3 Priorities You Must Have for a Minimalist Lifestyle
Where do you start to get on your way to a more Minimalist Lifestyle? In this post, which will be part one of a short series, we'll take you through some simple steps to get on your way.
I think we've always been MInimalists at heart, we just didn't know until a short while ago that it actually had a name. For both of us, I think some of it comes with our personalities. I'm very task oriented, and my brain can honestly only be focused on a couple things at most, or else I can completely shut down. I tend to get very overwhelmed when too many things are going on, which is why I think I've always tended to minimize the items I own, the obligations I say yes to, and the deep relationships I invest in. Even though Reid definitely has some opposite personality traits, he is also at his best when focusing on one or two priorities as opposed to many, which becomes a severe amount of stress on someone like him who has Attention Deficit Disorder.
I think the basis for starting our Minimalism journey all boiled down to finances, which you can read more about in our Downsizing Story. I've always been a bit stressed with debt, and constantly struggling with how we can get our expenses down so that we don't have to be strapped into jobs where we work long hours or have to make a certain salary just to survive. Even though we both actually have extensive skills and talents in certain areas, we have chosen more low-key jobs that sometimes might not pay what our skills merit. It's definitely not anything we're sorry about or to blame on the companies we work for, it is just what we've chosen to do so that we can have more time to spend with our families, time for health and exercise, church, Bible studies, and using our creativity whether through playing music, working on our camper, learning more about our passions, and spending time on Splendidly Simple and The Minimalist Church.
It's funny, even though we thought we lived simply, when we really looked at it (especially after having an $1,800 garage sale), we had way more than we needed or even used, were spending too much money (most of the time over-spending what we didn't really have) on eating out/running to the grocery store 3-4 times a week, and spending way too much time on things that were not our true priorities in life. It's only been throughout the past year, that we started to really think about the fact that we were almost 40, and were really just drifting aimlessly through life, not doing much of anything that mattered in the light of eternity.
That's when I found it. I was reading in Philippians (my favorite book of the Bible) about Paul and his life. Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament was not a Christian his entire life. In fact, he whole heartedly persecuted Christ followers before Jesus called him to a greater purpose. In studying his life, I found that Paul didn't start his Christian journey and ministry until he was about 39 or 40 years old. Wow! I was so excited. One of the most influential people to spread the good news of the Gospel started mid-way through his life, but was still able to say at it's end "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful" 2 Timothy 4:7. This is something Reid and I both constantly remind ourselves of when we feel like we've failed or wasted too much time in life. This is a message that we think more Christians and people in general need to hear. Yes, it's discouraging to see how much time has been wasted in our lives, but it's never too late to start! Whether you have 5 years, 20 years, or 50 years left on this earth, you can make a huge difference in this world and live out your passions and purpose.
What are your Priorities?
If that inspires you, and you want to get on your way to a life of less excess and more meaning, but have no idea where to start, a practical place would be to first know what your priorities are and write them down. I love the following quote by Jim Collins, author of the book Good to Great.
3 Priorities Really? How in the world can you only have 3 priorities in life? That sounds impossible. But is it? When you really think about the definition of Priority, it puts things into perspective a little better. "Priority: the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege; taking precedence. Something given special attention."
It doesn't mean you don't have more than 3 things going on in your life that need attention (although most of the time we make things urgent that really aren't), it means what are the things that should be given special priority based on your values and passions. What are the 3 things that if nothing else gets done and they do, you are satisfied. At the end of your life, what are the 3 things you want people to remember you for? The 3 things you won't be ashamed you spent too much time, money, and resources on. Write them down!
To give you a little help, here are some examples:
Family & Friends
Here are our top 3 priorities:
1) Knowing God & Fulfilling his Purpose in this World
2) Relationships: Family, friends, the Body of Christ
3) Using our Creative Gifts (AKA Our Passion)
Think about it and before the day is over, click on the pdf image below to print it out, write down your top priorities, and put it up somewhere you'll constantly see it.
WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?
What are your thoughts on this? Do you already know what you're top priorities are? Share with us in the comment section below, it may help someone out reading this article and that's what we're here for!