I think that we are all always seeking freedom and rest because we know at the core as humans that we were designed for that.
I started out on my journey to minimalism, in part, because I didn't want life to be so dreadfully hard. I wanted to be able to walk into my house without tripping over a weed-eater (it's the little things right?). I wanted to find my keys and to have clean dishes. I wanted the anger and despair to leave. And I wanted to no longer hate who I was; it was that simple.
I didn't realize, then, who I really was. As a visual person, I know now that I am created specifically with a perfectionist eye for art and color and design. Clutter makes me have a hard time breathing. I had no self-awareness or appreciation for my learning style. I didn't know what self-love was then, and I probably would've told you "that sounds selfish. Minimalism is a stark art-form for elite, self-absorbed artists, right?"
Let's just be clear, we are not talking about self-centered living when we talk about minimalism.
I think that we are all always seeking freedom and rest because we know at the core as humans that we were designed for that. Something in our souls knows that we require peace in our identity, provision in our homes, and freedom to love our families with all that we are.
All of that begins in what we believe about ourselves.
I remember the exact moment I decided to hate who I was. I remember the culture that told me I wasn't good enough, thin enough, successful enough - never enough. I remember believing that I wasn't worthy to be loved. I had to struggle through many dark days of depression to come to a place where I knew that I could not find that self-love in my own strength (I am a strong personality; believe me, I tried!)
I found the foundation for self-love only comes from knowing I AM loved. As I dove into ancient writings, thinking back to how generations lived before me and handled the deep questions I was asking, I found great solace in seeking ancient pathways of simplicity and faith.
I found words that the Creator-God had spoken.
"You are His beloved."
"You are chosen."
"You are worthy."
So worthy and valuable that God would come down to rescue me from my own darkness by His own suffering. The twisted-nature of religion never interested me; to be totally honest, it makes me sick. Yet, the healing brought by the reality of the cross of Jesus was exactly what I needed. His love came with the mix of violence and love and justice. I knew, in my depression, that I could not love myself without His love for me.
My friend, I know that you understand the darkness that I speak of. Maybe you've struggled deeply. Or perhaps you love someone who still wrestles with depression.
For me, I had to give almost everything away to find that what I truly wanted wasn't stuff at all. It was peace with God and peace with myself in my own soul.
The path of minimalism still leads me straight to Him and all that I breathlessly needed in order to overcome self-hatred and despair. I needed this to be free to love my family as unselfishly as I can each day. Minimalism is not the source of self-love nor is it innately selfish; it is merely an unselfish method to clear a path to the Answer I needed.
In your minimalist journey that you walk, dear friend, may you hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way, walk in in," and you will find rest for your soul. You will know how deeply loved you are. And with every path you walk in this wide world, may it always lead you straight to the cross of your Savior.
Blessings for your journey,