I discovered minimalism for the first time several years ago, but I didn’t make it a true part of my life until this year. I always say that if you like an idea when you first hear it but you don’t implement it into your life, maybe you’re just not ready for it yet. Sometimes we need to grow.
And I was not ready. I was much too focused on creating a successful blogging career, which — as we all know — revolves around stuff. Products, clothing, giveaway items…. lots of stuff. God grew me out of that by showing me that becoming a fashion or fitness blogger wasn’t His plan for me.
And when I started getting more clear on what God did want for me, I was certain that minimizing distractions was part of it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I now know that minimalism helps me focus on Jesus.
Minimalism certainly isn’t a requirement for Christian living and it doesn’t make us any holier or more righteous before God. However, it has helped me to be less focused on myself and on the world.
Here are four ways minimalism helps me focus on Jesus:
Minimalism Keeps Chaos Out of Our Home
When we first had our son, I was completely overwhelmed by our stuff. I was overwhelmed by everything, really. This new role of “mama” was much harder than I expected. From the financial impact to the complete and utter life and identity change of becoming a new parent, it was all very difficult.
I needed a simpler way. And in truth, I was doing most of it in my own strength. It was chaos and I didn’t have a heavenly perspective on things — not like I should have, anyway.
When I started purging unnecessary things from our home, the chaos started to leave, little by little. Minimalism keeps chaos out of our home by reducing — even eliminating — clutter so that I spend less time shuffling stuff around and more time getting real stuff done.
Laundry takes a fraction of the time because there isn’t so much of it. Everything has a place, so I don’t procrastinate about putting stuff away (at least not as much as I used to!).
In these ways, minimalism helps me focus on Jesus because it removes the time-sucking frustrations that usually come with housework. I have more time and mental energy to praise God and invest in growing in Him.
Minimalism Makes Me Appreciate What I Have
I used to think I appreciated what I had. I thought I was content. But that was before I realized what a monster consumerism was in my life and our culture. I definitely used retail therapy when I was stressed, and often, I wouldn’t even keep the stuff I bought. Not for long, anyway.
How many times have you gone through your clothes and tried to get rid of stuff only to find that you have lots of emotional connections to all your clothes? That. Has. Been. My. Life.
Up until I found Marie Kondo. A lot of the emotional connections I had with my clothes, I learned from her, are actually negative ones. Feelings of guilt. Regret. Fear of losing the past.
When I realized that, I got rid of all those old t-shirts from college cross-country, all the pre-motherhood jeans I was hoping I would fit into again someday, and every gift from family that I never liked but felt guilty getting rid of.
Now, my wardrobe is simple. I have about seven jumpsuits, four sweaters, five pairs of shoes, two blazers, two pairs of running tights, a pencil shirt, a handful of shirts, two pairs of joggers, some socks, a bra, some underwear, and a coat. Oh, and a long dress.
Now I love every single piece of clothing I have! I wear everything in my wardrobe consistently and I am no longer worried about how I’ll come across to others if I wear that outfit to this church function.
Or if I’m invited to a party full of strangers, I have no choice but to be myself. Everything in my wardrobe is comfortable and appropriate for almost any occasion.
What’s more is that every item in our kitchen goes to good use! Our books actually get read, our shoes get worn, Grey’s toys get played with… and if anything in our home isn’t being used the way it should, it’s gone.
Minimalism Keeps Me From Trying to Impress Others
I didn’t realize how much I used my stuff to impress others until I started to become a minimalist. Just a few months ago, I spent hours obsessing over the placement of the art in our house because people we didn’t know very well were coming over.
I denied that I was trying to “impress” them with our home, believing that my obsession with getting everything “just right” was coming from a good place in me. I wanted them to feel welcome… right? But the reality was that I wanted them to be impressed with my good taste in decor.
Minimalism has helped keep me from trying to impress others with my possessions. When you have less stuff, intentionally, there’s much less chance you’ll use your belongings to look successful to others.
When we choose to live within our means, only buying what we need and no more, our focus shifts away from the mindset of “looking rich.” Besides, if I’m trying to impress others with how much I have, I’m attracting the wrong types of friends. Minimalism helps me focus on Jesus instead of impressing others with my material success.
Minimalism Helps Me Focus on What Actually Matters
With a minimalist home filled with only what we need, I have a lot more time for my husband and son. I’m no longer completely overwhelmed by my daily to-do list because I know I can get it done if I focus on it for a few hours. There’s no longer a need to carve out 12-hour sessions every week day for laundry, dishes, and cleaning. I can get it all done, every day.
Minimalism helps me focus on Jesus and His plan for my family. He’s what matters most. He’s the reason I even have all these blessings to begin with. And as a minimalist, I usually think twice about buying things just because it feels good. Now, I weigh the consequences.
Will I be donating this item in a month?
If the answer is probably yes, then I don’t buy that thing. It saves us money and saves me time and brain power. I don’t have to make the decision to donate the item in a month or so and that money I would have spent can go to quality time with my son and husband.
Also, because we know what tools and supplies we have, we don’t really buy duplicates anymore. We don’t buy toilet paper in the crazy huge packs anymore. I no longer buy 10 pounds worth of dish soap or “stock up” on shampoo while it’s on sale.
It’s not worth the storage space to save a dollar or two. Extra supplies don’t fit in our limited storage areas and I don’t want to be swimming in extra supplies for a month or so.
Because we’re not always trying to accommodate extra stuff, we can focus more on each other and on God!
Yay! If you haven’t yet looked into minimalism, I highly suggest you do. It’s an amazing way to transform your home and your life. Everything felt chaotic when we were “maximalists.” It was just too much to handle.
If you’re feeling this way right now, minimalism might be a great way to start minimizing distractions. There are a lot of “pros” to minimizing distractions in life, but the best one is clearing space to focus more on Jesus.