Okay, I admit it. Most of my blog posts are essentially ‘fluff’. I can write and write about minimalism and how to cut back on your things, but the truth is, unless we get to the heart of the matter, not much will change.
Why do we have so much stuff? I’ve thought of a few, real, soul-searching reasons:
We’re Covering Pain – Feeling depressed? Go out and buy something. Worrying too much? Watch TV to forget about reality. Like overeating, shopping can cause a momentary high that we use as a way to cope with life. It’s a temporary means of escape. But like a drug, it’s addictive. It only lasts a moment and we’ll always have to go back for more.
Finding Willpower is Too Hard – It’s no secret that our society teaches self-indulgence. We know we are bombarded with thousands of images a day taunting us to buy things. We know companies spend millions on finding ways to make their product appeal to us and convince us to buy. And with so much else going on in our lives, it’s easier to just give in and accumulate stuff than it is to work at building the willpower not to.
No One Taught Us Differently – In the 1930s, people stretched every item and every dollar. There was no waste and people survived with very little just to make it through the Depression. Many generations have passed since then. Having parents who taught us how to be frugal and wise with our money is a thing of the past. Add in ease of access to credit cards and a lack of financial education in schools, it’s no wonder we spend, spend and spend.
We’re Trying To Fill A Void – What do you lack in life? What does your soul really need? Is it possible we buy stuff and fill our homes with clutter because we’re trying to fill a void? I’ve heard it said that ‘when you get to the place that God is all you have, you realize God is all you need’. So I think the opposite also applies: When you don’t have enough God, you can try to fill that void with all kinds of things as your soul yearns for more of Him.
If the above statements are really true, what do we do about it? How do we change our depths enough to stop the unfulfilling cycle?
First, Find More God – There are some hurts and some voids so deep that unless we fill our hearts with more of Him and Jesus’ healing touch, our need for stuff will never be resolved.
Practice Gratitude – Being grateful for what we have can change our whole outlook on life. Ann Voskamp has gathered testimony upon testimony of people who have learned to adopt a daily practice of gratitude and how it has changed their lives.
Accept the Fact That Things Will Not Bring You Happiness – Until you really believe this, a quest for minimalism will be pointless. Is money an idol in your life? Are you constantly thinking you’ll be happy ‘when I get this’ or ‘when I have that’? Getting more God and having more gratitude will help break this mindset.
Start Minimalizing – As you start the process of minimalizing, you’ll be faced with the reality of what’s in your heart. Why am I keeping this? What is truly important? What are my real priorities? Minimalizing isn’t just getting rid of stuff, it’s searching your soul and rethinking life. Enjoy the journey!