A Minimal Life
Yesterday, I woke up with the burning desire to sell my every possession, cancel the lease on my apartment, quit my job, and do something incredible. Needless to say, I got out of bed, threw on some clothes, and went to work. Anti-climactic, right? Yes, I am a bit less impulsive when it comes to major life decisions. But, if it’s any consolation, I did purge my over-stuffed closet quite a bit.
I swear it was bursting at the seams.
Sometimes it feels like my mind becomes absolutely crowded with stuff – both the physical and the emotional. I attribute a lot of it to the material-driven world we live in. I long for the perfection of the lives I see on social media. I want to be like the bang-clad beauty with stilettos and a bearded husband. I long to live like the travel-worn, Jesus-loving Portlander. I’d give anything to look like the modelesque mama with a blog on the side. However, I am not any of those charming ladies. As I follow the Lord, I know I am where I am supposed to be in this season, but my longing for a million different lives festers in my heart.
Example: One of my many idols posts a selfie wearing a beige overcoat. With my heart hungering for something more than myself, I am immediately compelled to seek out the perfect beige coat. I know it makes little to no sense, but a part of me hopes that maybe, just maybe, I’ll feel an iota closer to the dream of another’s lovely existence.
Yesterday, I woke up positively sickened by the many things that surrounded me – unoriginal desires built around lives I do not live. So, I purged my closet. I looked at the clothes with tags still attached from months and months ago. I looked at the trendy tops and dashing duds I wore maybe once, left forgotten at the back of my closet to gather dust because I never really felt comfortable in them.
I packed them away in disgust of the things I tried to be. My mind felt a slight pressure lift. I could breathe a little better.
In Matthew 19:16-30 (provided below this post), a rich young man approached Jesus on the road and asked him what good deed merited eternal life. He proudly told Jesus that he already obeyed the commandments. Christ frankly said, sell all your belongings and follow me. The man walked away sorrowful because he had so many possessions.
To some extent, we all long for bigger and better lives. Social media doesn’t help. It’s easy to hide a mess behind a camera. My life is messy. I don’t know what I’m doing 99% of the time. The other 1% I’m probably sleeping. And the truth that no one wants you to know? Absolutely no one else has it together either. We surround ourselves with stuff to cushion the blow of a confusing, messy life, striving for whatever might satisfy the hunger for more, for comfort.
I have news for you though. Those Lulu Lemon leggings aren’t going to tone your abs. That pretty red lipstick isn’t going to get you a godly guy, and that tote isn’t going to improve your career.
Jesus tells us, verbatim, what we need: Him.
I’m not saying sell your every possession and move to Cambodia tomorrow (I’m also not saying don’t do that because that would be totally awesome). That mess I try to cover with pretty clothes and nice makeup is also the mess God wants to turn into a message. The most incredible love story, the spectacular adventure, is immediately ahead of me in Christ. I may not know what I’m doing, but He always knows what He’s doing for, through, and in me. He’s ready to pick up your scattered pieces and turn you into a mosaic too -- every single time it falls apart. He doesn’t give up on you, so don’t give up on yourself.
But the first step to this grand adventure with Him, to the future your dreams cannot fathom? Make room for Him to move you.
Sometimes that means cleaning out your closet. Sometimes it means letting go of toxic relationships. Sometimes it means letting go of the past and forgiving the hurt you’ve held on to for so long. Whatever your crowded closet may be, let go of it and follow Him. You don’t want to miss where He wants to lead you.
Lay up your treasures in Heaven, and He will take you there.
16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world,when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.