Living What We Value: Minimalism and Faith

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We arrived at my parents and will stay two nights before moving into our own place nearby.

For 24 hours of travel from Delhi through Newark, Chicago, and then into Missouri, amid all the hectic luggage shifting and child-caring, I couldn’t stop thinking about our 2 hour wait with too many bags stuffed full of both precious and meaningless things.

I don’t want to move homes again with the angst, clutter, and nostalgic hoarding that accompanied this move. I need and I long for this time in the US to be one in which we find our rhythm.

A rhythm that will work whether the kids are 3 or 17. A routine for travel and moving that maintains our values concerning “stuff”, but also a routine for daily life in which we practice the same values in the every day, making the moves and the travel easier.

I will not again pay excessively for excess luggage. We will decide together what’s important to keep. What we give and what we sell. THEN I will plan and pack ahead. I will start with arrival day in mind. What do I really need and/or value when I get there?Then I will pack only these things. And therefor I will get rid of all the other things ahead of time. I will not OWN so many things that I only end up discarding. That, my friends, is madness.

I have no idea how we will do this. I know it will take time and time. But if we don’t do this now, in a year we will have an even bigger problem in a 1600 sq foot house full of stuff (twice the size of what we’ve lived in). If I don’t use something, I don’t want to just stuff it in hiding. I want to let it go. And I don’t want 15 mediocre shirts. I want a few nice ones that I can wear out. I don’t want to be driven by fears of “what if I want this specific lotion or book or shirt later, and don’t have it…. “. Would that really be such a problem? Yes it seriously concerns me in the moment of packing.

Instead of one favorite mug amongst the normal ones I serve tea and coffee in, I have 5 favorite mugs.
Instead of one shampoo I have 3 half-empty bottles of favorite rshampoo.
Instead of one lovey each, both my kids have a favorite teddy bear, blanket, AND lovey that, in my mind, they both need everywhere we go.

And we go an awful lot.

There’s something significant and disturbing in all of this.

I was walking through the Chicago airport crowds, pushing Little Miss around, when it struck me that the thing that keeps me from minimalism is fear.

Fear that I won’t have the means to purchase something later, so I keep things eternally.
Fear that if I give it away, I’ll never have another.
Fear that if I don’t have my favorite mug while I’m traveling, my journal, and 5 other nostalgically significant objects, that it won’t feel like home and I’ll have somehow lost the sense of “home” and belonging.

As if belonging is rooted in my stuff.

If I don’t have all the things that remind me of our Himalayan mountain town… then will it be as if we were never there and never experienced that feeling of belonging there?

Will I just float around forever and will this newfound feeling of rootedness allude me again and again??

So in fear I gather up every preschool drawing, every pinecone we painted last Christmas, every thank you card received, every pair of wool socks worn in the frigid mountain nights. I gather them up and I stuff them in bags and pockets and trunks and purses, hoping that all of the memories will fit. The wool shawl I wrapped in on winter mornings, the tea kettle I boiled chai in over and over. As if discarding them would rob me of the memories.

No. This isn’t going to work.

I won’t be this girl.

Because what I fear is disconnected drifting, the life of the shallow lotus that floats aimlessly on top of the pond.

I reach down deep with all my roots, I long to dig them deep in belonging and identity.
But these things were never found in objects. They were found in God. And God is the One who taught me to let down the walls, to pull in close and to make connections that last. Both with him and with others.

Without Jesus I can’t forgive, I can’t fully trust, and I can’t really love. So He is the one that gives me the ability to belong. And He’s the one whose presence I need in every place. To make it home. To feel my identity. My belonging. My roots.

With this revelation I can let go of the things, because it’s FAITH in His goodness and His promised belonging that allows me to go minimal.

The mug and the journal are a bonus. But they aren’t what makes me feel at “home”.

If you have advice on how to live more simply, i would love to hear it.


