Hi, my name is Dawn Hall, the founder of Forever You Magazine. I'm excited to be on this amazing platform of Odyssey. Many thanks to Bobby Orr for encouraging me to join and share my life experiences, expertise, and beliefs with you.
The first issue of Forever You Magazine will be available August 2020. Get to know a little more about me through an article called: A New Perspective on How to Maximize Minimalism. This article is not about how to declutter your closet or spend less money. This article is rooted in scripture John 3:30, "I must decrease, He must increase." Enjoy!
A New Perspective on How to Maximize Minimalism
Twelve years ago, I closed my brick and mortar business and sold my huge house. I let go of everything and everyone I knew and moved into a bedroom with my dog and a roommate. This was the start of my relationship with minimalism. It wasn't called minimalism then; "it" (or I) was called "crazy!" But I had been crazy, unhappy and lost in a world of MORE for a while.
Looking back, letting go of everything and everyone was a bit extreme, but extreme had also been my reaction to life for 38 years. It was always "all or nothing" for me. Back then, when I decided to chase after a goal, it was done obsessively, relentlessly and without mercy on myself. I fought hard to manage it all – be a single mother, have a perfectly toned body as well as own and operate a gym by being the personal trainer, nutritionist, marketing director, sales associate, and cleaning lady. Not to mention I would solve everyone else's problems along the way! This was just the tip of the iceberg that showed itself above the ocean of dysfunction and denial I had lived "high above" since I was five years old.
When I finally decided to let go of everything and everyone, little did I know that this particular decision would lead me to surrender my old lifestyle of "not enough" to a new minimal lifestyle that would give me balance and security without needing much of anything.
Minimalism, for me, began with a maximum relationship with God. It says in John 3:30, "I must decrease, He must increase." Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives by removing unnecessary clutter and distractions from life's path. Twelve years ago, I had not heard of minimalism and I'm certain that the thought of practicing anything minimally would not have been attractive to me. Of course, now I see "all things are made appropriate and beautiful in its own time" Ecclesiastes 3:11. Instead, I enthusiastically immersed myself into MORE of God and chased Him till I could not go any further. I finally realized that I could not chase the Lord fast or long enough to reach Him, nor could I get to the top or the bottom of Him. The more I tried to figure out how the Lord worked the more confused I became. Each time I set a goal, the further away it moved from me. The faster I tried to move, the slower my actions. The harder I worked, the more complicated things became.
After a period of time, I exhausted myself and my mind. I exhausted my own thoughts of what I thought I needed/wanted. I exhausted my own thoughts of how, who, what, when, where, why. My mind was empty, void of thought – MINIMAL – spacious. It was at this very moment the maximum presence of the Lord rushed in and filled me with contentment of everything and everyone in my life at that very moment, which wasn't much. I didn't have a home or a car of my own, no job, a few clothes, my dog and one friend. This is when I realized, if this is all I have, it must be all I need.
I truly believe the Lord provides abundantly. Abundantly in Spirit to calm the mind, to be still and know He is God. His thoughts and ways are higher than our thoughts and ways. It's in the presence of His all-powerful, all-knowing, and unconditional love by the Holy Spirit fruit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness that leads us to self-control – we can then discern our needs from our wants and live abundantly according to the purposes God has set in our hearts for His good pleasure and our fulfillment.
Minimalism for me is a matter of maximizing my heart and soul. When I live genuinely from my heart and the truth of my soul, my need is what I desire and I am content with the minimal areas Lord has established for my life. The Lord has rearranged my priorities and made certain areas of my life minimal for me in thought or energy, which has created space to do the things I enjoy more often. God has given me the gift of time and freedom to live and act on the passions of my heart and spend quality time with friends and family.
Areas of minimalism are different for each individual. God knows which minimal portions will add most important value in each of our lives. A favorite scripture I have lived by is: "Lord, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed I have a beautiful inheritance." Psalm 16:5
Today, I live minimally by:
Tending to my soul first
Making my health a top priority (mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually)
Nurturing genuine relationships
Passionately volunteering for that which touches my heart whether that be to help a person in need, write a chapter in my book, knit, or simply hang out with my pups
Last on my list of priorities is my job/career as an entrepreneur. It is last on my list of priorities because I did nothing to restore this area of my life. And when I start working or trying to promote my career, nothing comes of it. The Lord has restored my job as a personal trainer and my career in health and fitness as well as adding to my resume the titles: founder of Forever You Skin Health, published author, speaker, and coach. I do not have an elaborate marketing plan or specific goals to meet. I have several avenues open for the Lord to bring me what He purposes and He provides all my needs according to His minimal lifestyle plan for my life. I do not want for anything.
Right now, I choose to live in a one bedroom flat since my son is grown now and it's just me and my pups. It suits my needs. It is minimal upkeep with just enough space for me to plant springtime flowers as well as a dining area to celebrate life by breaking bread and having a glass of wine with friends.
Minimalism is a daily choice, just as all of our actions and reactions to life's situations and circumstances. It's by the grace of God my choices to live a minimal lifestyle have become more often effortless. Whether you are decluttering your closet, the pantry, your book shelf, your mind or body, let it happen naturally. Trust that God put the desire in your heart to be minimal, that He will also do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24.
Minimalizing any area of your life is naturally maximizing space for God to rush in and inspire you to be content with where you are right now. He will continue the good work He has begun in you to want/need less, and desire Him more often, one step at a time.