As I have more and more conversations with people, literally all over the world and in many different lifestyles, the more I’m convinced that a life of simplicity can be for anyone anywhere. At first glance, many people think of minimalism as being all about material things, or a purging of those things. It is a large component, but truly, being a minimalist is about shedding the excess so that you can live a life more focused on what matters most to you. Minimalism and simplicity, while still viewed as countercultural, have become buzzwords. When it comes to fads, I usually fall into the group of wanting to go the other way. I have not jumped on the minimalist bandwagon to join in a crowd. Neither is it why I share and blog about our journey. I share because I see the undeniable benefits of living this way.
In his book, The Freedom of Simplicity, Richard Foster says, “Stress the quality of life above the quantity of life. Refuse to be seduced into defining life in terms of having rather than being…. Develop close friendships and enjoy long evenings of serious and hilarious conversation.”
Maybe you live in the country and though you feel a lack of some necessities, you also feel weighed down by your stuff. Isn’t small town or country living supposed to be simpler? You long to be out in the nature you are surrounded by, yet find yourself dealing with (ie. fixing, cleaning, or organizing) your stuff, maybe even stuff that is supposed to help you enjoy those natural surroundings.
Maybe you’re a mom of two living in the suburbs (all my friends with two kids, I promise I’m not thinking of anyone in particular :-)) . You collapse every night as soon as the last one is tucked in with a list of all the things you didn’t do and somehow the weekends evaporate without any of your ideas of family time having materialized.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Let me be the first to say, I get it. Life is overwhelming, stuff is overwhelming. I’ve been there and sometimes I am still there. Pursing a life of simplicity isn’t a quick fix, but rather a choosing to let go of the unnecessary and running hard after the things that matter most. Whether it be better quality time with your family and friends, time to enjoy the outdoors, time to pray or go to church, time to travel, adding to and enjoying a collection you truly treasure, time or space to start that hobby or project, time to go fishing, or the chance to change your career, living more simply can lead to that.
It’s not necessarily our things that are in the way-though they certainly contribute. It might be a chaotic schedule, debt, or a generally over indulgent lifestyle. And becoming a minimalist doesn’t lead to your dream life. But it makes room for what’s more important to you. What can you simplify so that you are one step closer to living a life more in step with your values, passions, and God-given talents?
Thoughts or questions? Comment below!