“I want to live simply. I want to sit by the window when it rains and read books I’ll never be tested on. I want to paint (capture, create, commune) because I want to, not because I’ve got something to prove. I want to listen to my body, fall asleep when the moon is high and wake up slowly, with no place to rush off to. I want not to be governed by money or clocks or any of the artificial restraints that humanity imposes on itself. I just want to be, boundless and infinite.” – Author Unknown (adapted)
What a pleasant approach to life! These sentiments resonate with aspiring minimalists like me. It inhabits my soul. It speaks of a lifestyle choice that conjures joy, peace, simplicity, and libertad.
My journey to minimalism began on a spiritual note. ‘What does minimalism have to do with spiritual matters?’ ‘You may well ask!’ Todo! After all, the minimalist philosophy is aligned with Christ’s teachings. Jesus taught that “life is not measured by how much you own” (Luke 12:15) and advised His followers to leave their possessions behind. True surrender to God is a choice that is free and sovereign. It’s a personal desire for God Himself. It takes us on a journey of continual growth and sanctification. It is the stripping away of our mindless self-indulgences.
I’ve learned that walking with Christ involves a big shakeup, especially at the outset; a cleaning out, stripping away of some things and even relationships to make way for a new, improved way of living. Para mí, minimalism is pursuing that which is holy rather than superficial. It is not merely de-cluttering and reducing ‘things’ in one’s life – it’s creating space for more meaningful ones.
Consider Jesus’ response to the young man in the book of Luke. This man sought advice on how to obtain eternal life and Jesus responded: “Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). ¡Vaya! The man was not enamored with Jesus’ response and let’s be honest, at first neither were we. Conversely, in Mark 5, Jesus responds quite differently to another man on a different occasion. Now this man actually begged to follow Jesus but instead, was sent home to tell everyone of how Jesus had healed him.
What does it tell us? We are unique individuals, each with a different plight or challenge and purpose in life. Of course it is all right to have possessions since they are necessary here on earth, however, it should not be burdensome nor should it wield power over our lives. It should not define us nor our eternal fate since it is pretty useless in heaven. I’m of the opinion that the first man was heavily burdened by his possessions and material desires whereas the second man, was simply not.
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. – 1 Timothy 6:6
It’s a matter of the heart. If our hearts are set on purely pursuing worldly pleasures and possessions, it will indeed be a stumbling block to our joy, peace, and freedom. Society encourages us to acquire more and chase after possessions, with the false promise of satisfaction and security. However, this ‘satisfaction’ is elusive. God and only God can truly satisfy the human heart with all its desires. Para mi … minimalism is altogether spiritual, mental and physical; not only a good practice but also good for the soul.
Aquí están … a few steps to becoming a minimalist by Steve Mueller:
- Assess your life. Set priorities.
- Evaluate your possessions.
- Evaluate how you spend your time.
- Evaluate who you spend your time with.
- Set limits.
- Stop multitasking.
- Evaluate your goals and ambitions.
- Start small.
- Live deliberately.
- Limit screen time and media consumption.
- Ask yourself: Does this help to live more minimalistic?
Minimalismo (minimalism); Libertad (freedom); Todo (everything); Vaya (phew); Aquí están (here are); Pa’lante / para adelante (onwards)