“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see the things above you.” – C.S. Lewis
Almost everyone I know is trying to live their best life possible. It seems we are born with a deep, ingrained sense that we only get one life… and are compelled to make the most of it. We desperately desire to be proud of the life we’ve lived.
Unfortunately, many of us will seek pride in the wrong places. We will look for pride in power, popularity, and possessions. We will hurt others in an attempt to move up society’s ladder. We will sacrifice uniqueness to gain popularity. And we will waste countless hours chasing more and better possessions. But no amount of power, popularity, or possessions will ever satisfy our deepest desires. Those things will always fall short. And there is no sense looking for pride in places that cannot provide it.
One of the greatest benefits of choosing to live a simple, minimalist life is that many of the pursuits above become replaced. And while choosing to intentionally live with less doesn’t automatically shift the focus of our lives… it can certainly provide the space that makes it possible.
It just may begin to shift our focus upwards to things that bring us true, lasting pride. Things like:
- A Clear Conscience. Living a life consistent with our values.
- Character. Choosing to treat others and ourselves with high esteem and respect.
- Sincerity. Living with no attempt to deceive those around us.
- Wisdom. Not being tossed and turned by the culture of the day, but laying a foundation of certainty from outside our ever-shifting culture.
- Love. Embracing a heart that, above everything else, seeks to love others.
Just to be clear, choosing a minimalist life doesn’t always result in a clear conscience, unparalleled character, unwavering sincerity, or boundless love. Nor is everyone who seeks those things a minimalist. There are, after all, many paths to the same end.
But I am saying that every so often, we need to slow down long enough to notice the focus of our lives. Afer all, the allure of power, popularity, and possessions can be almost too great to overcome. And intentionally choosing to remove them may be the only way to create the space needed to reject them completely.