Last week my son and I flew to Colorado for his hand surgery.
Instead of staying in a hotel, we decided to try an Airbnb. It was our first time.
After we arrived, I sat on the couch and read the guest binder. The owner stated that she lived in the house whenever it wasn’t rented out to travelers.
Every closet was empty.
The refrigerator was empty.
All the surfaces were clear and clutter free.
Besides the pantry having food in it, there wasn’t much evidence that someone lived there.
I wondered how she prepared when she knew a renter was going to be there?
Did she haul her entire closet of hanging clothes to her car?
And all her shoes.
And then empty the contents of her refrigerator into a cooler?
What about jewelry? Paperwork? Bathroom items?
That sounded like a lot of work.
I thought of how awesome it would be to live so minimally.
Not having the responsibility of a house FULL of stuff.
To have only the clothes you actually wear hanging in your closet.
To live in, and come home to, a hotel-feeling home.
“Would it be easier to serve God if I had less stuff?”
I started thinking about this.
What if having less stuff helped me serve God more effectively?
We remodeled our main level last year. Doing this forced me to evaluate each item. I had to pack everything and then unpack everything. Two times I was able to look at each item and see if I loved it, used it, and wanted to keep it. I got rid of a lot of things.
Now, I want to do that to the rest of my house.
Becoming a minimalist sounds like an extreme commitment. Intimidating. So I’m not ready for that.
On the other hand, having a lot of stuff is like a weight. I see it in my organizing clients and in my own life.
The negative effects of having a lot of stuff:
1.) Time is wasted managing the stuff.
2.) Money is wasted buying stuff.
3.) Your mind is distracted thinking about what you want to buy next. Researching it. Pinning it. Dreaming about it. Changing your mind about it. Returning it if it doesn’t work.
4.) Waste is created from all the stuff that is bought, used, and trashed.
5.) We become attached to and dependent on our stuff instead of 100% relying on God.
6.) The clutter is a constant reminder that we always have a huge to do list, that we can’t “get it together,” that we’re forgetting something, etc.
Minimalism is an intimidating word.
Do we have to become a minimalist in order to serve God?
I like to think of simplifying and reducing the stuff we have like the layers of an onion. We peel back a layer at a time.
Six steps to begin to simplify.
1.) Keep a donate bin in a designated spot in your home at all times.
2.) Pray. Ask God to help you rely on Him and grow as you go through the process.
3.) Trust. He will provide what you need when you need it. Breathe deeply and remember this if you are having a hard time letting things go.
4.) Choose ONE room and only focus on that room. Don’t skip around. Confusion keeps you from completing things.
5.) Reduce by a %. Decide you are going to keep 80% of what’s in the room. You probably don’t even use 80% of what’s there but the first layer of the onion is letting go of 20% of the things you don’t use, need, or love.
6.) Focus on the solution, the end result, the feeling of freedom.
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Intentionally choose thoughts that will help the process.
Try out some of these thoughts. When you think about them do they make you feel motivated? Peaceful? Grateful?
I am going to work on only keeping things that I love and use.
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” ~Matthew 6:26
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:19
I also like to think of missionaries that have left all their possessions to follow Him. My favorite biographies to read are these. They make me so motivated to surrender to the Lord and not to earthly possessions.
What do you think? Have you considered whether or not having less stuff will help you serve God more easily?
Tracy Hoth, Simply Squared Away