  • Tana

    This is so my heart. Have you seen the movie The Letters? I worked for mother Theresa over 30 years ago…her example changed my Life as an 18-year-old girl.
    I still strive today to live more simply because of her example.❤️

    Reply

  • Jackie nahuel

    This is awesome Rebecca.
    This is my heart also as I look around at some needful things and alot more clutter. I’m committing to one area at a time. My focus right now is to be more organized and give everything it’s place instead of having areas of light disorder which in turn grows into a drawer of needless things. I started in my closer and my son’s room going through things and then making some scrapbooks for us both to put down our memories of things and people with drawings and pictures. Sometimes I would take a picture of that special item so that I can put it in the scrapbook and remember the blessings it gave me.
    Its a work in progress but this is my hope that this will help in decreasing the amount of stuff we carry around.
    ❤️So thankful for your blog-

    Reply

    • Wellspring Post author

      Jackie- I so appreciate these ideas. Love. The idea of take pictures of special things that really aren’t needed because it addresses my fear of forgetting these things. And it’s not using them, but remembering them, that really matters to me. Thanks again. Best of luck as you organize and pair down.

      Reply

  • Amy

    I think I would say I’m on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to having things, we have saved very little and don’t be have a ton of things (except shoes…definitely except shoes! haha). This didn’t happen until AFTER our 1 st term though. Before I didn’t knownwhat I could live without. I didn’t know how memories would/could be preserved if I didn’t have the things. Now I know that they are and those experiences will forever be a part of me. So after our first term we sold everything. I mean everything. Almost to a fault. I leaned that it didn’t change anything except I don’t have a bunch of junk to go through that’s been sitting around for 4 years! The memories are still as present in my heart and mind as if I still had the things that represented them. (Facebook helps too…the on this day feature is fabulous!!!) I also think not having a routine IS our routine in this life we live. I’ve had to concede to that and be ok with it…that was a process. Your statement “the thing that keeps me from minimalism is fear” is profound. I think that’s the root and that’s freedom to realize that. Love this post, its vulnerable and powerful.

    Reply

  • Michelle T

    Hi Becca,
    I love the process of the minimalist journey. I realize its much easier for a single with no kiddos but the most freeing/weightless time was about 5 years when i gave/sold about 85-90% of my belongings away. I’ve tettered since trying to find a balance but i always had exactly what i needed and when it was needed.

    For the last 2 1/2 years a friend has used the book by Marie Kondo, Spark Joy to help.

    Last week i just found website i havent read/watched anything yet but here it is, http://www.theminimalists.com/

    Love you Becca
    M

    Reply

    • Wellspring Post author

      Michelle, this is SO GOOD. Thanks for the resources. I’m kind of on a new journey with this, trying not to be extreme, but also trying not to fall back into the hoarding habits. The more I learn and am inspired to minimize, the more free I feel. Hope we can chat more sometime about it…

      Reply

  • Sierra

    No wonder Jesus’ disciples traveled with just the clothes on their backs #TravelDrama #TheseSandalsWereMadeForWalkin’

    Reply

    • Wellspring Post author

      You are so right and you’re already SO GOOD at this! #teachmeyourways One day you and I can take a road trip (without my kids) with one backpack each and a good pair of sandals. 😉

      Reply

  • Katie

    I feel with you here and can only imagine how I will feel when I have to pack up and downsize! And you’re right- the root of hanging on to too much is fear. I’ve just searched “de-cluttering, where to start” and also found a great resource from a lady in Canada who blogs about simplifying childhood which spills over into the rest of the areas in our lives too. I can email you a post that stood out to me a great deal. Love you friend!

    Reply

    • Wellspring Post author

      Thanks for the article– it was HUGE. Going to stay up on her blog and see how it can affect my life. Can do this transient thing with SO MUCH STUFF. Interesting how it said too much stuff led to ADD. Hmm.

      Reply

  • Cathy

    I absolutely understand where you are coming from. You will figure it out. It is good that you feel this way on your first move, it will help you for years to come. Sit down and watch Veggie Tales ( Madam Blueberry) with your kids. It’s about STUFF! Love and prayers

    Reply

  • Divyansh Gupta

    Hey! I love your revelation and it just blows my mind right now!

    Reply

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