Inside: What is minimalism? Here you’ll learn just how easy it is to replace the distraction of stuff with the distractions of comparison and perfection.
It’s been well over a year since our family drank the minimalism Kool-Aid and we’re still here to talk about it.
In one ordinary afternoon, I went minimalist and everything changed.
It’s been one of those, “never, ever go back. In fact let’s see just how far we can take this” kind of transitions. I’ve yet to regret this decision for even one second. It’s birthed a new me and I’ve got to be honest, she’s quite delightful company.
Things just run smoother around here when there is less to manage.
You see, routines and systems used to horrify me because they always left me feeling like a failure. I just chalked it up to wanting more freedom and flexibility than a routine could offer me. (Oh, the irony). The truth is, I was just trying to juggle too much.
Routine or no routine I was drowning.
Then freedom came in the form of owning less and doing less.
It’s now easiser to set up simple, effective and efficient routines that keep my home running smoothly and ward off that overwhelming feeling. These new routines replaced the chaotic scrambling that had, for so long, defined my life.
This journey toward less has allowed me to not just get rid of clutter, but find contentment in having fewer wants and filling more needs, rather than spending my days accumulating and upgrading. My stuff serves me rather than the other way around.
It All Fell Apart
And then one day, my dishwasher broke.
Now I fully recognize the irony of this self-proclaimed minimalist mama being so wildly attached to her dishwasher. I am. What can I say? It sparks great joy.
In one simple Sunday afternoon, my husband leaned a little too hard into it’s door, snapping a part in half, and my efficient routines and systems began to simultaneously crumble.
With what I admit is great hyperbole, everything fell apart.
It was like watching an Apocalyptic movie where one wrong move causes a beaker to spill over, thus unleashing a chain reaction of nuclear meltdown proportions.
I stood there, in my kitchen looking at his, “oh crap” face. He knew the gravity of what he had done.
It spiraled, in a matter of seconds, and suddenly I was looking at a mountain of laundry, an overflowing pile of dishes and three wild, looting children pulling everything off the shelves and tossing them strategically at my feet as I wandered in circles.
It was a moment of complete and utter anarchy.
Then I recognized something frightening.
My minimalism was as much about holding on, as it was about letting go. Except it wasn’t material possessions I was holding on to, it was control.
I wasn’t using this “life of less” for freedom at all. It was just another method to control outcomes.
While over-scheduling, shopping, and upgrading used to be my drug of choice to combat feelings of being overwhelmed, I now had new drug, minimalism.
When the routines and systems are working properly and everything runs smoothly, those picture perfect “benefits of minimalism” can flow naturally. You see, peace is more easily accessible when everything goes according to plan.
The effectiveness of my minimalism determined the amount of peace I walked in.
I had lost sight of why I chose this life in the first place by making a good thing, the ultimate thing.
Minimalism even allowed me to quantify my control. Every one item I removed moved me one step closer to perfection and order. I had simply traded one distraction in life for another.
Go Back to Basics
It forced me to take a few steps back and revisit “MY WHY” What was it I was after in the first place?
The reality is, anything can become the ultimate thing if we let it.
If you find yourself in the same place friend, know that you aren’t alone. For those of us that have spent a lifetime working toward perfection, this transformation of the heart takes time. In fact, I don’t know if it’s ever actually gone. We can however, recognize it more quickly and take the necessary steps to regain our focus on what truly matters most to us.
My why has absolutely nothing to do with executing minimalism with perfection. I’m not interested in obsessing about keeping things tidy.
I’m just a girl seeking the abundant life she was promised in John 10:10. An abundant life that only comes from the One true source of peace.
That broken dishwasher moment was a kind, though frustrating reminder that possessions break, perfection is elusive, and peace is unattainable in my own strength. The only peace that sustains my heart is knowing I am deeply loved by my Creator and being grateful for each of my moments, no matter what they look like.
What is Minimalism?
Let’s take minimalism off the pedestal and call it what it is: a guardrail, not a destination.
It’s a tool we use, not an idol we serve.
Let’s allow it to do it’s job while we turn our attention toward living a life that matters.
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.