“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.” – Carl Jung
Over the past two years, I have had the privilege to write and speak often on the topic of simplicity. The simple message that there is “more joy in pursuing less than pursuing more” has been presented to audiences in various venues, has been discussed in small group settings throughout the country, and has been a constant conversation piece in my one-on-one relationships wherever I go.
And through it all, I have found that the message of simplicity appeals and resonates with the heart. In fact, the number of people who have told me that I am wrong and have flat-out argued against me can be counted on my fingers – that’s less than ten over the recent years… and I can distinctly remember each of them.
I have come to believe and understand that minimalism, the intentional promotion of the things I most value and the removal of everything that distracts me from it, is a message that appeals to the heart and resonates with the soul. It is an invitation that is appreciated, desired, and often accepted when offered.
In short, simplicity appeals to our heart because:
Our heart knows that possession don’t equal joy. We know intuitively that happiness is not found in owning more. Instead, happiness is found in the pursuit of our lasting passions.
Our heart recognizes freedom when we experience it. Possessions burden us… often far more than we realize. The heart desperately longs for freedom and the opportunity to be tied to things of true value.
Our heart desires fiscal sense. Nobody lives their life for the purpose of accruing large amounts of personal debt. Our souls desire to live within our means – not enslaved to a creditor. Simplicity provides fiscal freedom.
Our heart knows its resources are limited. Money, time, energy, focus, and love are finite resources. We do not contain an infinite amount of any. Therefore, we must make intentional decisions about where they are allocated. And the heart has little desire to spend them all on owning more.
Our heart knows truth. Most of our world is living a lie. They are passionately pursuing things of a finite nature. Society, culture, and advertisements promise lasting fulfillment in bigger houses, nicer cars, and trendier clothes. But lasting fulfillment can never be found in temporal pursuits.
Our heart knows when it is being fake. Sometimes, we collect possessions just to put on an outward facade to portray to those around us that our life is successful, put together, and all figured out. But deep down, we know it is not. And in the deepest places of hearts, we desire to stop pretending and be completely real and vulnerable… for the first time in a long time.
Our heart desires to pursue its passion. Very few would ever say that “owning stuff” is their greatest desire in life. Instead, we desire to find love, meaning, and live our lives for something bigger than ourselves. In this way, simplicity paves the way for our heart to accomplish its greatest desires.
Our heart finds joy in lasting value. What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Our souls desire to live for the things that matter by finding joy in the invisible, lasting things that can not be purchased with money.
Our heart longs for the higher attributes. We desire contentment, generosity, gratitude, and self-control. We want our lives to be described and remembered with those words. And the intentional rejection of possessions allows greater opportunity for these positive heart habits to emerge.
Unfortunately, we have been deceived. As a society, we have too easily succumbed to the lie that there is greater joy in owning more. But we all know it’s not true… our heart has been arguing for less all along.
It’s time we stop chasing empty pursuits. And start listening to the heart that knows us best instead.
Karen F. says
I am a fairly new reader of your blog Joshua-and your writing encourages, stretches and convicts me. As a person of faith, I respectfully disagree with your ideas on the heart. The Bible tells us: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9). I do believe the soul, (our imagination, conscience, memory, reason and the affections) longs, desires, and knows these things. Many (simple) Blessings!