Sometimes I think I give minimalism a bit too much credit.
You see, if I’m excited about something, you’re going to hear about it. When I find a solution to a problem, it’s in my nature to make sure everybody knows the answer. So when I found my sanity buried beneath our clutter, I wanted to share it with anyone who’d hear it. Hence my out of nowhere decision to start this blog a few years back.
The reality is, while YES, getting rid of my stuff gave me back my home, it was the unique way in which minimalism transformed my faith that cemented it all for me.
So, is Minimalism a Religion?
No, it’s not. Not even a little bit. It’s simply a guardrail that keeps us moving toward a meaningful life. It allows us to ditch the distractions, move with greater clarity and focus on what matters most. For me, what matters most is faith.
It doesn’t matter your shape, size, belief system, faith, political view or even your college sports affiliation, minimalism can benefit everyone.
“The beautiful thing about minimalism, is it works whether you’re religious or not. -The Minimalists
However, if you allow it to, this life of less will unclutter your soul. From consumerism to your parenting, from your faith to your personal style, you’ll begin looking at everything differently.
An Abundant Life
I still remember exactly where I was standing when I made the connection that this was about so much more than eliminating excess to spend more time playing Uno with my kids.
In John 10:10 Jesus said,
“I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
For as long as I can remember I was under the impression that an abundant life had to do with more. More comfort, more success, more money, nicer stuff, a better life, greater health…you get the point. Minimalism offered me a new perspective.
What if an abundant life has nothing to do with the accumulation of more, but with letting go? The letting go of our need to self-preserve and keep up. Exchanging fear and worry for deeper trust. Trading in our excess stuff for an undistracted life. What if an abundant life is actually found in the pursuit of less?
With minimalism as my new lens I began to rethink it all and this is what I’ve found.
4 Ways Minimalism Reshaped My Christian Faith.
1. Redefining Treasure
“Wherever your treasure is there your heart will also be.” – Matthew 6:21
I’ve read this verse countless times throughout my life, always assuming I had it figured out. But what we believe to be true about ourselves and the way we actually live our lives, are two different things.
I would never have called my never ending piles of stuff “treasure,” but managing my accumulation and updating material possessions took up too much of my time, resources and mental load.
Love, joy and peace often came in second to my need for updated throw pillows and wall art.
The endless draw to keep up, accumulate and update, distracted us from the things that truly mattered and I didn’t have the slightest clue.
Here’s the thing. If we don’t intentionally decide what we treasure, society will decide for us. What chance do we stand against the 5,000 advertisements we see every day vying to be called a treasure, if we don’t purposefully decide ahead of time?
“Life is not measured by what you own.” – Luke 12:15
2. Trust in God’s Provision
As I went through my home decluttering items I had held onto for years, I began to investigate what it was that was motivating me to keep so many of these “just in case” items? From an old sauté pan to mounds of towels, sheets, jeans and gym shoes, we were holding on to so much. Why?
I slowly began to realize that my “too much stuff” problem might actually stem from a trust issue. While I thought I believed my God would provide all my needs, I was living as though it was solely my job to self preserve.
Maybe that’s just what happens when the line blurs between needs and wants? We exchange an abundant life for an entitled one.
“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable, Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”- 1 Timothy 6:1
“Why worry about clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing. Yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” – Matthew 6:2
In this era of credit cards, robotic vacuum cleaners and Amazon Prime, it’s easier than ever to become self reliant and forget our need for God. I tell you what though, it’s a deceiving and slippery slope.
As I started to let go of my excess stuff, my trust grew. As dramatic as it may sound, with every extra sweater, coat and mug I donated, I felt myself leaning into the only true and lasting source of provision, joy, hope and strength.
3. Being a Good Steward
I used to believe that being a good steward of my possessions meant holding on to it all.
However, when we stock pile our “extras” and “back-ups” in our basements, closets and storage units, we become like the servant who hid his bag of silver in the ground, afraid he’d lose it all (Matthew 25:14-30).
We have a responsibility to use what we’ve been given to glorify God. There are people who genuinely need some of the items we hold on to for our “what-if” scenarios.
Whether it’s your skills, faith or extra crib sheets, don’t bury them.
4. Love People
“Love people, use things. The opposite never works.” – The Minimalists
“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion- how can God’s love be in that person?” – 1John 3:1
As we decluttered our home from top to bottom, we found more joy in generosity than we ever did in accumulation.
How to Be Rich, by Andy Stanely is the best book I’ve read on the topic of faith and money. While it’s an easy read, it’s a hard pill to swallow. Spoiler alert: You’re already rich. Now what will you do with your riches?
“Whenever we have more than we need, our natural assumption will be that it’s for our own consumption.” – Andy Stanley
When we see our stuff for what it is, we are in a better position to give generously, lean into greater trust, and love people the way we are told to. Letting our excess become somebody else’s treasure has sparked more joy in me than any material item ever has. Generosity plants a seed of hope in both the life of the giver and the receiver.
My “ah-ha” moment was more than a fortunate encounter, it was a divine appointment. God promises to meet all our needs, and back then, what I needed most was less. He lifted me from the muck, mire (Psalm 40:2) and mounds of clutter so that that I could ditch the abundance and pursuit a more abundant life with less.
For more inspiration
Declutter Your Life
It’s time to stop managing our families and start leading them!
2 years ago I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I had no capacity to mom on purpose.
Living with less has gifted me time, space and some much needed perspective of what truly matters most. Below is the link to my FREE Beginner’s Declutter Like a Minimalist Guidebook. It takes a deeper look at the 7 Steps to getting started highlighted in my popular post, Declutter Like a Minimalist.