Friday, April 15, 2016

Thoughts on Minimalism, the old days and God...

Does the word "minimalism" appeal to you?  How about the phrase "capsule wardrobe"?  Or what about "vegan"?  These all seem to be the popular buzz words among young people today.  Some people even claim it affects them spiritually.  I admit these do have a certain appeal to me as well.  Living in a affluent society where we have so much it seems a self induced doing without is refreshing. Take for instance the capsule wardrobe, this appealed to me in the fact that I would have less to take care of and it would be easier to get dressed.  However, I've had a mental block about actually doing it.  Searching for answers, I looked back on my childhood of the 1970's.

We were a family of 7, which was a fairly large family in the 1970's.  My parents owned 2 cars, mom was a stay-at-home mom and my dad made a fairly good salary as a purchasing agent for an oil company.  However, my parents were not rolling in the dough with 5 kids to clothe, feed and take to the doctor.  We had a simple 3 bedroom home, with an old couch, two chairs, a coffee table, an end table, a couple lamps, a record player and a TV.  At one point in my life my parents moved into a 4 bedroom home and I got to have my own bedroom.  However, my parents did not have enough furniture to fill my room.  For a while all I had was a bed and a bookcase made out of 2x4's and cinder blocks.  I had to use the bookcase as a dresser to house my undies & pj's.  Eventually my parents were able to buy me a dresser and nightstand and let me tell you I felt like a queen!  So I've checked minimalism off the list as I've been there, done that.

As for the capsule wardrobe, I had a walk in closet in my bedroom, but it was mostly empty.  I remember anxiously waiting for my grandmother to come for a visit.  Why?  Because she would often bring me hand-me-down clothing from my cousin.  I remember at one point I had a 3 or 4 pairs of pants, a sweater or two, two long dresses that my grandmother had made for me, a few tops and blouses, a couple pairs of shorts and maybe 3 pairs of shoes max.  How's that for a capsule wardrobe?  So I checked capsule wardrobe off the list of pursuits. Been there done that, don't care to do it again.

As for diet, nowadays, being vegan is all the rage.  I admit it appeals to me as eating more veggies is always a good thing and avoiding GMO's is a good thing too.  In the old days people talked about being vegetarian, but mostly that was for hippies.  If you were a normal American family you were on the "food we can afford" diet.  Therefore, we grew up on Kentucky Fried Chicken, ground beef, Cheerios, whole milk, white bread, baloney, Hostess Twinkies, chips, Hi-C fruit punch and the yucky veggies mom served at dinner.  We supplemented with water from the garden hose and fruit eaten off backyard trees.  I remember food being more fresh, seasonal and tasty in the old days.  As for being vegan, well, I think being a vegetarian appeals to me more than being vegan.

Looking back on my childhood, I can see that I've already experienced minimalism and the capsule wardrobe in my life.  As for diet, that maybe could use some further exploration and change, so that may be something to pursue. But, all of these are just outward things.  What is more important is our spiritual condition.  So spiritually speaking, does any of  these ways of living change our spiritual condition?  The answer is "No".  What we physically have or don't have or what we eat or don't eat doesn't really make the difference.  Jesus said in Mark 7:18-20:

And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.…

So in conclusion, being a minimalist, a vegan or practicing the capsule wardrobe concept doesn't necessarily do anything for our soul.  However, God can use these experiences in our lives, no doubt, but they can't make us right with Him.  Father God is the giver of good gifts, He makes the sun to shine on the just & the unjust.  The greatest gift He has given us is His Son, Jesus.  While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).  So spiritually speaking what we do with Jesus is what makes all the difference in our spiritual condition, nothing else.  That is minimalism right there.


Sherry said...

* * * applause * * *

excellent post - you described so well my thoughts ..
except for the minimalism part. i'm still downsizing
because it's helping to streamline my choices and
day to day living. i found that i wear the same clothes
week to week. now, when i buy a new to me (much of
the time thrifted) piece of clothing (usually a shirt),
i remove 2 from my existing collection. i need to
count all my shirts. maybe. but it might scare me
as to the total sum. you see, this year alone i've
rid my wardrobe of 7 packed grocery bags. gulp.

Becky said...

Thanks Sherry! Good for you for downsizing. I am continually downsizing as its always good to share when you aren't using something. However, it is really nice to have choices in my closet and have fun with clothes. In my growing up years I did not have that option.