Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cleaning Out Closets

My junior year of college I read through Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster for the first time. It was also the first time that I really understood what simplicity means. I discovered it is not only a freeing way to live, but also an important discipline in living by faith.

The Christian discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style. ~Foster

Simplicity is simply laying down our desires to compete for status, position, and extravagance. It is putting aside those cravings we have to impress people with our things. It is dying to our lust for little gods, and making room for more of God in our lives.

Simplicity is an outward life-style of owning what we need, and not having to have bigger, better, or more than our neighbors. It is a discipline God offers us to protect us from love of money. It is not legalistic, but personal.

Simplicity is the key to unlocking the chains of bondage to a materialistic world. It frees our time to spend more with God and our families. It frees our resources to give more to those in need.

Simplicity sets us free to recieve the provision of God as a gift that is not ours to keep and can be freely shared with others. ~Foster

Lately God has been opening my eyes in a fresh way to these verses:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:19-21

Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread. Proverbs 30:8

The Bible is flooded with verses like these, yet we so easily forget God's eternal goodness, and put our desire and faith into the temporary.

Although I value simplicity, recently I have realized that my simplicity has turned to something ugly. It has changed from being between me and God, to being a comparison to how much others have. Somewhere along the way my thought became that as long as I have considerably less than those around me, I am living in simplicity. Although this is "bigger and better" in reverse, it cheapens this gift of discipline.

So today I took some time to examine my life and my belongings. I live with a family, in their spare room. I use their furniture, so all my belongings are essentially contained in one closest. Yet today when I took an honest look at what I really need, I was able to give all this away.

I won't tell you an exact number of how many shirts or pants I or anyone "needs" in order to live simply; that should be a personal examination of needs and wants between you and God. I will tell you that I was holding on to many things that have been cluttering my life. And I will say it again...

Simplicity is freeing.

So now I ask, are there inward or outward things you are holding onto that are really holding onto you? Ask God to show you how you can live more simply, free of this bondage.


Cathrine said...

I think a good number of jeans is 2: 1 with holes, one without. yes.

Mark Langham said...

Right on!

Jessie said...

Loved the post, Becca! It's a great reminder of something I struggle with and need to examine daily. Another book I'll have to add to my summer reading list :)

Melissa Irwin said...

Becca - I love your blog! Sharing this on facebook.

Rebecca said...

@Cat- It would be so easy to get dressed in the morning: Going to work,no holes...Going bowling, holes...Going to a nice restaurant, no holes...going to a barbeque, holes...Going to church, well depending on the church it could go either way :) Good plan.

@Mark :)

@Jessie- You definitely should add it to your list, it was a life changer for me!

@Melissa- Thanks for sharing. And I got the package :)

Sarah said...

Simplicity has been on my mind of late. I've become self satisfied by the fact that I own less than 20 pairs of shoes....won't fit in the van.

Rebecca said...

@Sarah- I am pretty sure gypsies don't need shoes :)

annabelle said...

oh dang i dont have any holy jeans!!! ;P

Rebecca said...

@Annabelle- Thats okay, life is just going to be a little harder on you, trying to figure out what to wear and all :)

Rebecca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
annabelle said...

ol yeah. now none of my jeans stay on without a belt but I dont want to spend more than $20 to replace them so I'm patiently awaiting a sale (hoping by the time one comes around I can go down another size)

Rebecca said...

@Annabelle- I think that is a good problem to have :) Good for you.