Minimalism and its purpose in my life.

The purpose of minimalism is for self-improvement and complacency, but minimalism for a Christian is undertaken for completely antithetical reasons. Some have described the purpose of minimalism as re-prioritizing and de-cluttering your life to make time for the things that really matter to you, so you can do more of those things and less of everything else. In this way minimalism is relative to those on both sides of the fence. However, minimalism from a non-Christian standpoint also says to discover what brings meaning and value to your life and pursue it with all your might, even if that something is not God Almighty. This is where we part ways. We are commanded, "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.1" From this we can derive that anything NOT done to the glory of God is a sin. For instance, a minimalist may have a goal to make room for basketball, knitting, volunteer work, etc. as the object of value in their lives, but Jesus is to always be the chiefest object of value in the life of a Christian.

With that said, let me elaborate on the significance of practicing minimalism in my life. Although I fail constantly, I say along with Paul that it is my hope that "Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.2" I have very obsessive tendencies in my personality that will allow the pursuit of "stuff" to take hold of me if I do not live carefully, so I have to be very attentive. It goes much deeper than monitoring the amount of possessions I have. Sure, I consistently assess things that I could do without, but it is also necessary to be constantly aware of the effect that those things have on my priorities. My practice of minimalism entails much more evaluation of my priorities than of my stuff. We can give and give until there is nearly nothing left, but if it doesn't bring about a more Gospel-centered life, then we have missed the mark. I aim to de-clutter my closets, my mind, and my time.

My mind is where the breadth of the battle is fought, because it plays a role in all areas of life. God has made me to become depressed and to feel pain when I place other treasures above Him. I do not understand it in the slightest, but I count it as a gift and as a medium for being aware of my constant need of Him.

Concerning shopping and accumulating possessions, I have found it beneficial to delete newsletters from virtually every store that I have previously subscribed to. If there is anything that my wife has ever preached to me it is, "Just because it's a good deal doesn't mean you need to buy it!" Also, try to avoid the impulse buy at all costs. Unless, of course, you want to invoke a tums eating marathon. Learning to stay away from retail is also a lesson i've been learning. Not learning well, but learning :) Discerning the usefulness of the things we already own is a big part of being a minimalist. I also find that it moves me to want to give things away to people who are in need. The best question to ask of our stuff is, "Can I use it to bring glory to God?" Giving that something away might be the best way to do it.

Concerning time, it is quite easy to fall victim to wasting an obscene amount of it online. The internet places the world at our fingertips, and while it is not evil in and of itself, we will most certainly use it for frivolous and eternally worthless dawdling if given the chance. David said that he would not set anything worthless before his eyes3, but we have forgotten such wisdom. Don't believe that the American concept of "killing time" is biblical, because it certainly is not.4 I have to live most every day by some sort of schedule. You may have little to no problem in this area, but this is my thorn. I have to plan my daily time with the Lord or it will not happen. If something happens to throw my schedule off, I have the propensity to freak out. Therefore, I take an extreme amount of care in living moment to moment. In short, my practices entail analyzing my priorities and possessions to determine their value in my endeavor to live the Gospel life.

Through these things I hope to discard distraction in my life in order to form a mind that often withdraws to prayer and is exceedingly alert to the needs of others. How I long to be poured out for the kingdom and to make Christ the supreme treasure of my heart! He is so much more precious than anything else I could pursue!

11 Corinthians 10:31, 2Philippians 1:20, 3Psalm 101:3, 4Ephesians 5:6

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff, Blake. I struggle with the right kind of minimalism, too!!!