My brain is like a pinball, bouncing around in 5,000 different directions most of the time. Living slowly, truly minimally, does not come naturally to anyone in our culture, especially me. I’m one of the first of this digital generation that has been so massively overstimulated that our minds no longer operate the way God designed them to work. I want with everything in me to get back to square one, to think clearly, to have space in my heart to be intimate with both God and others. The best thing I can do is not look at what other people are doing at all, so that I don’t feel pulled or influenced in all directions. It’s so unnatural for us to be virtually surrounded by people and their opinions and their possessions!
One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is detoxifying our home and the food that we eat. I feel guilty about the expense of living naturally- how expensive organic food and natural products can be. Isn’t it wrong for me to spend so much money when I could eat cheaper, processed food and use the extra money to buy food for people in need? I feel torn between the two ways, because I don’t think that cheaper, processed food is the way God intended it. Surely He wants us to be intentional with our purchases, buying from companies that use ethical labor and ethically sourced ingredients? If there’s a possibility that my coffee was farmed by slave labor, then it can’t be right for me to continue using it. My purchase of organic lettuce might be the answer to a small-town farmer’s prayers, whose financial struggles are exacerbated by the factory farming system!
These are the kind of things that our modern pinball brains prevent us from considering. Our myriad consumer decisions have a network, cumulative effect on the world around us, and perhaps sometimes our purchasing choices are propelled more by addiction than need. I really want to break my own dependance on shopping, and especially the convenience items from questionable sources. I want to live with less so that my heart can be more fulfilled. It’s tough to convince the people around me: everyday, my sons want more more more things and they aren’t even exposed to a lot of marketing like many kids! They just look around and see that it looks like the kids they play with have more toys than they do, and the same questions of value and worth arise in their little minds that will in mine as I scroll though Pinterest, if I let them.
Our worth is not found in possessions, or what we do with our time, or how we choose to style our hair, or which neighborhood we live in, or any of the other metrics that we so often choose to measure ourselves against. Your merit comes from what the Lord says about you: You are a chosen child of God, dearly loved. He sings over you, He treasures you greatly, He adores you. While others will forsake you, He never will. He has an eternal reward prepared for you in Heaven, and He anxiously awaits the day that He can lavish you with crowns and a truly forever home. What attractions can this world possibly have for us, who are God’s children?
Thinking on these things, already I can feel the pinball drop and the clash of the mechanics and electronic sounds fade away. Present in this moment, peace accompanies my tender heart and the presence of the Lord is balm on the wounds that culture has inflicted. I want for nothing because He is here. All the things of this world strive to pull my attention away from the One who knit me together, and Who chose me. Those things are able to destroy me, if I let them. But to put on the mind of Christ and forsake the world for my Father: this brings quiet to my soul.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6)
I am refraining from fast living, and I am fasting consumerism. I am focusing as much as I can on the present moment, and spending quality time with the people I love, and attempting to distill from the excess around me a real understanding of the difference between my wants and needs. I want to living simply: not so that I can have an easy life, but so that I have mental space to hear from God and move as He calls me. Will you join with me?