I used to think having more meant I would be happy but now I know I’m happier with less.
Growing up I used to hear people say, “Less is more.” Huh, what’s that supposed to mean? My parents always made sure I had enough but they didn’t go overboard. I never lacked options though. As I entered adulthood, got a grown-up job and began earning money I really embraced the “more is better” philosophy. At one point in time I could have gone months without having to wear the same outfit but did not because half of the clothes in my closet I never wore (another time. another post.)
I don’t share my shopping habits to brag or even suggest I had the money to make all these purchases; actually, the very opposite is true I charged it all. I got first my first credit card in college, without my parent’s permission, because I was an adult now; never mind they were still paying for just about everything. I reasoned I needed a credit card so I didn’t use my debit card for internet purchases. Thus began the downward slide into the credit card pit! We are a people who think reaching into our future and spending money, we don’t have, to buy something we want right now is normal (thanks for that word Andy Stanley). I’m not judging because I’m victim to this scheme (hello…credit card debt) but as I continue to wander through living on mission I’m learning to embrace less.
All throughout the Bible we read about embracing a less is more attitude. I think about the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, sell everything and follow me Jesus says. I used to read this passage and pray (beg might be a better word) for Jesus not to ask the same of me. I had stored up (with money I didn’t have) so many things; the thought of getting rid of anything made me really sad. How could I possibly survive? I needed all of those things, didn’t I? I felt better when I had more stuff around me. Having things gave me a sense of purpose.
Learning to live on mission requires a new posture and I learned I had it all backwards. Jesus wasn’t asking the rich young ruler to sell everything because having things was bad (or that to follow Jesus you couldn’t have possessions) but because finding worth, significance and purpose in anything other than Jesus is to be deceived. Jesus wanted the rich young ruler to want Him more than anything his wealth could buy. It was about motives, his heart and dependency on possessions that led Jesus to ask him to sell everything. My motives for purchasing things I could not afford and my dependency on stuff was misplaced.
I didn’t sell everything I own but I did evaluate, from a higher perspective, everything I had accumulated and decided what I should keep. These days I live with a lot less and I’m diligently working towards paying off my credit card debt (thanks Dave Ramsey). I have a wanderer spirit so it helps to have fewer things so that I can be ready to act when the Spirit leads. The struggle is real though. I work for a major retailer and I’m surrounded by discounts, coupons and major consumers all-day but thankfully I’m confident in who God has called me to be. I don’t fit in with the same crowd anymore and honestly I never really did. I was trying to be someone I wasn’t which is exhausting and costly, in more ways than just money.
As if it needs to be said there is one thing in this life I will always want more of . . . Jesus! I’m praying for you.