Minimalism, simple living, modest lifestyle…they are all terms that have been floating around lately. These are not new concepts but it seems like the blogging and social media world has become increasingly obsessed with this way of life.
Whatever word you use, I’m sure it is a concept you have toyed with before. The idea of simple living (the term I will use henceforth) is appealing to me, but I didn’t know how to start, or even what “simple living” really meant.
Is it like homesteading?
Are we supposed to get rid of our TV, computers, cell phones, and Internet?
Does simple living make me a better Christian?
Where in the Bible does it talk about this?
These are just some of the things I wondered as I thought about what simple living means. My thoughts and opinions about this topic are just that…MINE. You may view simple living in a totally different way, and that is fine. My way is not the right way, or the only way, but it works for me.
Not putting worldly things before God
That’s pretty easy to understand, right? How easy is it to actually do, though? If we’re being honest, I can admit that there are times where God is not my top priority. But if God is our main focus, we won’t desire things the world says we need, therefore, we can live a more simple life.
Being good stewards with our resources
Everything we have on this earth has been given to us by God. Do we treat the material possessions we have as if they are disposable or are we taking care to preserve them as long as possible so we are not wasting money on frequent replacements? For those of us on limited budgets, do we carefully manage our money and make wise choices with it? I’d go so far as to say that simple living includes being good stewards of the Earth God has allowed us to live on (this was a topic of discussion at the young adults group David and I are leading).
Simple living for me means that I am learning to be content with what God has given me, even if it is not the same as someone else. I’d love to be able to buy new cars and take fancy vacations, but that is not part of our lifestyle, and I’ve accepted it. My life may not be full of exciting adventures, but I have a lot to be thankful for anyways.
I do not believe that simple living equates to idleness. While being overly busy all the time is not typically associated with simple living, I think it is possible to create a balance between busyness and down time. Further, it is important to be busy with a purpose, not just being busy for the sake of it. One way to ensure I am productive it to give myself a routine for the day. I am able to do my chores and housekeeping, and then to relax after it is done. But even during my relaxation time, I try to be productive. Instead of mindlessly watching Youtube or Netflix, I take time to knit or sew, or even read wholesome books. That is not to say we should be constantly moving around and always doing something…please read on for my next point.
Knowing when to rest
Generally, I like to keep busy since I have fidgeting tendencies. Even when David and I watch a movie I prefer to be knitting while doing it. But there are times where I just need to do nothing. To simply take a nap, or sit on the deck listening to nature. Simple living means you know when to be busy and when to rest. Our bodies need the rest, but our spirits do too. I do not do and blogging or Etsy work on Sundays, and David does not do any school prep or marking either. We have chosen to make Sunday our day of church, rest, and fun. This works for us to help get the week started off well.
I love the words in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 which says … make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you…
God is telling us through the writers of the Bible that we are to strive for simplicity!
So in conclusion, simple living is a variable term. It means one thing to me, and maybe another to you. Neither of us is necessarily right and neither is wrong. If you decide to make the move towards a more simple lifestyle I encourage you to do so prayerfully and see where God is leading you.
He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.