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Minimalism from a Biblical Point of View —

Biblical Minimalism© is "a complete, whole-person release of anything unlike Jesus, a letting go of everything that hinders us from following Him wholeheartedly and single-mindedly, and a relinquishing of all that brings us under bondage to this earthly, very temporary life." Cheryl E. Smith

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Make Your Needs Your Wants, and Your Needs Few

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  
Matthew 6:33


Is that even possible?  In 2019?  In this consumerism-obsessed, materialism-driven age of time?  Is it possible to make a complete mental transition from being obsessed with what we want to being content with the simplicity of what we actually need?  Can a person truly make their needs their wants and their needs few?

I am here to tell you that yes, it is possible and far easier than you might think.  My family and I have been in the throes of making this transition over the past few years, and we are amazed when we compare our mindset today with what it was when we began this journey.  We are learning what it means to be satisfied with what we need, and it is a beautiful thing to find that the things we want and the things we need are harmoniously one and the same. 

There is enormous freedom to be found, if you just know where to look.

1. Identify Your Greatest Need

What is it that you really need?  For the moment, let’s lay aside the necessities of food, shelter, clothing, and good health, and let’s talk about the internal part of you.  What is that one need that when left unmet throws every other part of your life out of balance?  Identifying this is of utmost importance because no matter how much stuff you accumulate, how many avenues you explore, or to what extremes you go, you will never be fully happy until you identify and fill that one, basic, greatest need.  One of the first necessary steps to uncover this is to reconnect to your childhood self.  Remember that person?  For me, it is a little brown-haired girl with pony tails, hazel-green eyes, and a heart full of hope that learned early on to rely heavily upon prayer and a connection to God that was authentic and integral.  I personally found that my most pressing need was and continues to be a spiritual one.  One of my earliest childhood memories is kneeling beside my bed to pray and finding a rare sense of comfort and deep-seated peace.  That basic, deepest need as a three-year old is still my greatest need at age 52.  So simple, yet so profound.

2. Identify Your Second Greatest Need

For me, it is to live in peace and spend as much time as possible with the ones I love.  The older I get the more I see the brevity of life and feel a deep need to make the most of every precious moment.   I find that I cannot function well when I am at odds with anyone in my inner circle, and it is important to me to keep communication lines open and do whatever it takes to make them a priority.

3. Identify Subsequent Needs

Perhaps you feel an intense longing to serve others, create, travel, explore, learn, or teach.  Think about what fulfills you and makes you feel complete and identify what is preventing you from doing these things.  Answering these questions will help you to find your true calling and purpose in the Kingdom of God.  What stands in your way of living out that calling?

As you are identifying your greatest needs, are you seeing a pattern?  Are you noticing that true needs are not “things” at all?  Authentic needs are matters of the heart, the inside of you.  As your thought process is transformed to focus on what is internal, you realize that to fill those needs you will find it necessary to eliminate much that is external. 

Just a few years ago, my family and I “owned” a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home, with an oversized 2-car garage on 2 acres of land.  Our house, garage, attic, closest, cupboards, and drawers were stuffed to the brim, we were up to our eyeballs in debt, the continual upkeep and maintenance of physical possessions robbed time and energy needed to nurture our spiritual walk with Christ, and our lifestyle required my husband to keep his nose to the grindstone bound to a job he detested.  He felt a deep sense of nagging guilt over watching our only son grow up too quickly and not being able to spend enough time with him.  We didn’t need much of what we wanted, and our wants were preventing the filling of our heart needs.  Our epiphany happened when our identity was stolen, and we were forced to face the reality of all we owed and the toll we were allowing excess to take on our lives.

We sold our home, released about 90% of what we owned, became 100% debt-free, and moved to the mountains.  We switched from the fast lane to a slow-moving pace that is conducive to the nourishing of our souls, and instead of going back into debt, we made the choice to rent a small, furnished home that someone else is responsible for and owns.  Several months after our move, my husband’s job was outsourced, and he is taking time off to finish our 13-year home school journey.  There was a time we would have been devastated and lost everything we “owned” because of the unexpected job loss but making our needs our wants and our needs very few ahead of time enabled us to be able to rejoice over being set free from such bondage.  My husband is now completely involved and the hands-on father he has always wanted to be, and we are free to explore and do things together that we could never have experienced before.  This is our journey from a life of abundance to a more abundant life, and we have never been happier or more free.

Life has a way of blurring the lines and injecting unwanted, uninvited distraction to the filling of our deepest needs.  It may take some hard work, intense soul-searching, and deep digging to find what your greatest needs are, but there is great wisdom in finding your true self.  It is there, probably buried under a heap of cheap substitutes, insufficient fillers, and the inadequacy of excess physical possessions.

It all comes down to what matters most and the choices you are willing to make.

12 comments:

  1. Dear Cheryl,
    Oh, yes, I have found that living with this chronic illness diagnosis has boiled away so much dross in my life that was just "extra" when I thought it was so necessary. And I have found at the same time that the smallest things have become so precious and beautiful. God really does find ways to clear the clutter out of hearts, and He continues to take that deeper in me too. Thank you for sharing from your story! Blessings and love to you!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your precious encouragement, Bettie! I got your sweet email and will answer soon. You are such a blessing to me! I am continuing to pray for you and trust God to heal you and send brighter days ahead. Much love and many blessings to you, too, my friend.

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  2. Dear Cheryl ,
    Thank you so much, for this blog . Your words and writings here , speaks to my heart.
    (Excuse me for my grammar)

    Grace and blessings to you dear friend.

    sis in Christ, Rizza

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    1. Oh, bless your dear heart, Rizza! I am so thankful to "meet" you and all glory to Jesus for using the words to speak to your heart. You are so welcome here. Much grace and many blessings to you, too, sweet sister!

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  3. This is so encouraging to me. I am going to grab my journal and work through writing down my needs. What a great post! So glad to be your neighbor at Fueled by Faith! Thank you!!

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    1. Oh, I am so thankful to be your neighbor, also, and very grateful for your visit and kind words! I hope the exercise of writing down your needs will be a help and blessing to you. I am coming over to visit you now. So nice to "meet" you!

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  4. Another great thought provoking post. You are so gifted in sharing your faith with others and I am so glad that we "met". Your words inspire me.

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    1. I am so grateful to have you in my life, also, sweet friend. Your encouragement is a gift! God bless you. I hope all is well with you.

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  5. Dearest Cheryl, thank you for your encouraging words and writings! You are a blessing!

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    1. And you are a blessing to me, too, sweet friend! God bless you today!

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  6. I feel very connected to this blog, your online ministry is going to immensely enrich my life. Thank you, I hope I can in some way minister back to you. Thank you!

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    1. Oh, you certainly HAVE ministered to me by taking the time to leave kind words here! I feel so very blessed that you feel very connected to this blog, and it is my hope and prayer that this ministry will enrich your life. It is so wonderful how God brings us across one another's path for mutual encouragement on this Christian journey. Please keep in touch, and may the Lord richly bless you for reaching out!

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