by Alethea Awuku April 12, 2020


We live in a world that is always screaming MORE to us.
If only you had MORE of this [insert item/lifestyle] you would be happy, fulfilled, content, slimmer, more attractive, have longer hair and snatched edges.

The message is sent forth, and we eagerly respond to the promise of more.

The issue of materialism can be a constant battle and struggle for many of us, as we seek to find an appropriate balance between desiring and acquiring nice things, and spending impulsively on items that we don’t need and later regret. 
We have too many things, and yet we can't stop purchasing and acquiring. And with constant marketing being targeted at us, its no wonder that there is a lot of decision fatigue going on. How many variations and styles can we have of one item? the choices are endless.

According to the 2018 Office of National Statistics (ONS) in the UK, the population spent on average a total of £718.7m a week online, with women making up 64% of that spend, which amounts to a whopping £460m per week.

That's a lot of money and looks excessive when totalled. But honestly, it starts with small, habitual decisions that we make- most times without even thinking about it.
One morning, Stan and I were reviewing our finances and he asked me what a particular outgoing payment was for. Although it was just for £20 he asked if I used this subscription service enough to justify the £20 being spent
I didn’t. In fact I couldn't remember the last time that I'd used it! 
So why did I keep this particular direct debit? Fear of missing out.
Not sure if you can relate?
This got me thinking about whether we really need the more and how having and doing less, can actually create more discipline and substance in our lives.

Make room for less

Have you ever removed an item out of your closet to replace it with a similar more updated version just because you wanted something new and fresh? The idea of making room usually has us thinking that it is to create space to refill with newer things.

We don't often take the time to just linger, and enjoy the fullness that comes with  emptiness. We are used to noise. We like it.

Likewise it can be so with us spiritually. We may desire less distraction, but find ourselves drowning in much noise. The idea of lingering over the stillness of a sunrise, the words in a good book, a conversation, a scripture passage, a hymn, song or preaching long enough to plant seed and bedrock seldom happens in reality.

Living without sounds frightening. It sounds like saying goodbye, like sacrifice and pain. Or at least that's what we think. Similar to having too many physical things, being stuffed to the brim spiritually with the culture creates a block for God to flow. We want the more; more depth, contentment, joy, breathing space, compassion, life. But are we willing to walk the path of less? Less media, distraction, voices, comparison, selfishness, in order to achieve this goal?


I am reminded of the following scripture passage: 

As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. ( Matthew 12:22-24, ESV). Good, perfectly healthy seed had been sown onto the ground by the sower but the seed could not penetrate deep enough before being choked by the cares of the world.

In the world that we live in, we are led to falsely believe that we are blessed when we have more things, because material items are evidence of wealth, doing well and moving onward and upward in society. Even more so now, we want to be seen to be doing more in order to feel included. Yet this can create an overwhelming sense of clutter and a strange but very present emptiness at what is before and all around us.

Thinking of the spiritual dimension, it really is possible for us to choke the work of God within our lives when we are insistent upon digging our spiritual and emotional roots down into the temporary things of this world instead of in Him the all-sufficient One.

What have we dug our identities, worth, value, and significance into? Where does our affection lie? (Col 2:6-7)

Spiritual minimalism

We need spiritual minimalism. Just as we seek to declutter our homes and rooms every so often in order to have more physical space and lightness, we should also remove the things that prevent us from fully embracing our new lives in Christ. 

If you are unsure of where to start, below is a practical list that you can use to help you work through your own thoughts and situations.

I will remove these things that prevent me from fully embracing my life in Christ.

  • clutter
  • over indulgence 
  • Idleness
  • laziness
  • procrastination
  • toxic relationships
  • toxic, unfruitful habits
  • jealousy

It will create space for:

  • an orderly environment
  • priority setting
  • bearing good fruit that pleases God
  • peaceful sleep
  • cultivating loving relationships
  • becoming still enough to know yourself better in light of the Word
  • spending more time with God
  • slowly healing and maturing
  • The capacity to think of others more than yourself
  • The beauty of living a life that truly stands upon scripture.

Working through your own list can be a refreshing insight into the things that you hold onto, and the better quality of life that awaits.

Quality over quantity

Remember that less, often times is more, even if you can't see the benefit of this fruit immediately. 

I am always encouraged by the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. In a particular moment, Mary choose one single thing, and that was to sit at the feet of Jesus. To Martha it seemed as though she was neglecting a lot of other duties. She wasn't busy. She didn't appear to be productive, or adhering to the cultural norm.

Yet the single act that Mary chose was of far superior quality to that of Martha's many. Mary's seemingly less action in reality yielded so much more fruit and substance in the right season. If you desire the less life, don't be afraid of obscurity, and the feeling of missing out. Be encouraged that in reality it is the full life that actually sustains and prepares us inwardly for what is to come.


Alethea Awuku
Alethea Awuku


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