MINIMALISM: The intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them. -Joshua Becker
It's no secret that I'm a fan of simple living. It may come as a shock, but that's why my blog is entitled Simply Living. Astounding, I know.
...Now that you've got your mind around that (I'm sure it took a few minutes), let's dive into this post! This is a very different post for me, but one I'm really excited about. Joshua Becker, of Becoming Minimalist, has written a new book titled: The More of Less: Finding the Life you Want Under Everything You Own.
I emailed Joshua after hearing about his new book, and offered to pre-read the book and write a review; to my surprise, he accepted my offer! While I had wanted to try and get this done a little earlier, I think the timing may actually be really good; his book releases TODAY, May 3. If you're anything like me, you have all these good intentions of pre-ordering a book, yet you never do it. But when it's actually out and you see it and hear about it, you're all 'Yes! I must buy the book!' You can order it in hardcover or in Kindle version, and whichever version you prefer, I highly recommend ordering it as soon as you are able, because it will rock your little world.
Let me start by saying, Joshua writes like a man. Profound, yes? I don't mean that as a diss, but rather as statement of fact, and in fact, a really good thing. If you're used to reading, say, Ann Voskamp, Shauna Niequest or even Jen Hatmaker, it may take you a chapter or two to settle in. There is no poetic prose, no tears-in-your-wineglass stories, no laughing said wine back out of your mouth at what was just said. There are a lot of personal anecdotes and stories, some serious, some more fun, but all very, very practical. And I think that's kind of the point. This book is made to be used. Read a chapter, put it down, and do something about what you just read. Then pick it back up, read the next chapter, and so on and so forth.
Rather than give you a long, detailed synopsis of the book, I'll say this: If you feel at all like your life is too busy, too messy, that you don't have enough time in the day, enough money at the end of the week, enough time with your family, that you spend all of your time fixing all the things/cleaning all the things/doing all the things, you want to spend more time giving to others/traveling/seeing your friends, etc. etc. etc. then you need to read this book.
We've been on a 'simplifying journey', if you will, for the last couple of years, but this book has kicked it into high gear. I expected to be like 'Oh, yes! We agree, his ideas are wonderful, I shall share with the world, the end.' What I didn't expect was to come away feeling like I'd had an even bigger shift in my view of 'stuff', and encouraged to keep going on this journey. There was no feeling of guilt or a push to 'do more', but genuine encouragement - and who doesn't want that?!
Two key things that I really enjoyed:
1) he talks not just about physical stuff, but also mental, spiritual and emotional 'clutter', and how that gets in the way of living, and really dives into helping you flush that out.
2) there is a strong emphasis on giving to others, whether it be through time, money, volunteering, ministry...you name it. He points out again and again how living with less frees us to give more, and that is a simultaneous slap in the face and encouragement to keep.going. It goes very well with my words for the year.
I'll end by sharing some of my favorite quotes from the book with you (it's kind of like a movie trailer, except I promise the trailer doesn't contain all the good parts!):
We choose our careers for the sake of choosing more. We spend the best hours of our day trying to obtain more. We get jealous when "less deserving" people seem to have more. And we constantly worry about having enough.
In a world where six billion people live on less than $13,000 per year, most of our financial-related stress occurs because of artificially manufactured need.
Expectations, demands and accessibility continue to expand, but the number of hours in a week does not. As a result, our lives only get busier and busier.
If an activity, a decision or a habit is not bringing us closer to our purpose and passion, then we should remove it. Most of the time it is only distracting us from what really matters.
What if contentment is found not accumulating things for ourselves but in meeting the needs of others?...What if the more we give away, the less we need?
Instead of trying to earn acceptance from others by owning the same stuff they have, rewrite your definition of what success looks like to you.
...what I like best about volunteering is that it reminds me that people with needs are people and not projects.
There are so many other great quotes, but I'm going to stop there, because you need to read them, underline them, and re-read them yourself. I sincerely can not recommend this book enough.
Happy de-cluttering ALL the things, friends!!