Practicing Spiritual Minmalism in 4 Simple Steps
- Minimalism in Action
- Prioritizing The Life You Actually Want to Live
- 4 Practical Steps Toward Spiritual Minimalism
- Like a Tree Planted by Streams of Water
A few weeks ago, I shared with you my longing to let go; a call to contentment through spiritual minimalism.
As fall quickly approaches, I’m feeling invited by the Lord to empty my soul and certain areas of my life that are hanging onto empty things and instead embrace the abundant and content life that can only be found in Jesus.
As I’ve shared before, writer Joshua Becker describes minimalism as the intentional promotion of the things we most value by the removal of anything that distracts from it.
I wanted to share a recent experience I had where this tangibly played out in my real life.
Minimalism in Action
For months, I had been wanting to clean out my closet and my dresser and purge anything that I no longer needed or even liked. When it comes to fashion and my personal style, I’ve kind of been all over the place these past few years. The only two things I’m sure about when it comes to style are that I love neutrals and comfort.
So I did some research online a few weeks ago on how to find your personal style. How to name it, buy specific pieces that I’ll actually wear, and how to discern what to let go of.
After taking style quiz after cheesy style quiz online, I finally found an article that made sense to me. One of the steps included in finding your personal style was to go into your closet and pick out the pieces of clothing you wear the most.
Not the pieces I like the most, but the pieces I actually wear.
So, I finally did what I had been wanting to do for months, and cleaned out my closet. My intention at the beginning of this venture was to purge what I didn’t like so I could replace them with pieces that I will actually wear.
But what ended up happening is that at the end of my closet purging adventure, as I stared down at 10 bulging trash bags full of clothes waiting to be donated and an emptier closet, was that I was content with what was left.
I was left with my favorites and the pieces I actually wear and I didn’t feel the need to go out and buy more to fill my closet back up again.
It wasn’t empty, it was full of what I loved.
The time and money that would’ve been spent on new fall clothes can now be redirected to other things that I want to make more time and space for in my life.
Prioritizing The Life You Actually Want to Live
This is true spiritual minimalism; removing the things and people in our lives that make our lives heavy and lifeless and filling it back up again with what means the most to us.
This experience made me wonder about the other areas of my life, both inward and outward, that are craving to be emptied so they can be filled with more peace, love, joy, and closer communion with Christ.
Through living this out and dipping my toes into the waters of minimalism, I’ve found that owning less and letting go of more has actually brought me closer to the Lord. I’m able to see Him in ways I didn’t before because there’s been a shift in my priorities.
There’s been a shift in where I place my identity and joy, and there’s been a shift in what I’m choosing to focus on.
That’s because minimalism isn’t just about letting go of the material. It’s about letting go of the baggage we carry that fills us and keeps us from looking more like Jesus.
When you’re overconsumed with consuming and your goal is to constantly “keep up with the Jones’s”, or when you’re carrying around a wound that feels heavier than a 50lb ball of led, it’s a lot harder to live out your God-given purpose.
I think part of that is because we weren’t created to root ourselves in anything or anyone but Jesus. But I also think it’s because sometimes we choose to focus on things or people that the Lord isn’t calling us to focus on.
4 Practical Steps Toward Spiritual Minimalism
Psalm 1 comes to mind now, reiterating how we were intricately created to only put all of ourselves into God,
I don’t know about you, friend, but I want to be like a tree planted by the water. I want to let go of everything both internally and externally that is stagnant and dead so that the channel of God’s unending love and grace can flow freely into and through me.
Because once we start living with the mindset that God’s voice and His daily bread are the only things that truly matter in this life, that’s when we begin to live into our God-given purpose.
When we empty ourselves of what distracts us from living abundantly in Christ, we are given peace, clarity, and direction.
I realize though that all of this – living with this spiritually minimalistic mindset – can be very difficult to do. That’s why I’d like to give you 4 practical steps on how to move toward emptying your life of what’s weighing you down so that you can fill it with more of what sets your soul on fire.
So that you can fill it with more of Jesus.
1. Take a soul inventory
I shared this idea and the same questions below a few weeks ago when I first introduced this topic of minimalism. But I believe that self-reflection and asking ourselves the right questions can help us name what we long for most and lead to clarity and direction.
It can help us narrow down what areas of our lives we want or feel invited to practice spiritual minimalism in.
Taking a soul inventory means answering the following questions honestly and openly with the Lord either through prayer, journaling, or both.
- Is what I’m doing or consuming taking the place of God?
- Am I idolizing this thing – whatever it may be – and believing that it can fill me in ways that God can’t?
