We aren’t living in a camper anymore.
It was really just bad timing. We needed to be out, but our new house wasn’t ready for us to be in. So, we had to find somewhere inbetween.
Thus, a camper. A really really nice camper, lent to us completely for free, nonetheless, five kids, two adults, and a dog loaded ourselves up and hauled ourselves down to the local RV park to resume life.
Interesting? To say the least.
You know that soul deep feeling every spring when you feel like you just need to clear something out? I think I might have been born with the on switch stuck because mine never goes off. So it shouldn’t have been surprising that I actually really liked camper life...most days.
We ate our meals outside, able to greet the day and our (ever changing) neighbors with regularity. We took what we needed and used what we have.
While all that sounds and even felt a little idealistic the truth is, I always knew it was temporary. It wasn’t going to last. So I found it easy to hold it lightly. I found it the focus on making a home simplified our period of living in between.
And then I realized...aren’t we all just living in between?
Happy are the people whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
We live in the tension between who we were and who we will be. What God has drawn us out of and where He is taking us too.
Most days life groans under the burden of complications.
So maybe you scroll your social media again, throw a few more things in your Amazon shopping cart, or clear out another closet. That’s what I do. We want to fix this mess we are living in. We want to untangle the threads that have us all tied up.
Maybe instead of fixing our complex lives, we need to fix our eyes on the completed work.
Maybe our yearning for simplicity is really just a yearning to make room for the Spirit of God.
It’s a longing for heaven when every tear will be wiped away. Every dark place made light. Even the lion and the lamb will lay down together.
So what is a pilgrim people living in the in between to do?
We are to make room.
In a broken world screaming for our attention tugging at us with urgency we need to clear it all out and make some space for the spiritual.
Take what you need.
When we packed up to move to the camper there was no chance to lay it all out and wonder what we need to toss or pack up, we just grabbed the stuff we needed. A few outfits, toothbrushes, and some wipes. At some point we have to stop agonizing about what needs to go. In our schedule, in our closets, in our relationships and start deciding what we really need to keep. Take what you need, and you’ll find you don’t need much.
I would love to give you specifics, but for the most part we all have different things that need cleaning out. Here is a good list to start with. Mental, Physical, Spiritual. What is taking up your mindspace? What are you thinking about and agonizing over? What’s cluttering up your house? What’s keeping you from inviting over the neighbors?
Keep your eyes on the prize.
The easiest way to figure out what you need? Is to figure out where you want to end up. I completely mean that with heaven in mind. I also mean that with the life you want to live until that moment comes. When you’re eighty what do you think will really have mattered to you? Living in the camper kept my goals clear. While building a house I found it really easy to obsess over light fixtures, flooring choices, and cabinet design. Simplifying reminded me that what I really wanted was a place to welcome people, make a pot of soup that would warm bodies and souls, and have some quiet space to curl up with a good book. The details just drifted away from there.
Clear the space.
I find this one the hardest and the most helpful. Mostly, when I throw four huge trash bags of things away it is simply so I can fill the space that stuff left when it left my home. It has taken me so much time to realize that all my minimizing and simplifying means nothing if I don’t keep some space clear. I pare down my closet so that I won’t have to spend as much mental energy trying to pick out clothes, only to spend that same mental energy shopping for the perfect capsule closet.
It isn’t just clothes. Sometimes we step up to the plate and say a brave “no” only to find that we have created a vacuum for the world to come and fill up. So really, this one comes down to motivation. Why do I want a few clear weeknights in my schedule? What’s the purpose for those epic garage clean outs?
This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we have to clear it out and let the Holy Spirit rush in. If we truly want Jesus to abide with us then we need to move over and make some room.
Gaze on the beautiful.
A few years ago I would have scoffed at this one. I really and truly didn’t see the point beyond anything utilitarian. It all seems like a waste of space and energy to me. However with time comes perspective and this is the new view. Hope.
We will not make it through physically, mentally, and definitely not spiritually if we do not look to the beautiful.
And you know what I’ve found? It really is in the eye of the beholder. But find something that reminds you of all the beauty the Lord creates out of brokenness. Gaze upon it. Display something that reflects the splendor of creation. Worship the creator. We do our souls no favors when we deny the awestruck wonders of this world in favor of the short sighted tasks in front of our eyes. If we want to make room for the Spirit to move in our lives we better be looking back to the beautiful ways He has already moved.