the discipline of minimalism
Sarah loves clothes. She has an entire wardrobe for each of the four seasons, and a closet for each wardrobe. She shops every chance she gets, always staying on top of the latest fashion trends and boutique/retail sales. Sarah devotes hours and hours to outfit planning and closet organization, and gets great joy out of showing off her newest addition to her friends (or enemies). But Sarah oftentimes feels stressed as she approaches her closet. She has so many choices, and it sometimes takes hours for her to decide on the "perfect outfit," and even when she does decide, she worries that she's made the wrong decision of what to wear. Sarah has all the clothes anyone could ask for, or ever dream of owning...and though this should, to the naked eye, make her happy, she finds it's doing the opposite.
Juan is an avid Christ-follower. His favorite pastime is reading Christian spiritual growth books, and he is constantly adding books to his list on Goodreads. Juan loves to talk with his friends and church family about his most recent read, and loves even more sharing what he's learned with them. However, Juan finds that he has a competitive spirit when it comes to Christian growth. If he talks with someone who has read a spiritual growth book he hasn't, or knows something he hasn't yet come across in one of his books, he gets not only jealous, but defensive, instantly rebelling against the thought that someone might know something that he doesn't. Juan's intentions are good--to grow in His relationship with The Lord--but for some reason, despite his best efforts, it seems that his habit is actually getting in the way of his spiritual growth.
On first glance, it doesn't seem like Sarah and Juan have anything in common. However, look again. Both Sarah and Juan have passions for things that are not innately bad, but seem to be crowding their hearts, minds, and souls, and occupying space, time, and devotion that only God should occupy. Furthermore, their hobbies are, in some cases, causing them to develop behaviors, attitudes, and personality traits that actually aren't Christ-like...and are actually sins. Minimalism isn't a trendy fashion style. It isn't a type of interior design. It isn't a popular label for people who prefer camping to luxurious homes. It's a spiritual discipline, and one that we should all be intentionally practicing.
Practicing minimalism in our lives as followers of Christ is one of the ways in which we can actively "make room" for Him to fill more of our hearts, minds, spirits, souls, and, ultimately, entire lives. "Making room" means ridding our lives and possessions of all the "extra" stuff that may indeed be entertaining, enjoyable, or just easier to hold on to than get rid of (literally or emotionally), but is, nonetheless, weighing us down...in heart, mind, spirit, and soul. What areas in your life are crying out for minimizing? What things have you been holding on to that The Lord is urging you to release? Minimalism is not just for our benefit, although we do benefit greatly through the practice of minimalism (reduced stress and anxiety, less time spent tending to your clutter, etc.). Minimalism is also a vivid way in which we can say to and show The Lord through the way we live our lives, "I trust You, God. You are more than enough, and I know You will provide enough always." Additionally, it helps to daily remind us that our treasure lies in Heaven--not here on earth. Practicing minimalism in our daily lives here on earth will help us have more room for Christ, His people, and the work He has us here to do. What is the first thing in your life you can minimize?