to own things that express who we are and what our style is.
But what if we didn’t? What if we just made do with the bare minimum? What if we valued quality over quantity? What if we didn’t give gifts solely out of obligation? What if we only owned 100 pieces of clothing including undergarments, shoes, and accessories? (It sounds like a lot but I dare you to go count up all the items you own right now. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be pretty embarrassed.) What if we only owned things that we actually used or things that brought joy or value to our lives? What if we evaluated everything we purchased with questions like, “Do I already have something like this?” and “Will I use this often?” (craftingasimplerlife.com) What if we ladies didn’t have (at least) twelve different bags, purses, and backpacks to choose from? How would living like this change our lives?
I think these things could make our lives simpler, and help us save money. One of the best quotes from the documentary was this: “We don’t necessarily control how much money we make, but we do control how much money we spend.” Think about that in your own life, and what that would actually mean. How many useless things have I purchased in the past month? How many clothing items have I purchased this year and either never worn or only worn a handful of times?
I agree with everything I’ve typed above, and agreed with 97% of everything said in the documentary. But what does all of this mean for someone trying to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord?
I believe minimalism, or simple living, is another way to glorify God. Think about it in relation to the quote discussing how much money we make vs. how much we spend. God has given me the job that I have, therefore the money I make from this job has also been given to me by God. How am I being a good steward of the money He has given me? Christians don’t like to talk about money. And the concept of giving ALL or using ALL of our money for God honoring purchases is foreign to many Christians. Oh we’ll give our time and talents to God, but our hard-earned money? That’s ours. We’ll give a little bit here and there to missionaries or even tithing . . . but what are we spending our money on?
What about the things I already have? I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that contentment is tough for me sometimes because I look at what other people have and wish I had those things too, whether it’s success, pets, or an aesthetic Instagram feed. But Paul knew that God had given him everything he needed–and had not given him things he didn’t need. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound . . . my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:11-12a, 19) I definitely have all that I need.
Why do I feel the need to constantly look for newer, better, bigger, fancier, more expensive, more stylish, more Instagram-able? Our culture has us convinced that what was cool last week isn’t cool this week. Don’t give in. Be thankful for what God has given you already–and eliminate what is unnecessary.
Minimalism isn’t just about THINGS; it’s also about the space in our head, and the hours in the day. What situations and information do I let fill my head instead of things that are honoring to God? What takes up my time more than constructive things, the most important of all being time with God? Do I let emails and social media notifications and text messages and work-related issues fill up my mind and schedule?
Josh and I are moving toward living a minimalist lifestyle. This shift can happen in small steps. We have already done one closet clean-out and are planning several more, we got rid of our extra couch, and have several more ideas. I also started a Pinterest board with useful lists and tips on how to live more simply. But my goal should not be to simply become happier and have less things. Because we are believers, the ultimate goal should be to better glorify God and be better stewards of what He has graciously provided. I’m excited to start on this journey of less stuff and more value. Less pressure for things and more time for togetherness. Less cultural expectations and more simplicity. Less of me and my desires–and more of Jesus.
Will you join me in creating a simpler, more intentional life?
Want some more quotes + tidbits from The Minimalists? (The two guys the documentary primarily follows.) Read more here while keeping in mind that these are great pieces of advice but don’t necessarily hold the truth to finding purpose in life. That’s only found in Jesus Christ. But do read and heed the good advice 😉