I was talking to some teens recently about our society and I came to a question, a notion really – we live in such a fast pace, materialistic, state of consummerism – where we have more than we need (generally), we waste constantly, take all our modern anemeties forgranted, we have fast food (which isn’t fast enough), microwave meals (that aren’t fast enough), fake hair, breasts, tans, nails (which I enjoy from time to time) and more… what is too much? When is enough ENOUGH?
I have spent at least two years trying to declutter my life – we have 5 children still at home so it’s no easy feat! But I go through each room at least twice a year and get rid of clothes, DVDs, books, toys, ornaments, furniture, electrical, kitchen plastics, and whatever I don’t need… before they start to pile up again. It has become my cycle of living that causes me stress – I can’t relax properly in my home as there are too many things, it’s too busy – I have to much.
The other thing I try to do regularly is be still – my life becomes cluttered with busyness – I’m involved in meaningful pursuits, some of those pursuits even help others but I lose myself in busyness – so I feel like I’m drowning in “I should be doing this”, “I need to do that”. So I regularly try to evaluate my life and the things I do And try to remember why I was created – Matthew 6:33 (ESV) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
So what is clutter?? Cambridge English dictionary says “a collection of things lying about in an untidy state” (how my home / belongings feel) and thefreedictionary.com says “a confused or disordered state or collection” (this is how busyness / my mind feels when I’m too busy). As I was talking to my teen friends I realised that probably only Western society needs a word like declutter! I’m in a group that is for people trying to declutter – it’s where we share ideas, what’s working and not working – it’s like a support group for people addicted to clutter. This led me to think about –
What is excess?? As we definitely have it – Google dictionary says “an amount of something that is more than necessary, permitted or desirable”, thefreedictionary.com says “lack of moderation especially in eating or drinking”, “immoderate indulgence” or “the state of exceeding what is normal or proper”. This linked to clutter – we indulge in what we don’t need, we have a huge obesity epidemic (and I’m speaking for myself to), we overindulge as a society and have too much – Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, new gyms and fad diets starting every other week, sex addict groups. How can we as a society change our thinking – the bible says Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I read this and think wow I worry about so many things, have enough clothes to wear a different outfit every day for the next 2 years, enough DVDs that I may never leave the couch again, so much stuff! I want a life that is uncluttered from materialism, busyness, and a mind that trusts God and is uncluttered from worry. And I also want to say I know what it’s like to have little, I have experienced poverty (from a westernised view) and been homelesshaving very little – but I could still access food, water, and things that not everyone around the world always has access to. But what I love about life is my faith in a God, the safety I feel in my relationships – this is what really matters to me .
Jesus lived a life travelling from place to place – trusting God to provide his needs, Jesus knew This truth Philippians 4:19 (NIV)19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
I guess he was one of the first minimalists – What is minimalism?? One http://www.dictionary.com says “something that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity”. Oh for a simple life – life can be soooo stressful – I find cleaning all we own, keeping it maintained, dusting, washing, chasing everything exhausting, the more ‘material’ things I have, the more busy I am – the more tired and stressed I am. My prayer is God gives me what I need not always what I think I want!
Blessings Skye x
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