Hello Brothers and Sisters in Christ! My name is Macy Cottom. I am a sophomore here at PC and I am currently serving on the Bluefish Spiritual growth team for my first year as a commissioned Stephen Minister. I am majoring in Christian Education and particularly feel called to work in various Children and Family Ministries.
In this Lenten Season, my home church is doing a study on simplicity in our lives. During this season of Lent I have taken on the challenge to simplify aspects of my life so that I can live a more faithful existence by recognizing what God is calling me to do. When reflecting on my own life I have realized that I am caught up in material things that do not matter. I had reached a place where I thought I no longer cared about material things, yet clothes, shoes, books and little trinkets were cluttering my living space. I am holding onto these things that really have no value to me just because I can. I do not use many of these belongings and I could not help but think about the people in the world who have no possessions at all. In Philippians, when emphasizing unity in the church, Paul says “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Those people who struggle with poverty and its devastating circumstances would not allow things to lay idle in their homes like I do. This mindset of becoming content in my own circumstances led me to my own Lenten challenge this year. Each day of Lent I am giving one of my possessions away. Clothing items I no longer wear, books I won’t read again and shoes I rarely use are all items I have been giving away each day of Lent. In addition to giving one item away each day, I am also not buying anything for myself during the 40 days of Lent. Since I am working towards simplicity in my life, it would be counter-productive of me to replace the things I give away with new items.
In closing, I feel this Lenten discipline is allowing me to make more room for God in my life. Writer Heather Hersham reflects this idea when she states, “Living in moderation frees up space in our hearts for God.” I do not want my possessions to take up the space in my heart where God should be. Even if they do not intentionally hold me back, by applying moderation to all aspects of my life I am learning to become a more faithful disciple. I am not saying that you need to give away every nice thing you own; however, I do think it would helpful if we were more intentional about recognizing what we need and what we want. Needing and wanting are two very different things. As faithful disciples it is necessary for us to recognize the things we need versus the things we want because if we are in constant wanting of physical things, we are forgetting God’s grace and love. The Lord will provide for us because we are all beloved children of God. When focusing on the material things, we miss opportunities to serve a sister or brother in Christ because we are so focused on our own wants we forget their needs. I have come to grasp that the material things I own do not bring true joy and happiness. The community of faith and God are the essence of true joy and that is where we find happiness in serving God by serving others.
The following are ways to incorporate simplicity into your own lives:
- Avoid looking at advertisements today
- Create a budget for your spending money
- Give to a charity
- Walk to a store instead of drive
- Wear your oldest clothes today
- Cover your mirrors for a morning
- Give away articles of clothing you no longer use to a charity