The past year has been a big one. There hasn’t been a big event or even series of events that have made it significant (other than the fact I entered the 30s). No, it has been all the little things that have changed me. I’ll share the full story of my journey into minimalism soon, but I believe that it was what triggered the importance of this year. I began purging stuff from our home, which turned into purging things from my life – habits, quirks, thoughts, lies. Those are not as easy as tossing out the seventh pair of scissors. I had become bogged down by weight of our things and the responsibility they bring, the stress they cause. The inner clutter had hidden the part of me that used to dream, dare, go and be. I was a big mess of stress, desperately clinging to anything that would bring joy, and honestly there was little of that.
As I began peeling away layers of junk I began to find the old me, or rather perhaps the real me. I realized I wasn’t sure I would recognize myself if I met me on the street. What happened to the girl that told every.single.person she met about the people in Belarus? What happened to the carefree, go anywhere, do anything girl? What happened to the girl that would sneak outside and enjoy every drop of sunshine she could? What happened to the mom that would sit for more than 5 minutes to just play whatever came into her little ones’ imaginations? Yes, I now have kids and I think there is a reasonable amount of scaling back of adventures that comes with that or rather a different type of adventures. But even with them I was holding back, or maybe shrinking away from living wholeheartedly I could feel that I had become a little lost. Deep down I still love the people of Belarus and wanted people to know about them. I still care about the homeless, the orphan, the widows and wanted to do something to help. I wanted to love Andrei and the kids fiercely and soak up the days. Even the hard ones. I want people to know Jesus. Maybe I had let the inner and outer junk push Jesus out. Very early on in all the purging, last April I believe, is when I also realized that this journey was indeed a spiritual one. And so, I stopped and I prayed and I began to seek out Jesus in all of this.
The minimalism also led to a bit of a career change for me. I had been discontent for a few months with the direct sales business I was in and had been praying for a change. I had never heard of Noonday Collection until last July, but as soon as I found them, I was sold. When you start getting rid of things you also begin to be careful of what you bring in. Noonday Collection works with artisans in impoverished area by giving them meaningful work in the creation of the products. The artisans are paid a living wage and this model is impacting whole communities. I knew this was a company I would LOVE to share with people and so this girl who never had time to throw on jewelry began layering up with the best of them and telling the stories of the artisans. It felt so good to advocate on their behalf and to help be their voice in the world. Since discovering Noonday and the many other like-minded companies I began to really consider where things are coming from, who is making it and how they are treated. Honestly, I have not and probably won’t ever completely shop fair-trade/ethically made companies (is that even possible?) but it is now something I consider when I need to make a purchase.
Lastly, I think the last year has brought a bit more thoughtfulness to my days and how I am living in ALL the moments. I’ve become much more careful about the commitments and activities I take on. Even if something is good that doesn’t mean it’s the best thing I could be doing. The reducing of the things we have in our home has decreased the time I spend on those things whether its cleaning them, organizing them, fixing them, etc. A few months ago I had the biggest health scare of my life and though I was optimistic and had a feeling that I was fine-and I was- it still makes you stop and think for a moment about the what if it’s bad news? My oldest now being 7, I’ve realized there’s only a few short precious years of her truly being a “child.” It is going so quickly and I want to relish in these carefree days of her being little. So I encourage you today, to slow down, after all it is Sunday. Take in the sunset, go for a walk, or just sit down to enjoy your kids. Pick up that paint brush that you haven’t in months or maybe even years. What is something that makes you feel alive that you haven’t made time for? Share in comments if you like.