Minimalism sounds so good, doesn’t it? Whether you want to live with less physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual clutter, minimalism seems to offer what we all want – more peace and less stress.
But can it truly deliver? Is minimalism the answer?
Does True Peace Come From Minimalism?
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. - The Minimalists
Wow! If minimalism can promise that, I’ll do whatever it says!
Here’s the deal. True freedom, lasting freedom doesn’t come from donating your extra clothes – though I would recommend the occasional purge. Before we get too far let me be super clear about what this blog will be about.
Trent and I believe in the minimalist concept. We regularly go through our house and purge. We currently have one vehicle, because we realized we didn’t need a second one – at least not right now. We’ve experienced the feeling of lightness that living with less can bring, and we’re all about it. However, we’re not minimalist purists.
Even after donating hundreds of books, we still own more than we could ever read in a lifetime. We own dishes we don’t use. Tools we don’t use. Games we don’t play – with any regularity. But after a stint out of the country, seeing how happy people can be when they own very few possessions, and after our own experience of donating more items than we ever thought we had purchased, we’ve realized one thing. Less truly is more.
However, we don’t believe that minimalism is THE answer. It’s just a tool.
What does the Bible say about minimalism?
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” - Jesus (Luke 12:15)
Sometimes I wonder what God sees when he looks at us in America. We fill our homes, basements, and garages with stuff. Then we go buy storage units to hold what we can’t get on our property. The next time you take a drive look for storage units. They’re everywhere!
Marketing promises that if we buy some product it’s going to revolutionize our life. Give us the solution to our problems. There’s something in us that’s always searching for an answer, and I believe it’s because, at our core, we know something’s wrong. We just look for answers in the wrong places, and Jesus knew that.
Possessions won’t provide security and freedom, but swinging the pendulum to the other side won’t provide them either. Not really.
Freedom is found in a person.
If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. - John 8:36
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. - 2 Corinthians 3:17
If you want to find freedom from fear, worry, overwhelm, guilt, and depression, then I have great news for you. Jesus offers all that and more. When you relinquish your life to him you’ll find a peace that “surpasses understanding.” Jesus is what you need at the core.
That doesn’t mean that living with less isn’t still a good idea. Remember the verse above? Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
We can have freedom in Christ and still be bound by our possessions, and he knew that. With that in mind, we believe all Christians should adopt a minimalist mindset. It may not look exactly the same from person to person, but here are some guidelines we believe are both biblical and practical.
What are the basic tenants of minimalism?
- OWN FEWER POSSESSIONS:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. – 1 Timothy 6:6-7
- BREAK FREE FROM THE DESIRE FOR MORE:
Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’ – Luke 12:15
- CONSIDER WHAT’S TRULY IMPORTANT:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21
- BE COUNTER-CULTURAL:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2
How to apply minimalism to your life:
PURGE THE PHYSICAL CLUTTER
One of the best ways to start breaking our attachment to things is to declutter. I’m not an expert on explaining how to do that, so I’m just going to share my favorite YouTube channel – The Minimal Mom. Dawn is so good at explaining how to purge and her tips have helped us so much.
Just as a personal testimony… Whenever we go through a room and get rid of things that are unnecessary the house just feels lighter. You may not even realize you need this, but my suggestion is to follow Dawn’s tips. Declutter one room and see how it feels.
PURGE THE EMOTIONAL/MENTAL CLUTTER
Clutter is “a collection of things lying around in an untidy mass.” Think about what those emotional and mental things are for you. Is it negative thoughts about yourself? It is bitterness and anger? Whatever those things are, you have to throw them out. They’re weighing you down and they’re keeping you from living in true freedom.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. - John 10:10
Take your thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. He makes you new. He loves you. Anything you’ve done in the past (or that has been done to you_ that has a hold of your mind has been dealt with on the cross. Let Jesus take it and wash you clean.
PURGE THE SPIRITUAL CLUTTER
You may be thinking, “Spiritual clutter? What’s that?” Honestly, it can be different from person to person. If you’re someone who’s dabbled in different types of spirituality, my recommendation is to throw out everything but Jesus. You don’t need Jesus and yoga. Jesus and manifestion. All you need is Jesus. Get rid of the rest.
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. -Jesus (John 14:6)
Even if you’re faithful to Jesus alone, spiritual clutter can still weasel its way in. Truthfully, physical, mental, and emotional clutter all have a spiritual component. If you believe you’re unloveable, that’s emotional, mental, AND spiritual. You’re believing a lie about yourself and God. Those things, with God’s help, need to be dealt with and gotten rid of.
But have you ever considered failed attempts at being a “good Christian” as clutter? Remember, clutter is “a collection of things lying around in an untidy mass.”
If you started a Bible reading plan, but didn’t finish it – clutter. Maybe you need to pick it back up and finish it. Maybe you just need to accept that the plan wasn’t right for you and move on. Whatever’s holding space in your “spiritual house” that needs to go, kick it to the curb.
Final thoughts on minimalism
Minimalism promises freedom. Freedom is only found in Jesus, but the principles of minimalism go hand-in-hand with the Christian life. The key is to start with Jesus as your foundation and add minimalism into the mix. If you try to build on the foundation of minimalism here’s what I’m afraid you’ll find.
You’ll always be wondering if you’ve gotten rid of enough. There will always be more you could do. More to donate. More to trash. You’ll constantly be wondering if it’s wise to buy this or think that. Don’t even go down that trail. Start with Jesus, build on Jesus, and wrap it all up in Jesus. If you do that, possessions won’t have a hold on you. The principles of minimalism will be evident in your life because minimalism was Him idea 🙂
Because there’s a better way,
question: what was most helpful from this blog? is there something you can put into practice today? let us know!
If you’ve found value in our content and would like to help keep the blog up and running, you can now donate VIA Buy Me a Coffee.