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Minimalism and Desire

Updated: Mar 7, 2019

If you read this blog, perhaps you also believe the notion that everyone has a “God-sized hole” in their heart (soul). In other words, there exists a hunger for the infinite—for God—within each person that cannot be satisfied by anything in this created world. And the far-too-common tragedy in life is trying to satisfy this desire for God in anything besides God.

I’ve heard it said that a theological way to define addiction is when a person commits their infinite hunger for God to a finite, created thing—whether it be food, drink, sex, drugs, gossip, porn, etc. Obviously, addiction is far more complex than that, with neurological, psychological, and behavioral factors just to start. But it got me thinking, don’t we all have desires—good and natural desires—that we’re trying to satisfy in either the wrong thing or in the wrong way? Sin itself is a misguided and destructive attempt to fulfill some desire or want. And from a minimalist perspective, we can apply this same notion to our assessment of the stuff, the habits, the behaviors, and the attitudes that we need to correct or get rid of.

Perhaps I own 8 pairs of sneakers because in some small way I’m trying to satisfy this hunger and desire for something bigger and more fulfilling than sneakers. Or maybe I kick up my feet on the couch for several hours each evening in order to try to attain the rest and peace that actually goes far deeper than any physical relaxation can satisfy.  

And the list goes on. Our desires are disordered. In small and hidden ways, in big and very obvious ways, we are trying to satisfy our desires in ways that will only leave us more dissatisfied.  

These misdirected desires are roadblocks to living according to what we truly value. They prevent us from fully living our purpose in life. Therefore, it is essential that if we’re trying to not only cut the clutter but to align every part of our lives toward those values, we’ll need to be more aware of what’s going on in our heart and fix the ways we’re trying to fill those heart holes.

Minimalism in itself is not something that can satisfy those deepest longings of your heart. It is simply a tool and a philosophy for helping us to order those desires and to order our life according to our values. But in the end, minimalism ought to help us discover and embrace, and thus be satisfied by, the life that our heart truly longs for.