Simple life idolatry. Yes, my friends, this now exists.
And there – I said it. It’s easy to idolize a simple life because, well, everyone’s doing it!
Yes, having a simple life is awesome. Being (or trying to be) minimal is awesome. But coveting this lifestyle to achieve peace and joy should never be the main focus of our lives.
Peace and joy will naturally be the byproduct of a life spent with intention.
Talk of minimalism are all the rage lately. Articles posted in mainstream media composed by authors doing their duty to pen their journey of pairing down, living from a backpack and a capsule wardrobe grab our attention.
I’m not saying these are bad things. But let’s go a bit deeper here.
To what extent should we pressure ourselves to live this lifestyle? Do the benefits outweigh our desire to consume? Of course. But when we spy others living this beautiful life and envy how they’re further along than us in their minimal journey, should this be what drives us? Or should we grab our telescope, so to speak, and look further into the distance – beyond “the grass is greener” perspective.
Yes, living simply is an intentional act and leads to happiness in many areas of life. But when we, say, seek to bring joy to others instead of ourselves, happiness almost always follows and thus, so does a more simple lifestyle.
Because self-gratification in simplifying our life shouldn’t be our pursuit.
When friends started asking us “what gifts can we offer that fits with your minimal lifestyle?” We start questioning what we’ve really been exemplifying.
Have we lost our way? Shouldn’t we aim to show others love, generosity and kindness? Not ehem: “why yes minimalism is way more important to us than anything else so please don’t disrupt our flow.”
And when others worry they’ll “get in our way” with all their “stuff” – we clearly see our blaring faults.
Mission to spread truth thwarted, aborted and modified.
Instead of boasting of our simple lives or what we’ve done to go minimal – let us instead be a pure example of what these things unearth in us. (Yes, I’m blogging about it and I see what may look like hypocrisy here). But I guess my aim is merely to say, when it’s all said and done, what message did I leave behind?
Did I draw others toward minimal living just for personal gratification? Or for something much bigger?
Did I leave a wake of kindness, grace and love behind me? Did I show my husband and my children that a good relationship means more to me than organizing my bookshelves, doing massive loads of laundry and dishes (and typing this article)?
Did I sacrifice enough to show my heart?
Because in today’s world it’s all about what we can do to make our lives better.
When you swap the me with the them – the postman no one else on the block has taken time to get to know; the soldier across the sea who receives a letter of gratitude from a random citizen; the person who hasn’t had a hot meal in weeks who receives a heaping plateful; the elderly person or the child who receives the benefit of your now less-than-busy life…
These moments are when living simply has really meant something.
So now the question is… what legacy are we leaving behind when we simplify?
So I ask myself again – instead of striving to simplify for simplicity’s sake did I…
help repair someone’s relationship with the one true God? Did I edify keeping our eyes on Him? Did I show what it’s like to seek him with our every move, our every breath?
Did I show others God’s LOVE?
I’m pointing the finger back at myself knowing I haven’t done these things as much as I had hoped I would while I sought a simple life. I was a bit more selfish. Lesson learned.
This is my end goal. I pray I stay the course.
As always – With Love.
The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and the death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find him, and with him everything else thrown in.
– C.S. Lewis