“So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7
To say that life drastically changed would be the understatement of the year. There are not enough words to describe the unexpected changes my life has undergone in the past seven months but with those changes come humility and bravery.
I am currently experiencing a very different kind of life. As many of all you readers know, my husband took it upon himself to sell everything he owned to move to the Philippines in 2016. However, the Philippines, despite his best efforts, did not work out for him. So early this year, we decided it would be best for him to move back to his home country, build a life, and soon take me with him.
But with life being life, unexpected situations caused us to stick it out together, starting from the ground up. I only had a suitcase and a box with me when I left because I didn’t know I was staying and he had around the same amount of things.
With that being said, today my husband and I live quite the minimalist life, without meaning to at the beginning.
It’s a striking contrast from the life I was used to—I lived in malls and was constantly acquiring. What’s worse is that they were not anything of value, just mere accessories to a life that wasn’t fully lived.
Because of my obsession with acquisition, I was constantly on the edge, always chasing, and peering over my shoulder. My obsession with possessions symbolized the other parts of my life as well: a rat race that wasn’t nearly over.
Having to uproot my life and have no source of income for the first time since I graduated in 2007 led me to look at life in a different light.
At first, I was discombobulated—no shopping, no meaningless purchases, and most importantly, no income to dispose at anytime. After a while, however, my body and soul adapted to a simpler way of living.
My life had been all about things and people that didn’t matter. I was trapped in typical society idealism: buying things I can’t afford to impress people I didn’t like. I didn’t think I was but I was. My happiness was tethered into what I could buy. Losing everything to begin again was what my soul needed. Being left with no choice and having to face life with little options propelled me to ask myself what mattered and what did not. I spent so many hours trying to fit in and lost myself in the process.
As my new life unfolded, I was faced with the reality that despite our over-stimulated culture, we can live a life of pace and steadiness if we choose to.
I only realized that my husband and I were adapting into a minimalist lifestyle when I came across the book The More of Less by Joshua Becker. He spoke of the importance of living a life that wasn’t merely on the prowl for acquiring things but one that was purposeful. He wasn’t against purchasing things (as my husband and I still do) but more after the reasons as to why we were. He spoke of realigning our purpose so we can live a life that was adhered to it.
Life didn’t need to be an entanglement of worries, running, and racing. Once we prioritize our values and realign them with our purpose, we will know which ones we chase after and which ones we let slide. My life was aimless at best. I had a vague understanding of who I wanted to be—the best. But in today’s over hyped up world: what did “best” entail? It made me chase things and glamour and everything with it but my life was hollow.
When God scraped my life of all the well- known comfort I have known my entire life, I came to the core of who I was: my fears and what I wanted my life to look like and it reflected in my acquisitions. I used to let the external define me without realizing it should be the other way around. It’s quite a long process and there’s more to this journey but that’s for another day.
Today, I enjoy a quiet day in the park with a book and some good ‘ol Mr. Sun.