One of the main reasons my husband and I wanted to get out of debt was because of the choke hold it had on our freedom and peace of mind. We knew that until we were out from underneath the weight of it, we would never be able to fully live the life God had for us. By God’s grace we were able to get out of debt, but that was only the beginning.
During our journey out of debt, we stayed out of stores and restaurants and started to notice that we really needed very little to stay alive and enjoy life. Enter minimalism. It’s been five years since I first wrote about the concept, and I had no idea it would change our lives so much.
We started asking things like what if we didn’t really need a house? What if we did something radical and sold it and, dare I say, rent? What if we got rid of all of the stuff that just lays around the house but serves no purpose?
Slowly we started paring down. Just getting rid of things here and there. We sold some of it and gave away a lot of it. We started finishing up little projects in the house that hadn’t been touched. And then we took the plunge and put a for sale sign in the yard to test the waters.
Four months ago, our house sold. We sold or gave away most of our stuff and moved from our four-bedroom house into a two-bedroom apartment. A dream come true. I cannot tell you. Less space to clean. Less stuff to clean around. More time to do things that matter. Instead of spending weekends working on something that broke around the house or worrying how we’re going to pay for whatever broke around the house, we have time to hang out with friends, take a day trip somewhere, and money to do those things.
Minimalism is more than just the absence of the extraneous. It encourages a life lived with intention rather than just being moved along by the current of activity and wondering where the last year went. Most of us spend a lot of time doing good things, but in the clutter of activity we miss out on the moments.
So in an effort to create a life more in line with what we value most, we moved out of a place that required more of our time and money than we were wanting to give and into one where broken dishwashers and water pressure problems are solved with a phone call to maintenance and repaired at their expense.
In the spirit of intentionality, I’m tackling another area in my life. Health. Though I don’t suffer from disease or serious health problems, I’m becoming more aware that my steady diet of caffeinated beverages and sugar-laden goodies is contributing to my lack of energy, constant need for a nap, and general overall feeling of not experiencing optimum health.
This year I’m committing to spending the first seven weeks of the year doing a cleanse. The very term strikes both fear and anticipation in me. What will I have to give up? Is it sustainable? Will I be able to stick to it until the end? How will I feel when I’m done? Will I have more energy and fewer stomach aches? The questions are endless, and there’s no other way to find out than to just do something I’ve always wanted to try but never had the guts to undertake.
I will be following the RepairVite gut repair program where the list of foods not approved for consumption is longer than the list that is. I won’t go into it. You can read about it here. Suffice it to say, it will not be easy.
What this is not:
- A resolution to never drink coffee or eat dessert again.
- A weight loss plan. There are much easier ways to lose weight.
- Some crazy hair-brained idea I came up with on a whim. Lots of thought and consideration has gone into this.
What this is:
- Freeing up another resource God has given me, my health, from my obsession with sugar and coffee.
- An exercise in tenacity. Because of my dreamer tendencies, I am a great starter. I can imagine anything and start anything. It’s the finishing and sticking to it when things get hard that I struggle with.
- Becoming untethered from yet another thing that is more of a hindrance in my life than a help.
Looking back I realize that getting out of debt and downsizing our living space were actually steps toward intentional living. Minimalism is great, but it doesn’t answer the deeper question of why. Intentional living takes what minimalism has freed up, resources, and directs them with razor-sharp focus at what matters most. It’s about getting rid of the clutter in all of its forms so that we can live the life that God has designed for us.
Here’s to setting ourselves up for a year of soul-mending service and life-giving experiences. Happy New Year.