“The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” – Elise Boulding
Check in with yourself today – are you doing what you want to be doing? Are you on the path to accomplish your dreams? If so, that’s amazing! If not, WHY NOT?
I’ve noticed since moving into our new home a little over a year ago I diligently tried to keep things minimal to live more intentionally and spend time doing what I loved doing (homeschooling, serving others, traveling/adventuring and reading).
However, when you homeschool, run a home-based business, a non-profit and have a couple kids it’s ridiculously difficult to stay minimal!
We have numerous drawings and paintings and creations (I’d be evil-mom if I threw them ALL out), we have cardboard boxes made into rockets, we have tools and sports equipment, we have supplies and books and while we have very few toys, they somehow never end up where they look neat and tidy to me (toys are meant to be played with!) We have our husband’s office, my non-profit materials and everything else that makes us cozy in our modern lives.
All that said, I GET IT. It’s not always easy maintaining a minimal home.
But if we keep in mind the why we’re saying “no” to consumerism and over-scheduled calendars, the path and our motivations quickly become crystal clear. If you feel as if you’ve fallen off the wagon, so to speak, it’s much easier to jump back on and minimize once again if you understand your why.
If we hadn’t intentionally minimized our belongings and simplified our calendar I certainly wouldn’t be running a little local non-profit I’ve always dreamed of.
If we hadn’t curated my husband’s career to include working from home and traveling together – out of the intention of spending more time as a family – we’d be separated every day of the week while he works upward of 80 hours a week in an office.
If we hadn’t read things like The More of Less or watched the Minimalism documentary, to name a couple, we wouldn’t have been inspired and acted years ago to accomplish the dreams we’re accomplishing today.
We continually pray about our journey, more specifically the vision God has put on our hearts – and thus seek out and keep creating our unique path as a family.
But honestly, may more importantly we constantly crave accomplishing our dreams.
Our 8-year-old son, for example, has dreamed of earning his black belt since he was 4 years old.
It’s taken three and a half years but he’s testing for his black belt in less than a month and we’re all heading to support him at his National competition in July. There’s no way he would have been able to accomplish this if we hadn’t prioritized this activity for him and said no to many other requests.
It’s taken dedication and commitment, yes, but we’ve refused to over schedule him elsewhere. Studies show most of us over-schedule our kids. Our kids need time to be kids!
It’s critical we protect our children’s dreams as fervently as ours.
We have the opportunity to show our kids what really matters at a young age. It’s not material items that fill the voids in their hearts – its deep relationships and going after your dreams.
The chance to really know themselves and their hearts desires in a quiet place of solitude. The chance to meet with God in a peaceful environment (instead of a rushed household). The chance to develop sincere relationships with their siblings and support each other as they accomplish their dreams. The chance to live in fellowship and conversation with sweet friends. The chance to have your parents sit and listen or read aloud to them and spend earnest time with them each and every day.
We have the opportunity as parents to protect the desires of our children’s hearts – what God is encouraging them to do. We can’t do that if we’re constantly stressed out from all the clutter we have to organize or all the outside obligations we have scheduled that week.
We all (our 3-year-old daughter included) started heading to the track to run with our son, not just drop him off and tell him to train for his big test… What an awesome opportunity to enjoy the journey to fulfilling his dreams alongside him!
I can’t imagine if I had to stay home and do loads of laundry or clean or if my husband couldn’t get out of meetings or deadlines or if we had other things constantly taking our attention away from living life together.
Living minimally and intentionally has ultimately brought our family closer together.
In a recent Becoming Minimalist newsletter (which, truthfully, prompted me to write this post) Joshua Becker writes:
“Today Americans consume twice as many material goods as we did fifty years ago. The size of the average American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years and now contains about three hundred thousand items. Our stuff has even spilled outside our walls. Due to our garage clutter, 25 percent of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside and another 32 percent have room for only one vehicle! And I haven’t even mentioned the 10% of us who rent offsite storage.
We are drowning in a sea of possessions—and we feel it almost every day. We’re tired, stressed, hurried, and financially strapped.
The most popular solution to our battle against clutter seems to be “just implement better organization”—or at least, that’s what we’re told is the solution. So we’ve bought colorful buckets, bins and baskets from the same good folks who sold us the costumes and the Legos and the magazines and dryer sheets. But in the end, although the storage solutions we’ve bought promised to solve all our woes, they’ve only packaged them differently.”
While I’m nowhere near perfect nor have a glistening, spotless home – my why remains clear:
My relationships – my family – our dreams – mean more to me than stuff ever will.