In light of last week’s relapse into consumerism, I’ve decided to re-evaluate my reasons for adopting minimalist lifestyle, and I am re-evaluating my commitment. Do I really want to embrace minimalism? Am I really clear on why I should live simply? How can I prevent future relapses?
I did some reading (which I will discuss an upcoming post) about faith and simplicity. Some of the readings argue that simplicity starts within. Rather than focusing on things, our focus should be on God. Clearly, my focus has been on fashion and not on God. This is the first thing that needs to change.
The second thing that needs to change is this self-centeredness that drives me to want more and more and more. My focus is on me, and what I want. In the heat of the moment (while I’m in the stores), I’m not thinking about anything but me. I’m not even thinking about my future! I’m thinking about what will make me happy right now.
Action: Shift the focus to God, and stop thinking about myself so much.
My readings also argue that values play a big role in the minimalist lifestyle. The values that we hold drive our decisions. At this point, I’m not even sure what my values are.
Action: Take an honest inventory of my values. What do I believe about the world, our society, my life? Write it out in black and white.
Part of the reason the second action scares me so is that when I come face to face with my values, I know that some things will have to change. As long as I don’t have my values defined, I can remain in denial. Once I have my values in front of me, I have to commit to them, and to the lifestyle changes that are required in order to live by my values.
Maybe that’s what it all boils down to: the fact that I do not want to change. I’ve given mental assent to minimalism, but on the inside, nothing has changed. That’s why I keep relapsing.
Action: Ask God for help to make the changes that I need to.
These are the things I’ll be working on over the next several days. Where is your focus? Are you clear on your values? Are there things that need to change? I invite you to join me in this time of reflection. Hopefully, we will all be better for it.