Every year, usually during the spring or early summer, I take time to declutter my closet and my personal space. I have been doing this since my senior year of high school. For some reason, I am unable to think clearly or with focus when I have a lot of stuff around me.
It could be a lot of people, a lot of apps on my phone, or a lot of clothes or furniture. I’ve always wondered why I was like this and whether I had a case of OCD because I always needed things to be set and organized in a particular way in order for me to focus and be productive.
COVID-19 really shed light on this side of me. For the past 3 months, I have been cooped up in a 740-square-ft apartment with my golden doodle, Mink, watching movies and playing Fortnite. I was basically wasting away my gifts and time.
My internship had just ended and I was looking for jobs, but the industry that I was pursuing a career in was not hiring due to the economic circumstances surrounding COVID-19. This left me feeling discouraged and lost. On top of this, my mind felt cluttered and so did my life.
I had no goals.
And nothing I was doing was adding value to my life.
That all changed July 1st, 2020.
Days prior to July 1st, I spent time praying and asking God for opportunities to help me grow, but like most times, God doesn’t meet our expectations. He exceeds them.
My growth didn’t come in the conventional way that I thought it would, but through two individuals named, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. They call themselves the Minimalists.
Before I go into my journey with minimalism, let me first define it. Joshua and Ryan define minimalism as a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.
They make the point that minimalism isn’t getting rid of all your stuff, but keeping things and people around you that add value to your life. Today, we live in a culture that promotes material things such as high fashion, keeping up with trends, ads galore, and having excess.
Our phones give us excess information. We have the whole world pretty much in our hands. There is no such thing as “enough” in today’s climate. We never have enough clothes, shoes, money, friends, or followers. This has created a culture that is obsessed with things.
An Important Question
PLEASE hear me. There is nothing wrong with having any of that stuff, but can I ask you a question? Do having all those things add value to your life?
This was a question I had to ask myself as I was looking at some designer clothes that I own, but no longer use or haven’t worn in over six months. This was just one example of something that I had an excess of. One thing COVID-19 has taught me: if it isn’t essential, then I don’t need it. This falls in line with minimalism.
Do you have more than what you need?
Are you using your abundance of resources to help others?
It baffles me to know that we have billionaires walking on our planet, but homelessness is still a pandemic. AGAIN, nothing is wrong with spending your money on what you want the way you want, but ask yourself the question: how does this add value to my life? Not financial value or emotional value but intrinsic value.
I had to detach myself from the things that I owned. I found myself being able to let go of people easier than things. This was a problem.
People vs. Things
As a Christian, I believe in life after my time here on earth and unfortunately, I will not be able to take my Saint Laurent sneakers and Amiri boots with me to Heaven.
Valuing and loving people is my occupation on earth. So I asked God for an opportunity and He said look in front of you, there are plenty. Loving people is my opportunity and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.
Throughout my young adult years, I have been very aloof and reclusive, but during this journey with minimalism, I realize that my close friends and family bring value to my life. Spending time with them makes me feel free and fulfilled.
Who are the people in your life that add value? Spend time with them and love on them.
I am not writing this to convert you to minimalism but to shine a light on something that I have been practicing the past month. It has added so much freedom, happiness, and fulfillment to my life.
Through my minimalist journey, I have been able to rid myself of things that I never needed, relationships that were toxic, and negative thoughts. My relationship with God has grown because I got rid of all the distractions from things that I didn’t need. I have spent more time with family and friends. I have saved money and I also rediscovered my purpose, which is to love people and value them.
Josh and Ryan always give this quote at the end of their talks and it has been sticking with me on this journey: Love people and use things.
- How can you incorporate minimalism into your life?
- Who are the people in your life that add value? How can you love them more and spend more intentional time with them?
Keith Parham Jr. is a devout Christian with a background in ministry and sports. He has a passion for seeing others encounter Christ. When he isn’t working out or talking sports, he is mostly spending time with his Goldendoodle, Mink, and playing Fortnite. Got any questions? DM him on the ‘gram.