Sayonara, Cheez Balls
By Janel Breitenstein
They landed at the base of the stairs with a satisfying thwap: 11 trash bags, most containing my husband’s clothes.
But I’d felt inspired, too—chucking that sweater shaped like a grocery bag. That skirt for the type of occasions the likes of me never attended. The shirt I was sure I liked, until I really didn’t.
Interestingly, my whole body felt about 11 bags lighter.
God had been rolling us both toward a similar conclusion, see. We believed in personal disciplines like prayer, community, studying the Word.
But more and more, there was one that beckoned: simplicity.
Africa, where we served five years, had folded a jewel in our hands—one we’d been in danger of losing.
Simplicity carries a certain freedom most Westerners (me, included) can’t know. There’s a joy; an undistracted, undivided heart; a gut satisfaction in liberation from excess.
For my husband and me, it’s eliminating life’s Cheez Balls: “junk food” possessions, information, activity, entertainment—generally full of a lot of air and fake stuff that sticks to everything.
It prevents us from acknowledging a hunger for God.
As a couple, that’s meant training our minds and hearts away from our constant appetites and the idea that more equals happiness, comfort, and convenience. (Check out Luke 12:15.)
And as a happy side benefit? We’re closer to each other. When our schedules have wiggle room and we’re more focused on each other, it’s amazing how that creates room for presence. Attraction.
For us, simplicity is slowly manifesting in ways like
- Simpler meals; less wasting of food.
- Not being fooled that activity or screen time is the same as connectedness and presence.
- A little less doing for God, more being with and enjoying God (see Luke 10:38-42).'
- Relentless decluttering.
- Waiting before ordering something on Prime.
- Organizing so we don’t buy what we don’t need.
What do you have to lose?
The Good Stuff: But the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the Word, and it proves unfruitful. (Mark 4:19)
Action points: What’s one area of your lives and home that feels chaotic, suffocating, or weighed down with excess? Ask God to reveal areas where less could mean much more: less frantic, less cluttered, less entertained, less distracted—leaving more for what matters.
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