On Tuesday I was praying and bouncing some new year thoughts around with Papa. As I prayed, we conversed about how contentment is a noble goal, and one that should not be so intimately connected to externals as it sometimes becomes. I had to be honest, I’m still entangled in the materialism that infuses western culture with the disease of more. I admitted my inclination to fall for the lie, and recognized that sometimes the journey to simplicity begins not with wanting less, but wanting to want less.
I want to want less.
I want to be happy with more of what I already have and shed the belief that something else can somehow craft a miracle of contentment in my already over-burdened life of excess.
Some may disagree with me. Some may say, you deserve it. Others may look at me and shake their heads. But inside I know myself well enough. I need the Lord not just to help me live a simpler, more satisfied life. I need Him to plant the desire for such a life so deeply in my heart it flowers into a genuine pursuit of such purity.
Simple living is not so much about what we have and don’t have. It goes deeper than this. It springs from a heart fulfilled with the things we already have. We lighten the load not to unburden ourselves; we do it because the things we get rid of no longer bring us joy.
Minimalism is really not about what we get rid of at all, it is about what we keep. And what we keep will vary from one person to another. Those things that add value to my life and environment will differ greatly from the things that enhance yours. You are a unique individual, created in the image of your Creator, and His personality sings through you in all of its diverse and wonderful difference.
To say I long for a life of less would not be accurate. No. I seek a life of enough, and more than enough to share. A life lived generously, not hoarding or hiding.
I’m a man on a mission to slow down and smell the roses. A soul willing to aimfully wander rather than hurry through life. I want to fall in love with the small things and live for the big things. Big things like love and relationship. Big things like playing with Lego with my kids or walking with my spouse. Massive things like showcasing a lifestyle of prayer to my teens, and learning not to worry what tomorrow may bring.
The new year can be a time to set your sights and stretch your goals, but in all the temptation to lift the expectation so high even an Olympian couldn’t attain it, take a moment to lower the bar and appreciate what you have already accomplished. How about making this year a year of celebration of how far you have already come, rather than one of lamentation over how far you have yet to go?
This year’s goal? Contentment.
Perhaps, in a culture so dead-set against such a joyful possibility, this target might just be the most ambitious goal I have ever set!