Why I began minimalist living
The following post is the written version of the video above.
For those of you who have been around on this channel, you’ll know that my Christian faith is a big driver when it comes to my lifestyle. I wanted to share how my minimalist journey all began, and my testimony of how God worked on my heart. If you aren’t a Christian I hope you’ll still be inspired or perhaps learn something new from my story.
The United States, compared to most countries in the world, is heavily consumeristic. My parents come from Taiwan, so I grew up with with the asian values of frugality and practicality. I remembered feeling out of place amongst my peers growing up, wishing I could have more trendy things in my life as a way to feel more socially accepted and recognized.
Going to college was a ticket to financial freedom because I finally got my first debit card. It was my an opportunity to be able to purchase whatever I wanted without having to always ask my parents, a way to prove my worth through the things I owned. The thing I always lusted for at the time was new clothing, and so I remember my first trip to the mall, trying out new pieces of clothing that I hoped would impress my new college peers. That first debit card sparked a solid three years of constant shopping trips: it became a norm for me to browse online sales or hit up local malls to find that new piece or item that would please my consumeristic appetite.
During the summer of my first internship out of state, I got the chance to experience life on my own in a new city. I had my own car, a pretty decent pay rate for an intern, and lots of free time to explore and do whatever I wanted to do.
Yet after a few days of shopping for more clothing with my new income, I woke up one weekend feeling tired and unsatisfied with the thought of going shopping again, a bit worried about the endless pit I was creating in my mind when it came to the dissatisfaction I had with what was in my wardrobe. I was trying to fill my closets with more and more clothing that I thought would make me feel like a better person, when in fact, I was stripping myself away from true joy that could be found elsewhere.
So that Saturday morning I decided to prioritize my Bible reading in search for some truth to calm my soul, and flipped open to continue the book of Matthew which I was already reading. It just so happened that I landed upon Jesus’ sermon on the mount, in particular, the passage about worry in Matthew 6:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” - Matthew 6:25
As soon as I read these verses, I thought God was talking through a megaphone at my heart. It was so clear: I didn’t need to worry about clothing or going shopping that weekend. In fact, I didn’t need brand name clothing or the fanciest gadgets to live a good life. I was already beautiful as I was, and didn’t need my closet to prove that point.
So I began to research some practical steps to worry less about my closet and landed upon the concept of creating a capsule wardrobe. And so, I set my mind to selling and donating my clothing and began the process to curate a smaller, more intentional wardrobe. The principles of a smaller wardrobe were also applied to the rest of my purchases, and I worked on slowly decluttering my belongings in light of the fact that I knew that I didn’t need so much stuff in my life to make me happy.
Years later, I look back and am thankful that God touched my heart in regards to my unhealthy consumeristic habits. Yet as I continue this journey to continue minimalist living, I am often reminded to not let minimalism become the sole purpose in life. Life isn’t just about decluttering, simplifying and wanting everything to be in place, it’s about simplifying your life to make space for loving God and loving others.
While the Bible doesn’t say that we all must become a minimalist because consumerism is bad, yet I do believe that we can all look at our relationship with the things we hold onto in this world, whether it be clothing, latest purchases, or our career, and do a heart check to determine what we’re worrying over. Oftentimes it is the things we worry about that take up the most space in our heart, which should be space reserved for loving God and those around us.
With that, I hope you enjoyed this video and also my testimony about how I started to live more minimally. I pray that your heart would also be touched in seeking what is truly important in your life, so that you would be able to experience a similar joy to what I have and know what it’s like to live life to its fullest potential.
Posts on minimalist living
The following are some posts on minimalism and decluttering which I’ve created in the past. I hope you find these helpful if you’d also like to simplify your life.
Christian articles on minimalism
Here are some additional articles I’ve found helpful if you’d like to have a healthier, Christian view on minimalism and consumerism. I’ve found these helpful as I can go overboard when it comes to decluttering and organization. It’s always important to have a balance.