My husband Will and I just got back from a weekend in Chicago, where we hung out with friends, saw the city from 103 floors up, froze our faces off while staring at The Bean– and we got to see Hamilton, the musical!
This trip was brought to you by… my shopping fast. Well, mostly that, and also the fact that Will has cut down significantly on his spending as well. Because our spending has been so low as a family unit, we were able to go on this trip, make some great memories, and have a ton of fun in a cool city.
Ever since we started this new journey together at the beginning of 2018, our priorities have shifted. Being Christian minimalists means that our spending is low because we no longer strive to accumulate more stuff. Instead, we focus on what really matters– experiences with one another, and with our friends and family. This means that our spending is only on things that we need/have use for, and experiences that add value to our lives.
As we were having fun in Chicago this weekend, I was reminded to give thanks to God. Everything we have comes from God; how we choose to use what we have is stewardship, pure and simple.
I am more aware of being a good steward of what God has given me now that I actively spend less and focus more on God, and on life experiences and relationships with friends and family.
So here is a fun story from our trip: I’ve written on this blog about my minimalist experiments in packing— and this moment in Chicago made it all worth it.
So on Sunday, Will and I checked out of the hotel and made our way to church for worship. Since we had decided to only pack for the weekend in a backpack each, we could easily check out and walk a few blocks to church.
Our minimalist packing style became even more important when we realized that our path was blocked by the huge 8K happening that morning, called the Shamrock Shuffle. Thousands of Chicagoans decked out in their best green St. Patrick’s Day gear were running down the street. We tried to go down the block and around the corner to find a way around the race, but no dice. Our path was blocked on two different streets… and there was no other way to get to church except through the crowds of runners.
We stood there for a bit, watching the runners, trying to figure out how to get across the street because we didn’t want to be late to worship. We thought maybe if we waited long enough, we’d be able to cross when the last of the runners went by… but the stream of runners was ever-ending. It dawned on us that we would have to run across the street, through the race.
…Which we did. We took off, running and dodging through the runners in the 8K with our backpacks on on our backs. A runner, being a smart aleck, saw us and yelled out “YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!”
And after I got to the other side of the street and caught my breath, I was grateful that we only had what we needed for the weekend on our backs! I don’t even know how we would have made it across the street through the thousands of runners if we had had standard rolling suitcases or bulky weekender bags.
Minimalism literally enabled us to run when we needed to! Will and I were laughing hysterically later because of this experience, and we were free to have this experience because of our freedom from packing too many things.
This Chicago trip, in many different ways, showed me: EXPERIENCES, NOT STUFF!
How is God calling you to focus more on experiences rather than stuff??