Simplicity, Letting Go

Over the last 3 years, I’ve decided to simplify. Why?

Because mental clutter is stressful and emotionally draining,

Because chasing junk (excuse me, possessions) will never satisfy, no matter how new it is,

Because pursuing accolades doesn’t necessarily create the associations I think I need to progress,

Because just about every form of media tells me I won’t be content until…whatever.

Because all the things I wish I had are not things at all, such as joy, love, relationships, meaning, and peace.

Because simple, is simply healthier and better.

Because Jesus didn’t require me to bring anything to the table, except myself.

I’m still learning to let go and cling to that which is true hope and contentment.

If I don’t leave anything behind, hopefully it’s because I chose to value the invaluable.

Knowing You Don’t Know Who You Are

I have been confused most of my life about the notion of “being who you are”.

I’ve been told to be so many things and ended up being nothing entirely. When you tell someone you aren’t the person you believe you can be, they tell you to start being true or real to yourself. “Man, you gotta be who YOU are, nobody can live your life for you.” Inside, I was screaming “I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS TO BE ME!!” Who knows what it is to be real? Just about everyone has a different interpretation of what it means. From books to lectures to pulpits, people attempt to give what few know how to do, and that is to be totally honest and upfront with who you THINK you are and who you actually are. When the noise disappears and the only thing left standing is your feelings and opinions of yourself, those are some of the most frustrating times in life.

“Living a lie” isn’t just for those realization moments in movies, it’s for those moments when you pull in the driveway and sit there before going in your home, wondering what in the world am I doing? How did my life come to be as it is? Am I living or am I just breathing through second after second?

You see, not knowing who we are and what God created us for is sort of a fatality. It’s kind of being already dead.  We’ve spent the most part of our lives living in the shadows of other people. TV personalities, the most attractive people around us, technology, fashion, homes, cars, and other things have this strange obsessive attachment that’s rooted in our hearts, desires, and motives. Everyday is filled with,

What would she wear? What would he drive? What would he or she do? Will these items give me the attention I seek? Does this girl give me the feelings I see in movies? What job does a person like me have? Does this crowd relate to my coolness or socio-economic status? Does this fit my sense of style? Do I hold the same beliefs as ________? What if this. What if that.

The list goes on and on. Honestly, it’s quiet tiring. Just think back to the last time you had to make a decision and you considered the opinions of others (who don’t matter)? It’s crazy but true. Just maybe you’re one of those who front the idea of “being yourself” but actually care more often about the opinions of others than you think.

This post is about sitting back and at least self-assessing if it’s possible you don’t know who you are. The objective here isn’t to give solutions or advice just yet, it’s to bring awareness and look within ourselves.

Take a seat and ask yourself these questions below:

Do I have an unhealthy attachment to the opinions of others?

Do I let people dictate my decision-making?

Have I let “things”, possessions, worldly ideas, failures etc. define who I am?

Is there vicariousness in me?

Do I envy something or someone?

Is Jesus at the center of my identity or am I the center of my identity?

Take these questions further, our lives depend upon them.

Why Owning Less is Best

 

If you are like me, you’ve accumulated a lot over the years. In my case I’ve accumulated a tremendous unhealthy amount of possessions and clutter. My closets overran with clothing and footwear I wore and more so things I hadn’t worn often. My bedroom heaped piles of chunk. I could have been swallowed by its mere existence. You know exactly what I’m talking about!

What I realized after some pain-staking moments and events in my life was that, I had put so much of my confidence and self-awareness into mere things. Things that didn’t add value to my life. Things, emotions, people, and even myself, got in the way of not living my life to its greatest potential. I started to understand that I was trying to fill voids by owning and possessing more. These deceptions I once held, caused me to fall into debt, emptiness, depression, stress, loss, and an overall feeling of meaningless. The crisis was real and evident. Thankfully, there was hope at the end of the tunnel and life could spring again.

Since I’ve dived straight into minimalism and haven’t looked back, I would like to give a few points of why the minimalist approach to life is the best way to combat over-consumption and materialism.

  •  Paying Off Debt. Because you are pursuing only the things that benefit you, it frees you to tackle debt and stay out of it. Indebtedness, is something most of us know all too well. We spend money we don’t have with plastic cards. We try to keep up with the Joneses, and therefore run ourselves into the ground. What we fail to realize, is that the Joneses are probably chasing someone else because like most, they are just as discontented as we are. When you spend less, you have more of a driving force to eliminate debt and the bi-product of debt elimination is a debt free life. Read more about this here.
  • Less Clutter, More Creativity. Part of my passion in life is meeting and growing in relationships with other people (wife, church, friends, family, strangers etc.) What I’ve come to find out is that when I own less items, I don’t have to spend all of time cleaning it, maintaining it, and showing it off to people for no good reason. This freedom alone, allows me to spend more quality time with people I care to know and grow with. I’ve had plenty of meaningful meet-ups at the local Starbucks. When we are less confined to clutter and baggage, we can REALLY be there with others and provide our full attention. When we have less clutter, we can create what we’re passionate about in life. Personally my own craft is leading and guiding youth and young adults in life through meaningful experiences. I’d rather spend my time and energy doing that than accumulating crap I don’t need or really want. Also a great read here.
  • The Pursuit of Happy. In a society where the notion of the American Dream saids “more is better”, we can see in retrospect that, this just isn’t true. The more we consume, the more we desire. All for what? The pursuit of happiness. If I have just that latest gadget I’ll be content. If I can amass a “large” enough wardrobe, I’ll be satisfied. If I can obtain enough friends, I’ll feel better about myself. You see, the truth of the matter is that these things will end up being a life-long pursuit because these things never come through on their promises. They never quench the satisfaction of happiness we’re searching for. I’m not saying if you ditch all your possessions and non-valuable things, you will achieve nirvana or full contentment. My Christian belief would not have me think so. One’s life does not consist of the things he owns. Happiness is best found in things that are not things (tweet that). We find true happiness in the friendships that have substance and meaning. We find happiness in our families and love ones. Lastly, we find happiness in the pursuit of our purpose in this life.
Of course, there are countless other reasons to why less is best. But for now, consider pondering these few and possibly decide to venture the minimalist way of living.