Keep Your Focus on God, Not on Things

Sometimes I have often felt like I need to let go of ‘the world.’ 

There are way too many distractions.

So, I have been abandoning lots of things that used to be very important to me and adopting a whole new way of thinking and a whole new way of being. Over the past several years I have slowly been moving towards what is called a ‘minimalist.’

It’s funny — I had no intentions to become minimal. My life seemed to be going OK as a ‘maximalist.’ I had loads of stuff and was quite happy with it, or so I thought. I discovered the concept of minimalism accidentally, stumbling on a few websites that discuss the topic. These sites reveal how people are always trying to find happiness through distractions, or oftentimes, in their next purchase.

Reading more, I also learned how people often refuse to let go of things because they are convinced they may need these ‘things’ in the future. Hmm, this was sounding a lot like me. I decided to look more into this minimalism thing. And the more time I spent reading about the subject; the more and more I realized I had some serious distractions in my life. It was like a curtain was lifting.  

From there, I was full steam ahead, wanting to live more simply and to be happy with what I already had. I wanted to live in a house that wasn’t stuffed with possessions, which actually possessed me. 

The obvious: I had way too much junk, too many distractions.

And then I started to learn some things about myself that weren’t so obvious:

  • I had put too much emotional value in the things that I own
  • Much of what I bought was based out of a need to compete or be like others
  • No one cares what I own or don’t own (gulp) 

And last, but not least, the clutter that had built up around me was depriving me of things like money, time and energy. But more importantly, this clutter (both physical and mental) was depriving me of something far more precious — inner peace and the chance at having a deeper relationship with God. 

In my early thirties I was convinced I should buy a BMW. At the time I was driving a very practical and nice Honda Civic, which was very dependable and gas-efficient. Boring. At least that’s what I thought. Plus, people driving luxury cars looked so much more happy … and cool. 

So, I spent months looking for a good deal on a used BMW. Well, I found that deal. And what I gained was a car that looked nice on the outside, seemingly impressing people (I now know that no one could have cared less) and was in the shop more than it was on the road. I eventually had to sell it at a loss. 

Looking back, it’s not the money that I lost on that BMW that I regret so much. It’s the time I lost spent looking for something I didn’t need, to impress people who didn’t care.  

The sad reality is that I could have done better things with the time and energy I put into that car.  

Since starting to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle, I have also learned that being a minimalist involves more than just taking heaps of stuff to the city dump, selling it or giving it away to charities. It’s also about learning to let go of certain non-tangible items too — like friendships that are no longer healthy or positive. And letting go of the past, so you can build a proper future. 

But most importantly, I’ve learned that adopting a minimalist lifestyle is about removing distractions. These come in the form of thoughts, imaginations, feelings and desires which hold our attention much longer and more strongly than they should. 

In the end, the word ‘minimalist’ is nothing more than striving for a life that is more simple. And in my estimation, a life that is focused less on ‘stuff’ and more on God.  

I have also noticed an extra benefit occurring –— my thoughts and desires are being influenced less and less by foolish interests, selfish ambitions and the false standards that the mainstream media and society have unleashed on us in the form of materialism. 

So often, we give our attention to what is unnecessary. Is it any wonder why we’re constantly distracted in life?  

In today’s society we attach so much worth, status and power to our possessions. Over the years I have watched many people guard and protect their money and possessions because they believe it defines who they are. They believe these “things” give them importance.

I have also seen the opposite — people who have or need very little but live with an attitude of abundance. They love God with their whole heart. They help their friends and family when in need. This is what matters most to them.  

And most importantly, they know that relying on possessions to give them their sense of worth and purpose is hollow because it’s not based on what truly matters — a true and sincere relationship with God.

The best things in life aren’t things. We were designed to work for something more meaningful than money, and stuff.  

Perhaps it’s time to focus on what is truly important. If you are occupied or even consumed with wanting more and more things, pray to God to help you break free from this attitude. This addiction.

Instead of acquiring things, try your best to make your life about faith, love, generosity, joy, hope, trust, caring, learning, and gratitude. None of which require a credit card, or a space to store things.

Try becoming a minimalist for God.

It might just change your life.

Photo by Alex George on Unsplash

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Alan Scott is a writer and graphic designer residing in Virginia. A former Agnostic, he converted to the Catholic faith in 2004. In 2014 he started his blog, and is the author of The Quest for Virtue, both which focus on growing in holiness, by attempting to live a life more simple and virtuous, a life that is lived for God. When he’s not writing or designing, you’ll find him, hands dirty, in his garden. You can find him on Facebook, too.

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