Live more abundantly though Christian Minimalism
Christian Minimalism by Becca Ehrlich is both refreshing and thought provoking. In the past, I have been wary of the concept of minimalism. I thought minimalism was only for people who were wealthy. In my mind, the only people who could afford to get rid of the majority of their earthly possessions were the ones who didn’t need to clip coupons or buy in bulk to save money.
Although I’m wary of the secular form minimalism, Ehrlich asserts that minimalism is actually very Christian. She defines Christian minimalism as focusing on the aspects of life that matter most. As she points out, when Jesus walked the Earth, he was in many ways the ultimate minimalist.
I thoroughly embrace Ehrlich’s unique and faith-filled view of minimalism. Her insights gave me a great deal to think about. I spent so much time contemplating her unique ideas that it took me several weeks to read this relatively short book (I usually devour books, so this is something that was unusual for me).
I was very interested in Ehrlich’s descriptions of how Christian minimalism can take many different forms. Every person’s journey of faith is different; therefore, every person will practice Christian minimalism in a way that is unique to their own life.
Several years ago, I read and enjoyed The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (it even inspired me to spend an entire Lenten season cleaning and sorting my own home). Although I was inspired by Marie Kondo, I felt that her work was missing something. Christian Minimalism fills that gap by making space for the deeply spiritual aspects of decluttering our lives, both mentally and physically.
If you’re a pack rat like me, Christian Minimalism will give you a lot to think about. It is perfect for fellow pack rats, fans of Marie Kondo, or anyone who wants to free themselves from life’s excesses so that they can focus on what is truly important.
Note: I would like to thank the author and the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Synopsis from the Back Cover:
With the success of Marie Kondo, a new Netflix documentary, and hundreds of blogs and YouTube videos on minimalism, it’s clear that it is more than just a trend. In a time of climate change and pandemic, people are looking for new ways to live well, and minimalism is meeting that need.
Minimalists strive to focus on what matters most and then actively remove any obstacles to that focus. Consuming less may already be an environmental and personal priority, but Becca Ehrlich contends that minimalism can be much more. In her new book, Christian Minimalism, she explores the direct connection between minimalism and the Christian faith journey.
Christian Minimalism cuts through our culture’s insistence about consumerism and challenges basic assumptions about our lifestyles, inviting us into the life that Jesus encourages: one intentionally free of physical, spiritual, and emotional clutter. It offers personal stories and practical steps and includes discussion questions that are ideal for individual reflection or exploration with others.
Interview with Becca Ehrlich, Author of Christian Minimalism
Interview with Becca Ehrlich, author of Christian Minimalism: Simple Steps for Abundant Living for BeckieWrites.co
Rev. Rebecca: Good morning! Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you for my blog. I would like to congratulate you on your upcoming book, Christian Minimalism. I very much enjoyed reading it. What inspired you to become a “Christian minimalist?” Was there a specific turning point in your life?
Becca Ehrlich: Yes, I was actually watching the original documentary about Minimalism on Netflix, and I legitimately had a revelation. I watched it again with my husband Will, and he agreed with me that God was calling us to live a more minimalist lifestyle. I recognized that Jesus’ teachings and minimalism had a lot in common, and I wanted to delve deeper into the connection between minimalism and the Christian faith. So, I began living and writing/blogging as a Christian minimalist.
Rev. Rebecca: I’m very impressed with how you and your husband were able to get rid of 60% of your belongings and engage in a year long fast from shopping. What was most challenging about the experience? What was most rewarding?
Becca Ehrlich: The actual process of getting rid of stuff was definitely challenging. It’s not only physical work, but also mental and emotional work. Going through your stuff and minimizing isn’t glamorous, but it’s incredibly worth it. There is something deeply satisfying about making space in your life for God to move. The year-long shopping fast was not quite as challenging, but really made me confront my buying and spending habits. It completely changed my life. I am now way more aware of how I use the resources entrusted to me by God.
Rev. Rebecca: When I was a young child, my family struggled with money. My mother would often buy items in bulk because it was more cost effective. We would stockpile necessary items and we were always reluctant to get rid of things because we could not afford to buy them again if we discarded something we needed. What advice do you have for families who want to embrace a minimalist lifestyle but who struggle socio-economically?
Becca Ehrlich: This is such a great question, and I do get asked a lot about how minimalism and Christian minimalism translates to different socio-economic contexts. At the core of Christian minimalism is a focus on Jesus and what matters most through intentional living, and anyone in any context can put that into practice. There’s no “right” way to live as a Christian minimalist, so depending on your context, you may need to have a few more things in reserve than other folks, because it makes sense financially, and that’s OK. It’s about finding your enough amount, and what works for you.
Rev. Rebecca: I don’t have children of my own, but I know from my friends that children require many things. What advice do you have for parents, especially those with young children, who want to try Christian minimalism?
Becca Ehrlich: Christian minimalism is totally doable for families with children and teens—it’s all about teaching intentional living and focusing on what’s most important. It can be difficult when their friends are living a different type of lifestyle, but as long as teaching and modeling minimalism is happening, it can be a great Christian minimalism journey for the whole family. Some other great resources: my good friend Cassandra Roberts wrote a guest post on the Christian Minimalism blog about how she and her family have been intentional with toys: https://christianminimalism.com/2020/12/28/intentionality-with-toys/ , and Joshua Becker has a super helpful book about minimalism in a family context called Clutterfree with Kids
Rev. Rebecca: I see that you were involved in a reality show now on HBO Max (previously aired on TBS) entitled Lost Resort. Would you share a little bit about what the experience was like? Was it difficult to be a person of faith on a reality show?
Becca Ehrlich: It was definitely an adventure! It wasn’t like other reality shows, in that we were on a spiritual retreat. I very much appreciated taking part in a retreat using indigenous spiritual practices, and seeing how those practices mirrored or were similar to Christian spiritual practices. Obviously, there were some differences, so sometimes I modified the ceremony to make sense for my Christian faith. But all in all, it was a fantastic experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat
Rev. Rebecca: Do you have any other books or creative projects in the works? What are you most excited about?
Becca Ehrlich: I’m currently working on some small group curriculum to go with the Christian Minimalism book, and also starting a second book. I’m excited that the Christian minimalism message is getting out there—I truly believe that God is calling us to live a more simple and intentional life!