After the holiday season has passed, our focus seems to shift to managing all of our “stuff.” It fills our closets, clutters our drawers, takes over our calendars, and can downright overwhelm us. No longer does it seem as if we own our stuff, but rather it owns us. Guest speaker and pastor Becca Ehrlich recently shared about her life as a Christian minimalist, and how paring down our possessions can free us to live the abundant, full life Jesus wants for us. Here are some of the things we learned...
Minimalism is not just about having less material goods, but instead it is a larger shift in focus. Minimalism holds a focus on the aspects of life that matter most, and intentionally removes everything else that could get in the way. For each person, these valued aspects of life may be slightly different, but often areas such as health, relationships, passion, growth, or meaningful contribution rise to the top. Similarly, while the roadblocks to minimalism might vary from person to person, there seems to be a trend among the top things that get in the way of us focusing on the aspects of life that matter most. Some of the most common include material possessions and upkeep, money spending habits, time and energy spending habits, and taking on too much.
For those looking to cut through the clutter in 2019 and start the year off refocused on what really matters, try out these 3 simple steps.
Step 1: Identify what’s most important
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Picture it. What does this abundant life look like for you? Perhaps make a list of some of the most important aspects in your life. Writing them down can be a powerful and clarifying exercise.
Step 2: Intentionally remove everything else
Minimize/declutter/get rid of stuff & commitments that keep you from an abundant life. This requires bravery and determination, but you can do it. Remember that there is no “right” way to be a minimalist. It is prescriptive rather than restrictive. It is a lifestyle that can be adjusted for your personal context and current life situation. What might be of high value in this season may not fit for the next.
Step 3: Thoughtfully consume goods, time, energy, and money
Being thoughtful about what we use, how we spend our time, where we expend our physical and emotional energy, and where we spend our money will have an impact on our hearts. In Luke 12:23, Jesus shared, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” As we purposefully engage in the world, rather than mindfully consume, we will discover more opportunities for fellowship, stewardship, self-care, spiritual growth, vocation, and service than we ever imagined possible.
The Results: Freedom!
Enjoy the freedom of more time, energy, and financial resources to focus on what matters most! Imagine what you might do to love and serve God and others with that extra energy, extra hour, extra financial cushion? You can make an impact in the kingdom of God.
As Christians, we are called to be counter-cultural and we can strive to be minimalists in a consumer society—because we know that our life’s meaning is not wrapped up in material things, wealth, fame, fortune, or human accomplishments/accolades.
It is through Jesus Christ, and what he did for us by dying on the cross and his resurrection, that our lives have meaning. We have one life (YOLO!). How can we focus on what matters most to love and serve God and others?
God will help us. Let’s do it together!
Grant us, O God, the desire to live simply, unhindered by the compulsion for more. Give us clarity of mind so that we might see what truly matters. Teach us to treasure what Your heart treasures, for we know that only in You will we find abundant life. Amen.
Special thanks to Becca Ehrlich for her insight into Christian Minimalism. You can learn more about this great topic and Becca on her website.