In Richard Foster's book The Celebration of Discipline, he shares some thoughts on the outward expression of simplicity. He opens the section with this:
Foster continues with suggestions for ten controlling principles for the outward expression of simplicity, warning that they should not be viewed as laws, but as only one attempt to flesh out the meaning of simplicity for today. I think they're helpful to ponder, so I wanted to share with you here to ponder or discuss at will.
- First, buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.
- Second, reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
- Third, develop a habit of giving things away.
- Fourth, refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
- Fifth, learn to enjoy things without owning them.
- Sixth, develop a deeper appreciate for the creation.
- Seventh, look with a healthy skepticism at all "buy now, pay later" schemes.
- Eighth, obey Jesus' instructions about plain, honest speech.
- Ninth, reject anything that breeds the oppression of others.
- Tenth, shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God.
He fleshes out each suggestion with more ideas and specific examples, and I'd definitely recommend checking out the book if you haven't read it.
One that is resonating with me more right now is the ninth, to reject anything that breeds the oppression of others. I think about this more at some times than others-- sometimes vetting our purchases and other choices becomes so overwhelming and time-consuming that frankly I simply shut down that part of my brain and carry on, without intention. In this area, as in all of my life, I need to get cozy with the idea of continual growth instead of perfection.
I'd love to hear about any of the ways you and your family have chosen to embody these principles.