Why I Became a Minimalist, as a Christian

Why I became a minimalist is a question I often get asked. And it’s not always easy to explain, particularly to those who’ve never heard of minimalism. Or when I tell them that it all came about because of a bottle of vinegar! 

Yep, it all began with a bottle of vinegar when my daughter, some years ago, shared that she no longer bought chemical cleaning products!

From going green

Apparently cleaning with vinegar, baking soda, and other kitchen ingredients had become a trend. So where had I been?? Oh yeah, here in the Land of Tradition, where folks tend do things just as their mothers always had.

This was all new to me, and frankly I was baffled. So I started researching, and thus began my journey toward natural living. Up to that point I’d had no idea how harmful chemicals are. And shocked at what I learned, I started working toward a chemical-free home.

And on to minimalism

Then I noticed a lot of these natural trends were also linked to Minimalism. Another unknown to me, and a crazy one at that!

Perhaps because of all the wild things I read. Like the man who had to use his neighbor’s bathroom because he had downsized so much that he tore his out! Or folks that stopped buying toilet paper!

Now I’m all for helping neighbors in need, but not because they decide they don’t want a bathroom! And it’s OK with me if you don’t want toilet paper, just let me know before I visit!

Goodbye consumerism

But mostly I learned that many environmental issues stem from our consumerist culture.

Manufacturing always consumes natural resources and creates pollution and waste to some degree. And much of it is for unnecessary merchandise and useless baubles! At the rate we’re going, what kind of world will that leave for future generations?

All this started a huge process in my mind, and especially my heart. I started realizing that I had often shopped just to shop, not out of real need. And even spending money we couldn’t really spare. WHY? Good question, and I needed answers! And here is what I learned.

Why we chase after stuff

1. Advertising plays a big part

Advertisers get paid to make us want to buy, and they do a great job! But it’s sad when we become convinced to buy things we don’t need or can’t afford. Or perhaps won’t even want around for long!

2. Shelf displays entice us to buy

Retailers usually take great care in properly arranging shelf and window displays to purposely tempt shoppers to buy stuff.

Some retailers also rent out shelf space based on the shelf’s position. Shelves at eye level are considered premium shelves, and some manufacturers will pay more to get that space.

Why? Because tired shoppers dealing with lack of time and an overwhelming selection of choices tend to choose whichever items they see first.

3. Peer pressure an important factor

We often compare ourselves to others, even without realizing it. And their new gadgets or seemingly better clothes, newer cars, and finer homes often make us want the same stuff.

But the root is lack of contentment

I discovered that what it really boiled down to was simply my lack of contentment. That was the root of the problem. As A.W. Tozer puts it, the heart of man desires possessions. It covets them passionately. And often this continues even as Christ-followers. Even though we know – in our heads – that possessions cannot and will never be able to bring lasting satisfaction.

There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets “things” with a deep and fierce passion.

AW Tozer, The Pusuit of God

I had everything, literally everything I needed. Plenty of clothes, nice furnishings, and so much stuff I couldn’t keep track of it or fit it in. I certainly didn’t need more!

And so I decided that I didn’t want to waste energy chasing after (and then maintaining) unnecessary stuff.

Especially because God has already provided all my needs and then some. But mostly because, as a Christ-follower, I believe he has called me to so much more than that.

So I decided that I want to:

  • View possessions as useful tools, not my source of happiness.
  • Seek true contentment, remembering that God has met all my needs.
  • Not be used as a pawn in the advertising game.

Hello wiser shopping

I started thinking through what I buy – asking these questions:

  • Do I really need it?
  • Is it truly useful?
  • Will I want to keep it long term?
  • Do I feel it’s necessary to my happiness and contentment?
  • And if I don’t need it, could that money go for better things?

Often, I decide to keep the money for a rainy day, invest it in God’s kingdom, or use it to help others. I’ve wasted so much over the years on useless stuff. Most of which has come and gone. Stuff that brought only temporary satisfaction.

