The desire for less

Most people, in the U.S. at least, desire for more in life. A bigger house, a bigger/fancier car, more clothes, more shoes, more money, more toys, more more more more! This MORE mentality used to be the song of my heart not all that long ago, but as I sit here today staring at my pile of stuff that is cluttering up our bedroom until we get around to having a yard sale, I am finding that the desires of my heart are changing.


When I first moved to the area where I am currently living, I babysat and nannied for a company for some extra cash while in graduate school. Most families that go through nanny agencies to find childcare aren’t usually hurting for money, so I would find myself in some pretty extravagant homes. It was very commonplace for me to be in homes weekly that had home movie theaters, three or four levels, multiple kitchens, guest houses, pools, extravagant playrooms, and decor that I was often afraid to touch. As a young 21-year-old at the time, after I would put the kids to bed in these lavish homes, I might curl up on the couch, turn on some tv and fantasize about what my life would be like if I lived in a home like that.

My husband and I over the past 8 years have chosen a different road for ourselves, which is ironically a stark contrast from my former fantasies.

Where I used to desire more, we now strangely desire less.

I used to love to shop. Now I hardly ever shop. I like to look nice, but in reality, clothing is just fabric to cover the body, and truly it usually ends up stain covered most of the time anyway. Goes along with my job title, I guess. 🙂

I used to want a large home. Now, I am perfectly content in my 1960s moderate home. It’s not small, but it’s not big. We have plenty of room to stretch out, yet are close enough to not feel like strangers in a big empty house. Plus, more rooms in a home means more opportunities for my kids to make a mess. Whilst we’re comfortable now, things might change in the future. Our house is big enough for us at the minute, but we might decide we need some more space as the kids grow up. However, we probably wouldn’t want to leave our home as we like the location and the kids seem settled in this area. I was talking to my friend about this the other day and she said that we could always look into adding some multi-story home additions to our current home to make more space. That would mean that we wouldn’t need to move into a bigger home as we could just make our current one bigger. That was a great suggestion and one that we’ll keep in mind if we ever need more space. For now though, we’re just comfortable.

I used to want a boat, a lake house, a four-wheeler, a pool, an outdoor kitchen, and on and on and on. Those things do still sound cool, but I also see upkeep, more responsibility, and money pits when I look at these things.

I once heard someone say, “The more things that you own, the more that those things own you.”

I certainly don’t think there is anything wrong with owning any of these items, but I do think there is some truth to this statement, and our constant desire for bigger, better, and more often reveals something about our hearts.

My sister in law and her husband came to visit us today before they head to Africa for two years to be missionaries in Kenya. Over the past three or four years they have been slowly paring down their things to live a more minimalistic lifestyle to include things that they truly need.

They will be making their journey with four large bags, which consist of mostly clothes, a few picture frames, and a few kitchen items. They also have six bags that are already there, which also consist of some household items. I have to say, it sounded refreshing.

Could I pare down my entire life to just a few bags or do I hold onto stuff with emotional attachment like it has real value to it?

The truth is, I guess I’ve come to realize over the years that stuff is just that…stuff. It’s stuff that clutters my life, takes time to manage, and distracts me from the more important things in life.

My heart is meant for God.

He is the one that should be filling the desires of my heart, not things. He is the one where my heart finds joy and contentment, not by getting the newest x, y, z.

Of course I’m not saying we have to get rid of everything and live in a box. I do believe that God blesses his children and we are to use those gifts to bless others. If you have a lot of money and resources, AWESOME! Use them for the glory of the Lord! Use them for his Kingdom. Don’t waste them. You have been given a gift, so use it wisely and be a blessing to others!

I find though, that if I am chasing after things to fill the God shaped holes in my heart, I am simply as Solomon puts it, “chasing after the wind…gaining nothing under the sun.”

Read what he writes in Ecclesiastes 2:

4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem[a] as well-the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.

10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil.11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve,everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

Depressing huh? Yeah I think so too. He owned everything he could possibly own, yet in the end he found it all meaningless.

It is my heart’s desire to live a full uncluttered life for the Lord. I’m tired of chasing after the wind. I’d rather chase after Jesus. 🙂 He makes my heart complete when nothing else that this world has to offer can. He has richly blessed me with a roof over my head, a beautiful family, loving friends, and has supplied all of my needs. Most of all, He is enough. I am blessed.


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