A few years ago, my oldest daughter stumbled on some articles about minimalism. The idea fascinated her, and she then spent a couple days watching documentaries on the subject. Everyday she would inform me of what she’d learned and was pretty convincing about how we should all live a minimal lifestyle. Around the third day of her new research project, she took the next step and began sizing up her own belongings. This soon led to piles of clothes, shoes, and socks (she had an amazing amount of socks!). Every drawer, her closet, her bathroom, everything was attacked in this sorting as she eliminated herself of excess stuff.
There is no doubt we all have more than we need. I know I could stand to sort through my closet. I have multiple pairs of jeans and shirts. (We won’t even mention the number of shoes I have!) I like to convince myself I wear it all, but the truth is I don’t. I tell myself to keep those things I mark for “special occasions.” I have things that may not fit quite like I’d them, but maybe if I would just…well, you know the drill. I look around my house and see it too. There aren’t many bare spaces on the wall. I have things tucked away everywhere, and my storage spaces (yes, there are multiple), are all full.
What about minimalism, then? One definition states:
“Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”
Reminds me of the gospel. Jesus says, in Luke 12:
“Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body…and you count far more.”
Perhaps Jesus was trying to teach us all the minimalist lifestyle. Maybe, if we weren’t so tied to our stuff and the job of caring for it, we would have more freedom. Or maybe, if we could put more focus on the things that really matter in our life – like the people we love, the opportunity to serve others, the ability to love our neighbor – we might discover freedom. Freedom from worry, fear, guilt, and depression. Maybe, if we would just allow ourselves to find freedom in Christ, our life would look very different.
Jesus goes on to say in Luke:
“What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things…steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.”
Perhaps then we might find freedom, and live a minimal life filled with the abundance of God.