But unexpected problems or emergencies will always pop up. Needy people will always surround me. And the satisfaction of knowing that I can meet real needs brings lasting pleasure and real joy.

Do you feel the need for change?

  • Do you want to cultivate true contentment?
  • Would you like to focus less on stuff and more on finding joy in the simple things?
  • Would you want to see your money go farther?
  • And have the assurance of knowing that it’s going for meaningful and lasting purposes?

It’s never too late to make changes or start over. Why not begin today?

Image credits: Chair, Vinegar in kitchen, Lantern.

Published by Signora Sheila

Wife, mom, nonna, missionary, and Bible student on a spiritual walk with Christ @mycammino. Because life is at heart a spiritual journey of going further up and further in, into the Father heart of God.

22 thoughts on “Why I Became a Minimalist, as a Christian

  1. I am a minimalist too – living in isolation at the very edge of North America, by the sea.
    I tried the Turkish towels – they are great.
    Thanks !

    Like

      1. Thanks so much for the recommendation.
        Amazon has opened the world of shopping for us, it is good to shop using my little iPad while gazing over the sea. 🌷🌼🤗

        Like

  2. Glad you reposted! Isolation tends to bring a sense of discontent–and often–too often–my response is to get something to fill a void that stuff can’t fill. Jesus is my all–but circumstances can so warp my thinking! I really needed to see this again. Thanks, my friend.

    Like

  3. I too have realized the harm that chemicals are causing. While not completely free of them, I have begun to really think hard about the ones I use.
    For example I switched from chemical weed killers to the tried and true method of vinegar, salt, and dish soap. Works great! Baby steps I guess!

    Like

    1. Yes Ron, those kitchen products work great! Sometimes all our progress has really sent us backward. But the best thing we can do is to start taking baby steps. We have to stand somewhere!!

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  4. I have found that possessions have tentacles. If we are not careful, they will choke us – taking our time, our energy, our heart – as we try to grasp and hold them. I, too, am working toward a minimalist lifestyle. This is a great post of encouragement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the way you put it, Beth! I never thought about possessions having tentacles. But you’re right – they do. And they choke out our time energy, and heart. We just got home last night after an extended stay in a temporary home. It was a crazy time for various reasons. But the thing I’ve been reflecting on is how poorly organized I was this time – because of so much stuff. So I think a good purge is in order once again. I don’t want stuff to hold me back in serving the Lord. So I’m going to be loosening a few tentacles!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This read is so good for me. Thank you for sowing into my life with this good seed.
    Now, LORD, I pray this Word seed will bear much fruit in me. Amen and amen. Encourage my Sister and thank You for her and this means we have to connect.

    Like

  6. SO appreciate your guiding questions for all the purchases you make, and your statements of desire: to view possessions as tools, not sources of happiness; to live into contentment with what you already have; and to cultivate a heart possessed by God. You are an inspiration, Sheila!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nancy! But the inspiration all comes from the Lord. I just pray that he will help us keep to what he lays on our hearts. And listen evermore to his sweet voice! But we have found great liberation from stuff once the Lord revealed (partially through Tozer) that stuff vies for a place in our hearts. And we want to put a No Vacancy sign out. They are already occupied!

      Like

  7. Wow. What a refreshing way of living life–not controlled by stuff and clutter but being freed from its bondage! There’s a need to all of us–me especially–to rethink what’s needed and live within our means. We’re thrifty here, but the reality of really asking those questions is wonderful. I choose not to shop because I hate it. But having the right attitude about stuff makes shopping particularly intentional. Thanks, Sheila!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you Dayle, I hate shopping too. I find it tiring and stressful. But I really do find that it helps when I shop with intention. Minimalism, wierd as it first sounded, has really taught us a lot. And revealed our hearts in certain areas too! And we do love the clutter-free living. Crave it, actually! Glad you found the post helpful!

      Liked by 1 person

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