"Models of simplicity are desperately needed today. Our task is urgent and and relevant. Our century thirsts for the authenticity of simplicity, the spirit of prayer, and the life of obedience. May we be the embodiment of that kind of authentic living." -Richard Foster
Let me say from the start that what I am about to write is not meant to criticize others. My goal is not to judge people. Also, I confess that my family is far from perfect when it comes to the issue of simplicity. With that said, I believe the practice of simplicity is one that desperately needs to be heard in our culture. We live in a world obsessed with more. We live in a world obsessed with consumption. If we are not careful, we will fall into patterns of materialism and greed without even knowing it. With that said, here are 5 suggestions we are trying to do as a family...
1. Give things away on a regular basis. Go through your house and give away items you are not using. Not just the junky stuff, but nice things. We do not need 3 toasters or 15 jackets. Get rid of the clutter. You will help someone else and feel better yourself.
2. Reduce the amount of items you own. The more you own, the more you have to take care of. The more you have to take care of, the less time you have to spend on what is most important (i.e. relationship with Christ, family, serving others). More is not always better.
3. Look to downsize. I know this sounds crazy because we live in a world where we are encouraged to buy the biggest house we can afford. We have been convinced that we "must have" a certain amount of space. Again, this is not to criticize those who have large homes. I am simply offering a different perspective. Again, we must realize that bigger houses and bigger yards require more maintenance and therefore more time.
4. Do not spend money you do not have. Do not stretch your money so tight that you cannot give to others. Look to increase the amount you can give each year. This year may not be much, but next year can be better.
5. Learn to say "No." Everyone wants our time and typically their requests are good ones. However, we cannot do everything and we must say "no" sometimes so we do not lose sight of what is most important. Make a list of your top 5 priorities and be diligent to protect them. Sometimes you will have time to do other things. But if you don't...say no!
We live in a culture that is plagued by the obsession to possess. We have more stuff and yet we still feel strained, hurried, and restless. It seems there is no escape from the rat race. The problem is we will never have enough. No amount of money or stuff can save us. Perhaps we are pursuing the wrong things. Again, I confess that I struggle with the desire for more as much as anybody else. However, when I'm alone with God, I realize the rat race is pointless. I was made to run another race.