Minimalism - this is a word I keep hearing everywhere lately. And in so many ways, this feels and sounds like the BIG answer to all our problems in life, doesn't it?
For myself, that BIG answer is my relationship with God and the grace and salvation I have through His son, Jesus. But, I think we can learn some valuable things from this minimalistic way of living as well. So in the past year or so, I have been in search of what happened to my house. It had become so full; I felt like I was drowning in a mess I would never be able to maintain or control. Slowly but surely, I have been decluttering and trying to make better use out of our space.
Our house is a decent size and honestly it shouldn't feel as crazy small as it does. What has made it this way? Why now, with so much, do I feel discontent and overwhelmed? HMMM-TOO MUCH STUFF!?
So bit by bit I have been tackling our rooms and the kids always growing collections and so on.
Recently, I realized that my desire for a cleaner and more organized home had become a type of idol to me. I had placed it in the foremost part of my mind. It was the thing I found myself thinking of as I went to sleep and when I would wake in the morning. Can you see where I am going with this? As a Christian, I am to have the Lord as my first and foremost thought. He is who I should be thinking of and leaning on and relying on to find my fulfillment in life. I am not saying that organization and a clean home are bad - but it's how important those things can become. If that feeling of control over our surroundings and the lengths we go to make them "perfect" are the most important thing, where does that leave God?
So this is where I found myself. So worried and consumed about the state of my home. I found it hard to be content in the Lord. And I found it even harder to be thankful for the life I had been given as I was so focused on what was "wrong" with it.
So much of today's culture is focused on the perfecting of ourselves and our homes and our lives. When in reality, we will never reach "perfection"; so we are left feeling small and less-than. It's funny how that vicious cycle works. We can never win, not really! And there is an enemy that wants us to stay in that vicious cycle until the day we die.
I really didn't want to stay on that bandwagon, so I decided to take a step back and rethink my approach to my home. First, assessing what's important to me and why. Then, creating a realistic plan on what I want in my day to day and what I want my home to be and to represent.
So these days, I am still purging and tossing and organizing. But I am making sure when I am doing it, I check myself. I check my motives and make sure my heart is in the right place. I make sure that this decluttering and how I do it is not what defines me. And, honestly, it's made a world of difference. It's made the experience more enjoyable, as well as easier. Because not only am I not letting the state of my home be the thing that tells me who I am, but also that the amount of stuff I have isn't who I am either.