Why I Feel Called to Simple Living as a Christian
So I know minimalism is the new trendy thing now a days and I'll admit, I'm into it. But I'm looking at it from a different perspective. I feel called as a Christian to live a life of less. I wrote this to share with you guys a little bit about what I'm going through simplifying my life, not because it's trendy, but because minimalism coincides with christianity. Most of the stuff I've seen regarding minimalism was mostly about getting rid of things and living with less. I think it's so much more than that. Not only have I been getting rid of possessions, but I've also been simplifying things. Taking a step back to the basics, and making some huge changes in my consumerism. So, not just minimal, but mindful and simple living, too.
Let me ask you this- what are you worshipping? Anything that you choose to focus on before your relationship with Jesus is an idol. It may be clothes, outward appearances, social media (guilty of this one), shopping, etc. I think we've all been there. I'm STILL there sometimes. But the point is, this world is not my home. The things of this world are not my things.
The Message version of Colossians 2:22-23 says,"Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they're just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important."
Paul is basically telling us to flee from anything that does not help us in our relationship with God. Whether it be other people's ideas of religion, rules, what we need in life, including material possessions. We live in a world that's screaming at us to buy the next big thing. And it does sound impressive enough if it's said in a deep enough voice! Of course society is going to make you feel like you need the things they are trying to sell. And we try to validate our obsession with material possessions by thinking.. oh I need this or I need that in order to live a good life and pursue God's calling for me, etc. Right? Don't we do that? In my recent research of minimalism and how it ties into faith, I've read a lot of things arguing that, although Jesus lived with little, no where in the bible does it "specifically"calls us to do the same. It only tells us not to be greedy or love our possessions more than we love God. But hello?
The goal is to be. like. Jesus.
As a Christian, I am called to live a life focused on Him and I cannot do that when my life is filled with materialistic items. Simple as that. That's why this pursuit, this journey per se, is so important to me to share. I'm striving to live minimally and simply not because it is trendy but because I am bringing the simple gospel to life. The things that I do need to purchase, I want to do so mindfully, really taking the time to put my money somewhere I can feel good about and would be pleasing to God.
I'm often questioned about why I care so much about living natural and organically. I'll admit, it's hard. And life would be so much easier if I just bought the cheapest products, the fastest and most inexpensive foods, etc. But my momma raised me right! Scripture tells me in Romans 12:2 ,"Do not be conformed to this world." I strongly feel that verse very much so applies to what we put in our bodies. God did not create the complete crap that we are surrounded with today and it breaks my heart that this is our world. I long to see what things looked like 200 years ago. God did not create factory farms, child labor, the fashion industry, GMOs, processed foods, synthetic drugs, the list goes on. I hate to be so harsh, but it's true. My body is a temple of the holy spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) therefore I refuse to conform to the unhealthy, dangerous patterns of society today. So, I choose to live a natural life full of the things that actually come from God. Mindful consumerism is a big part of minimal living. Therefore, I am moving away from worldly things and making my way to a wholesome, natural, and healthy life.
I can not be spiritually healthy if I am physically ill.
So I know that's a lot of rambling and I still feel like I didn't say everything I need to say about it. But I'm gonna cut to the chase. These are a few things I'm implementing in my life to live "minimally", if you will.
I'm quitting fast fashion
I'm not all the way with this yet, but 98% of my wardrobe purchases within the past couple months have been from thrift stores. As I cannot afford to purchase only from sustainable and organic brands as I would like to, I choose to shop second hand instead of at big name retailers. Shopping second hand can still make a big difference and is a great change you can make if you want to shop more ethically and sustainably. The fashion industry is appalling these days and I feel better about where my money is going when I purchase from a thrift store, especially ones that donate to Christian causes. Plus, thrifting is so so cheap and saves a lot of money!
My beauty products are minimal + DIY
The beauty products that I use daily are: DIY deodorant, moisturizer (organic coconut oil or organic bee balm cream), organic bee balm chapstick, and essential oils for perfume. I still wear makeup but not everyday like I used to. When I do it's normally a simple natural look so I have more time in the morning to focus on things that matter.
I'm keeping my wardrobe basic
1 Peter 3:3 states "
Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes." Just like keeping my beauty products simple, I'm keeping my wardrobe simple. I already tend to gravitate more towards basics when it comes to clothes, and I really don't feel that I can focus on Christ if I'm worried about wearing the latest trends. By investing my money in pieces that are basic, can create multiple outfits, and are always in style, I don't have to worry about updating my clothes every time there is a new trend. (Which if you didn't know, is every week because the fashion industry now has 52 seasons??)
I'm paying attention what what goes in my body
I know the whole natural living part of this may seem a little off topic here, but for me, it makes perfect sense.
Personally, I don't think I can say I'm living a minimalist life yet still consume food with 50 man-made ingredients in it. Or moisturize my skin with a lotion full of unhealthy chemicals when there are natural alternatives out there. The whole point of this journey to minimalism is because it's creating one less barrier between me and the Lord. It's going back to the roots of what God created for us. I don't feel it's biblical for me to partake in anything that's not naturally from God and from this earth that he created. Listen, by no means am I perfect. Sometimes you're at the grocery store and the potato chips are basically yelling at you to take them home. That's okay, it happens to me too. But the point is it's a process and a journey. I'm constantly on the pursuit to improve what goes into or onto my body. I'm going back to the basics of food and beauty products because
I don't feel that I can live minimally if I'm not living naturally simultaneously.
Getting rid of things I do not need or use
For me this is an ongoing process. I try to do a run through of my things at least once a month. Something I thought I needed two weeks ago might be easier to part with when I go through my things again this week. Also, whenever I purchase something I try to get rid of something. It's a process but it's happening. I used to hoard, like, for real. But I've come to realize that when my physical space is free of clutter, so is my mind. If you're interested in specific areas of my life that have been helpful to declutter, you can read a blog post I wrote about that here.
I want you to know that when I write about things like this, I'm not writing from a place of perfection or all-knowingness. I am still learning. But I wanted to share those things that I'm learning because I believe this ties in so deeply to my faith, and maybe you might feel a pull towards this too. How can I have an attitude of giving to serve others if I'm not willing to give up my own materialistic things? How can I focus on my relationship with God if I'm focused on whether or not the latest jean skirt trend will look good on me? The simple answer:
A life that is mindfully, naturally, and simply built around the One who matters. That's what I'm after.