My name is Matt and I am a consumer. This was my open declaration on my simplicity journey. It was a liberating moment, to be honest about just how much I love consuming and how wedded I am to the ways of consuming.But also of my desire to seek to take some steps to transform my consumerism. To be both liberated to enjoy what God has given me but also limited to enable good choices that will also help and bless others.
My name is Matt and I am a Consumer. I love the comfort and fulfilment that many of things I consume give me. I love to consume music, books, magazines and perhaps most of all great food and drink. I am aware that ultimately some of these things won’t bring me ultimate meaning and fulfilment, but I don’t think I could live without them either. I want a more simple and fulfilled life but am frankly scared of what that could mean and look like. I am not seeking to be a holy hermit who withdraws from life and consumption, I want to be real and engaged in the reality of living in 21st century society, but I want to spend and consume more responsibly, wisely and with greater generosity. I’m on a journey, I will stumble, get lost and over consume, but I won’t give in and just give up.
Well now I must add this. My name is Matt and I love and cherish being free, independent, in control and don’t like very much asking for help! There I’ve said it. Its out there and its the truth. Having injured my Achilles Tendon 10 days ago my rhythm and pattern of life has had to change. Some of the freedoms and independent ways have had to be put in check and I’ve had to ask, receive, get help and be far more dependent, which has been far harder than I thought it would be or how it should be.
“Independence is the bullshit of university”. Its a quote I will always remember from an Israeli mountain rescue worker who arrived to help us find our friend who had gone off for a walk in the hills and terrain of South Israel near the Egyptian Border. That friend ended up being arrested and taken into captivity. Extreme measures. I’m certainly not advocating against taking walks independently. But the experience was a reminder that we need to recognise our limits and the need to listen to others and to God at times recognising our limits.
Freedom, Independence and all that jazz is amazing. Freedom of speech, Freedom to vote, The free press and much more besides. The vital lifeblood of democracy. However have we, Have I become so used to it that I don’t need to grasp more fully what it also means to be dependent, to entrust myself to others and to God? Are we not better together in community, relationship, family and being able to be really open and reliant on others as well as people being reliant upon us?
These verses from Proverbs were given to me on my Baptism 20 years ago and seem so relevant for me right now. I’m not going to take them literally, esp v8! But the idea of trust, dependence and leaning not purely on my own ways and understanding seem sage and key advice for me to put into practice!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.