Simplify Your Life - Pt. 3
Recently, my wife and I went on a bit of cleaning spree, and decided to declutter some of our counters, shelves, the back patio, the outside patio, the kitchen, our closet, our bathroom, the kid's rooms... Okay, so we starting decluttering and just couldn't stop.
What we discovered in the midst of all that decluttering was that we didn't really need all of the things that we thought we needed when we moved into our house several months ago. And here's the kicker: We actually thought we had decluttered from our old house when we moved into the new one.
In fact, we hadn't--not really. But when the counters were cleared, the patios made a bit more sparse, all of the extraneous stuff that populated our kitchen, our closet, bathrooms and kid's rooms disappeared, we made a fabulous discovery. We felt better.
It felt better to have less stuff. It felt better to walk in the house and see the simplicity of minimalism. And it also felt better knowing that in the end, we don't need stuff to make us happy, in fact having more stuff actually contributes to stress and anxiety. What Merideth and I were striving for was contentment with less. Clearing the clutter actually helped us take a step closer to achieving it.
In 1 Timothy 6:7-8 we hear these words of wisdom from the Apostle Paul about contentment: For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
I know, I know... You're thinking that just having food and "covering" isn't really going to cut it in this day and age. But if you take "food and covering" to mean all of the ways that we care for the basic needs of ourselves and our families--then it can take on new meaning for us as we try to simplify our lives in order to achieve more for the kingdom.
I believe when we are less focused on the things of this world--we are able to be more focused on the kingdom of God.
When our counters and shelves, rooms and closets became less cluttered, less filled with stuff, I found myself able to concentrate better on the things that matter most. I found more joy to share with my children, more attention to give to my wife, and a host of new ideas for how I could impact the world for the sake of God's kingdom.
I know that it sounds strange, but it actually happens. When you minimize the distractions, and get rid of the material things that are occupying space in your head (as well as the desire for more that always seems to accompany them) you find yourself much more able to remain focused on what is good, pure, lovely and true.
May you find ways to simplify your life by decluttering it, clearing space for new ways to see the world through God's eyes. May you discover new capacity to be shaped by a more minimalist way of life, where your focus is on the kingdom of God and not on the things of this world.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.