Full House, Empty Home

Children sit in the living room, texting friends while chowing down burgers from a fast-food restaurant, geometry and science books laying open at their feet. Game systems and electronics fill shelves beneath a blaring tv set. Knick-knacks gather dust. Chairs and sofas line walls filled with many pictures, relatives that no one knows.

In the kitchen, cabinets are piled with unopened mail. Gadgets, most never used, fill every drawer. The mom searches frantically for an ice cream maker she was sure they once owned. “Where is it? That was supposed to be our dessert tonight,” she yells out. But no one hears.

The father is in the garage, digging through boxes of items long forgotten. He has a reunion to go to and wants the jersey he once wore in high school. He doesn’t know if it will fit, or even if he still owns it. But he’s determined to find out.

A lone child plays upstairs, pushing little metal cars across the carpeted hallway. “Zoom. Zoom.” He rushes past one room and then another, stopping briefly in front of the guest room, where shiny ribbons strewn across an unmade bed catch his eye. Gift wrap and boxes, remnants of the holiday season, are thrown on the floor. Sheets and blankets lay haphazard on an old armchair. The little boy squints his eyes, imagining a room filled with children, a house where everyone plays. He looks longingly down the empty hall, then back at the bedroom, wondering why they have a guest room, but never a guest.

This picture is the norm, the scene of a full house. The site of an empty home. Families, even when together, are still apart. Communication is but words across a screen. Noise resonates through silent air. Parents search for things that don’t matter.

When did life pull families apart? When did we forget what’s really important?
I think it began when we crammed drawers with unneeded trinkets, and closets with too many clothes. I think it’s when we piled boxes in once-empty garages, and homes with needless gadgets. I think it’s when we embraced stuff, and let go of life.

We need to get rid of distractions. Whether a cell phone, a kitchen cabinet overflowing with unopened mail, or old boxes in the middle of a garage, we need to let it go.

Distractions are everywhere. Don’t let them be in your home. Turn off your cell phone, if only for a day. Clear a drawer. Toss a box. Stop searching in drawers and closets, looking for things that don’t matter. Everything you need is right in front of you.

What is your distraction? What will you let go of today?

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“The More of Less”

There once was a man who owned many houses and vineyards, gardens and parks. He could buy anything he wanted, and he did. He purchased silver and gold, and even bought singers to live in his home. He was very, very rich.

This man was a king. His name was Solomon.

Solomon had it all, or so it seemed. He should have been a happy, happy man. But towards the end, Solomon figured out the truth: “When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:11

It seems Solomon wasn’t as happy as it appeared.

I was thinking about this the other day, how we often strive to make more money so we can purchase more, so we can, at least on the outside, appear to be happier. I thought about it as I opened a new book by Joshua Becker, “The More of Less.” (The story of Solomon also happens to be in this book.)

I love this book. It is filled with tons of information, written in a thoughtful, compassionate manner. Joshua leads us along his own personal journey into minimalism. And while he thoroughly believes in what he writes, he never once judges anyone for how they live. He only points out the blessings he has discovered on a life with less.

It’s so easy when we have money to purchase whatever we want for ourselves, expecting to find happiness in new shoes, movies, or even a car. But no one can find happiness inside something from a store. As Joshua states, “they are headed toward a sense of disillusionment and futility.” Just like Solomon.

“The More of Less” is about change, about letting go of the old, and grasping the new. It’s about releasing ‘stuff.’ It really is a journey, a discovery of getting more out of life while living with less.

If you are seeking wisdom on simplicity, or wondering if the minimalist lifestyle is worth your time, I encourage you to check out this book.

You can read more about Joshua Becker at www.becomingminimalist.com

*Disclaimer – I received a free copy of “The More of Less,” by Joshua Becker. I was not asked to give a good or bad review, only the mention of his book on my site. But when I read this book, I knew this was a book that every person exploring minimalism should read. The book is my opinion, and I was not compensated in any other way.

*I am an Amazon Affiliate, meaning I am compensated for any product purchased through my site.

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Would Jesus Be a Minimalist?

If Jesus were on earth today, would He be a minimalist?

Before you answer, read this:

Minimalism means different things to different people, but the image often construed goes something like this: A man sits on the street corner, lazily strumming dirty fingers across a guitar, smiling quietly at the people who wander by. Next to him lies a weathered backpack. The man’s shirt is old and worn. His only mode of transportation are the tattered shoes upon his feet. He is void of material possessions, except a few items of clothing, and perhaps a journal tucked in his pocket. The earth is his home. The world, his heart.

There is another man. He works at a homeless shelter. His home is small, and by society’s standards, is considered poverty level. He owns a pot, pan, one small set of dishes, a spatula, and a large spoon. A mattress is tucked in the corner, a pillow and blanket folded neatly on top. Beneath the window sits a shelf filled with books, many of which he gives away.

Down the road is an executive, residing in a 2000 square foot home. His living room is fairly simple, consisting of a sofa, two chairs, one table, a television, and a small stereo. He has no trinkets, very little adorning the walls. His kitchen holds many dishes to feed the large church group he hosts every week. He owns hiking clothes and boots, pieces he wears often while leading young troops on nature walks. He has one large van. His clothes are few, his shoes are many.

If asked, each man would consider himself a minimalist. Though each one has clothing, some have shelves filled with household items, and one owns a house, each item they own is used not only to better their own lives, but others as well.

We are all unique, filled with individual gifts and desires, each with our own journey to take. Some of our paths require more, some require almost nothing. So if this is true, where does that leave Jesus? What would His journey look like? Would He be a minimalist?

Would He sit on the street corner and entertain us with a guitar? Would He shelter the homeless and give away books? Would He even own books? Would He fill His kitchen to feed His family?

I think Jesus would do those things, and more. I think Jesus wants to fill our souls with beautiful words, to shelter the lost, and feed the hungry. And in our society, I think Jesus might even own a car, and travel the world to see His people.

But He would still be a minimalist. I think He would own only what He needed. I think He would use it to not make His life better, but the world around Him.

I think that’s what being a minimalist is.

What are your thoughts? Would Jesus be a minimalist? Would He live in a large home, or would He own only the clothes upon His back?

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