Minimalism & Religion: Spirituality Behind Decluttering

Disclaimer: I am not advocating for the notion that you have to be religious to be a minimalist. Be you and do you! 

Some of you have already read my previous post, detailing the story of how I came to begin living as a minimalist. For those of you who haven’t, I will shamelessly leave a link to that post here: Minimalism & My Story: Part 1.

Spirituality is riddled throughout that story, and ultimately, was the reason I became a minimalist. I am a very strong believer in being authentic: meaning, if you claim to be something, you had better actually be what you claim to be. For instance, if you claim to be a Buddhist, I expect you to behave as a Buddhist. If you claim to be a Christian, I thoroughly expect you to behave as one. If you say you are one thing, yet do another, how can you fully claim to be that thing?

That is the question that I frequently ask myself.

I like to hold myself to the same standards, of course. I also understand that people make mistakes. I would be surprised if you could find me a single person who was everything that they claimed to be to a “T”. Mistakes I understand. Deliberate false claims or purposeful ignorance, I do not.


Something that I have always questioned in the Bible is Luke 3, which Joshua Becker, minimalist author and blogger, beautifully illuminates. The Bible clearly states that the path to Him and to the best life you can live is to own less stuff. Matthew 19 addresses this topic as well.

Matthew 19:16-24

‘Just then, a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

“Why do you ask me about what is good”, Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

“Which one?” He inquired.

Jesus replied, “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

“All these I have kept”, the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

So, you may not be religious, but we can both acknowledge that the concept of minimalism has been around for generations. Minimalism is a concept that Christians have had an incredibly hard time with. We don’t want to get rid of our stuff. We misinterpret verses that tell us to give away everything as “giving up everything in our heart”, to make ourselves more comfortable. This is what I meant by purposeful ignorance.

This minimalism movement is long-overdue in the Christian community. It is about time we faced our Creator and admitted that we have been hiding behind consumerism and material crap.

So, why did God specifically want us to chuck our junk?

Because there is something inherently spiritual about it. The process of letting go of anything requires some amount of mental energy and focus. The act of letting go over and over as you purge your things does something internally. A sense of calm washes over you and the taste of freedom is sweet and fresh. You can hear God more clearly when the crap all around you isn’t polluting your mind. You can go where you are called, without the weight of your stuff on your back.

So, whether Christian or not, what are your experiences with spirituality, religion, and minimalism? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Thank you for reading and good luck to you, where ever you are in your journey!

Liz

xxx

 

header photo via Pinterest

 

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5 Comments

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  1. Last year I was taught a lecture on St. Francis to some 9th graders. The next day we watched the TED talk of the minimalists and they were to write a 1 pg reaction paper as to how minimalism and the Franciscan monks were related and how they felt personally about the two. It was some of the most enjoyable reading I had the whole year. The idea of owning less really seems to resonate with those who haven’t already been indoctrinated to believe that more is always better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very true. What’s interesting to me is that in every religion and spiritual orientation I have come across in my studies, all promote the idea of owning less. Yet, it’s a huge struggle in America.

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  3. I have always found minimalism to be closely tied with spirituality. In every belief system I’ve studied, material possessions are always viewed as a distraction from God and our true selves. I agree that it’s so easy to get lost in a world of iPhones and shopping and completely forget all of my personal spiritual experiences. It’s difficult to let go of these things because they’re so entertaining and fun but it’s worth working on our connection with God. There’s nothing more fulfilling than feeling that connection to God and your Self

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  4. roseminimalist July 26, 2016 — 1:39 am

    Amen. I am currently working on a post regarding just this matter, as I too believe there is a link between minimalism and spirituality. ➕

    Liked by 1 person

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