Every beginning of the year I read this book of the Bible called Ecclesiastes.
It’s a simple reminder of where my focus should be.
In hindsight, it wasn’t difficult to resist minimalism and its benefits, simply because this theme actually is found throughout the Word of God.
Jesus Himself did not get wrapped up in materialism, but actually taught His disciples to not focus on the ephemeral, but the eternal.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. – Matthew 6:33
These things being shelter, food, and clothing. The essentials are and should always be enough. The excess sometimes seems to be more gratifying and exciting, when in reality it can lead to stress and anxiety.
In Ecclesiastes, the Teacher begins by saying everything is futile and a chasing of the wind. He was very rich and very wise, yet in his pursuit of pleasure and happiness, he concluded that accumulating stuff, among other things, was just pure vanity.
I couldn’t agree more. The compulsive and incessant chase after material things is not the best use of our time and money. After all, why buy things just to leave them in storage?
I have experienced first hand the freedom that comes from not being attached to my possessions. I believe this is key to a joyful life, because in the end, stuff is just that: stuff. And even though I own a few sentimental items (basically some pieces of jewelry which I do use), I would still be able to part with them without hesitation.
I’ve known better for a while now.
I’ve had my house partially broken into a couple of times in the past. On one instance, my bicycle was stolen; on the other, a small collection of cheap watches and jewelry, but among those items included my class ring that I worked so hard to afford and a small diamond ring my mom had given me when I had turned 18.
I remember feeling so helpless. Those items I “loved” were gone without a moment’s notice. From that moment on, about a decade before even becoming a minimalist, I never really gave too much meaning to my possessions or grew too attached to them. I never want to feel that feeling again. You don’t have to experience that either; stuff’s rate of disappearance can leave you feeling pretty terrible, actually.
There’s freedom in letting go. What benefit is there to being vain? Whatever it is, it won’t last.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy? – Isaiah 55:2
Consider then, if you are chasing after the wind. If all of your efforts and diligence result in the outcome you desire, then great. On the other hand if you feel caught up in a vicious and meaningless cycle, it’s probably time to evaluate its effects on your life.
Is the opportunity cost worth it?
Is your time worth it?
Is it really a priority to you?
Sometimes we are led down the path of least resistance, we follow the status quo in hopes of not having to face our reality, our excuses, our fears, insecurities, and the things we really want to be doing, but keep postponing.
Determining to let go of the excess can make life very enjoyable in many different ways, including the de-cluttering of the mind and soul.
Every year my perspective is renewed and I’m motivated to make the most of my time and resources, setting my mind on things that have eternal value.
I invite you to change your perspective and focus on what truly can bring you life.
Replace the accumulation for less, the futility for purpose. Life can be simple and well-lived. Less is really more.
Here is what I have seen to be good: it is appropriate to eat, drink, and experience good in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him, because that is his reward. God has also given riches and wealth to every man, and He has allowed him to enjoy them, take his reward, and rejoice in his labor. This is a gift of God… – Ecclesiastes 6:18-19