- Am I overconsuming in areas of my life where God wants me to be emptied in order to be filled with more of Him?
- If so, what are those areas?
It might take you a day, a few days, or a few weeks to work through all of these questions. I would just encourage you to process them slowly and thoughtfully with the Lord, asking for His wisdom, discernment, and leading.
2. Start small and go slow
When you begin the process of naming what areas in your life you want to practice minimalism in, it can easily get overwhelming. This is why it’s so important to include the Lord in this process.
I would recommend choosing one area of your life at a time, starting small, and going slow.
For example, if you’re feeling led like me to let go of some material items that no longer serve a purpose, it can feel impossible to begin when you start thinking of all the junk drawers, dressers, cabinets, and closets that need to be sorted through.
Start with one simple thing, like purging your closet. And once you’ve done that, then if you feel ready, you can move to that junk drawer in your kitchen.
If what you’re wanting to let go of gears more toward the soul, like wanting to let go of control or unforgiveness, pray and ask the Lord for a simple next right next step. Spend time in prayer, journal, and sit quietly as you wait to hear what He has to say.
If He doesn’t respond right away, give it some time and keep showing up with your whole heart. Silence is sometimes an invitation to just rest and be with Him so that your soul can recharge and clearly name what it’s longing for.
Psalm 62:1 is a comfort that reminds us to wait for God in the sacredness of silence,
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” (ESV)
Only Jesus knows what that simple, small beginning is. I would encourage you to seek Him in that and give yourself permission to take it slow.
3. Pay attention to what begins shifting or changing in your life and heart
I stumbled across some old journals while cleaning out my closet a few weeks ago and decided to take a break from purging to read through one of them. The evidence of God’s faithfulness in that journal brought me to tears of joy and thankfulness. I was so thankful that I had decided to document that part of my life and story so that I could look back now and see how far God has carried me.
When we choose to pay attention to and even record how the Spirit is moving within us and around us, it gives us the hope and the courage to keep moving forward.
Not all the time will we see God’s movements, hear His voice, or feel His presence right away. Some seasons feel more barren than others. But leaning in and paying attention to what’s going on within us and then journaling about it or somehow recording our journey toward minimalism can help us behold God in ways we might have otherwise missed.
Taking note of the small changes happening within our souls, those subtle shifts and whispers of transformation, spark joy and celebration and serve as reminders of God’s faithfulness and love for years to come.
4. Implement self and soul care practices
It’s normal for change and transition, letting go and emptying, to feel exhausting. There may be a number of different emotions you feel as you begin to pay attention to the subtle shifts happening within you. And I would encourage you, friend, to allow yourself to feel and name those emotions with Jesus.
But as I said earlier, feeling all the feels can also feel draining. That’s why it’s incredibly important to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally.
As I understand it, self-care is taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, while soul care is the intentional act of caring for your soul and your spiritual well-being. In my opinion, soul care is the foundation of taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. So, in a sense, soul care is actually the basis for self-care. But I know that both are equally important.
Both self and soul care require you to pay attention to what you’re needing or what you’re body might be telling you. It may be a good idea to come up with a self and/or soul care plan specifically designed to fill yourself up again when the emptying becomes exhausting.
If you’re having trouble thinking of some self or soul care practices, here are a few ideas that might resonate with you:
- Go for a walk or a run
- Read a book just for fun
- Craft a breath prayer
- Make space for silence and solitude with Jesus before your day begins
- Create a habit of gratitude
- Read a Psalm a day
Like a Tree Planted by Streams of Water
As we draw nearer to ending our time together today, friend, I want to share with you a quote from Melissa Camara Wilkins on the topic of minimalism. She says,
“You might think that minimalists are all about white walls and clutter-free countertops, but that’s not the whole story. Minimalists know that having less stuff offers more space for focus, gratitude, and meaningful work.”
Letting go of the baggage that weighs you down, that you no longer need, creates space for more of what makes you, you, because letting go creates more space for Jesus in your soul and in your life.
And any time you make more room for Jesus, the more yourself you’re going to be and feel. You may notice new passions forming or dormant dreams coming back to life. You may feel more deeply at peace and have a sense of joy that isn’t dependent on anything but the fact that you are loved and chosen by your Creator.
At the root of spiritual minimalism are the words from John 30:30,
“He must become greater; I must become less.” (NIV)
God doesn’t want us to think less of ourselves. He wants us to think of ourselves less. He invites us into a rich and abundant life where we empty ourselves of selfishness, fear, and greed, so that we can fill ourselves with more of His loving, kind, powerful, and gentle presence.
A presence so rich and intimate that He leaves us full and flowing over, like a tree planted by streams of water.