Years ago, when I began trying to live like Jesus, I noticed how cluttered and complicated my daily life was. As a result, I tried simplifying.
But I don’t mean simplifying by only carrying fewer possessions; I mean simplifying by cutting my attachment to petty things.
I believe there is a benefit to this sort of life. As I cleared away the mess and rewired my brain to not treasure the few possessions I did have, I learned to value others more.
It turns out, selflessness is a fruit of a simple life.
And maybe that’s why we struggle so much to keep a selfless attitude today. Our culture is inundated with the excessive consumerism that tells us our petty possessions matter. Many individuals, especially teens and young adults, value their items to the point where true connection and concern for others is stunted in their desire for more.
Some can let their possessions and attachments do the talking instead of their lives.
Simplicity is a discipline that rejects the lie of possessions holding value. It instead allows us to prioritize what’s truly important.
We need simplicity if we want to cultivate selflessness in our lives. That’s why we see Jesus intentionally structure His life to be simple. It’s the simple life that makes a difference.
If you want this life of selfless impact, like how Jesus lives, consider these few items you should not take too seriously in your life.
1. Your clothing
In Mark 6:9, Jesus tells the disciples to not take an extra tunic while traveling. People usually wear two jackets when they traveled so they have something to change into when they arrive somewhere. Jesus did this to either lighten the load, not make them appear too flashy, or as I would like to think of it, give them less to care about. By removing the worry of what to wear, Jesus equipped them to make a better impact when they arrived. We too could learn from this. Maybe the clothes on our back are pushing us to impress rather than impact. If so, it’s time we just stick to a signature style, and remove the worry altogether.
2. Your meals
We don’t need extravagant meals each time we do dinner. This habit for seeking mouth-watering meals each time will keep us focused on our stomach rather than others.
I believe Jesus intentionally simplified the disciples’ meal choices to just bread and fish. It gave them the freedom to serve others in a better capacity. I motion we approach our meals with the same perspective.
3. Your books
This one is personally hard for me. Books are memories for me. They bring me back to different times of my life, so I like to hold onto them.
But a truth is, if you believe others could benefit from knowledge in a particular book as well, you should be willing to let others borrow, or possibly have, them. Be selfless with your learned knowledge.
4. Your space
Many people guard their physical space like the cherubim at the Garden of Eden. Yet, this concern for physical space squeezes the life out of our hospitality. Instead of prioritizing our physical space, we should seek to share it with those who matter in our lives. We should let others draw close, enter into the space we feel most vulnerable, if we ever want relationships thick with intimacy.
5. Your social media accounts
Life is not moving on without you because you’re not plugged into social media or not blogging every day. You’re still a living, breathing human being. The space you occupy in real life is far better than the real estate you own online.
6. Your photos
If you lose your pictures, you don’t erase the moment from ever happening. In fact, the disciples never took photos with Jesus, yet that didn’t stop them from telling the stories of their time with Him.
Sometimes, I feel we can rely too heavily on our Instagram accounts and crafted images to tell stories. Maybe we would have better stories to tell if we focused first on not trying to capture the moment on our iPhones. Maybe our memories are better storytellers than our photos.
7. Your forms of entertainment
Just because you can’t zone out to television or play a video game after a long day doesn’t mean you can’t relax. If our forms of entertainment have risen to this level that we can’t relax without them, maybe we need to redefine what relaxation means. In my opinion, quiet and simple times with loved ones are a much better stimulation and wind-down than a screen.
A selfless life values and carries fewer possessions so that other more important things can flood into the recess. It’s time we discover what that simplicity looks like in our own lives.
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