Breaking the Bondage through Minimalism

A minimalistic lifestyle means living without unnecessary clutter. Minimalism at home is all about letting go of the stuff you don’t need anymore. Living a minimalist life involves cutting off things that keep you from living peacefully. We have a lot of these “unnecessary things”. But today, I am going to share one of the biggest roadblocks to minimalist living –BONDAGE.

“What kind of bondage, Toni?”, you might ask.

I’ll name a few: addiction, adultery, materialism, overspending, obsession with luxury items, anger, pride, and the like. Any negative habit that you can’t let go is what we call bondage, or spiritual strongholds.

Bondage: A Form of Coping Mechanism?

Why do these bondages exist in the first place?

Everyone has unmet needs. These usually begin in childhood when problems occur during our developmental stages, causing a lack in our hearts. Family dysfunction, emotional trauma, and traumatic memories are some unfortunate events that lead to unmet needs.

Unmet physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs push us to adopt different roles. These roles can develop into different types of compulsive and addictive behaviors — our form of coping mechanism.

Because we are so desperate to fill the lack in our lives, we will turn to ANYTHING just to be filled.

Some people are addicted to relationships. They think that being in a relationship is the answer to the prayers. They end up dating one person after the other as they search for the perfect partner. They find happiness with one person, then they realize that the ‘perfect’ person still lacked something so they break up and date again.

Others are obsessed with making money. Money, after all, makes the world go round. They work round the clock and push themselves to their limits. It reaches a point where they’re so busy making money, they forget about their families.

Bondage Hampers Your Life

The thing with spiritual strongholds is it prevent you from seeing what really matters to you the most. You are so blinded with the temporary fillers in your life that you fail to see the consequences: broken relationships, failing health, debt, and other problems. Since these bondages make you happy (temporarily), you brush off the problems and think you’re okay.

But you’re not.

I’ve been in the same situation before. I was in an adulterous relationship because I thought my husband could not fill my love tank. I sought the affection of another man, believing that he would be the answer to my prayers. I spent too much on things I didn’t need. I splurged on luxury bags, clothes, and shoes. As a result, I mismanaged my finances. I didn’t think about the consequences at all. I thought I was happy.

But I wasn’t.

In fact, I felt guilty and empty most of the time. I was miserable but pretended to be okay.

Later on, I realized that this was the effect of my sin.

I can personally say that being in bondage to a negative habit isn’t worth it. It will cost you a lot. I almost lost my family because of my bondage, had I not made the wisest decision EVER, which is to follow Jesus’ recipe for freedom.

Set Yourself Free

It starts with confession and repentance. You need to let the Lord know that you’ve realized the errors of your ways and that you want to start fresh. Don’t think that He will pour His wrath upon you. On the contrary, He will extend mercy to you.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Once you’ve admitted your weakness, then you can ask for help to change.

Breaking Spiritual Strongholds

The first step is to believe in God and know that His Word is true. When you believe in your heart that God cannot lie and He will help you out of this ordeal, you can break free easier. Consider what Numbers 23:19 has to say about God’s character:

“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He spoken, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

The Lord surpasses man’s integrity. So, if you have accepted Him as your personal Lord and Savior, you can live happily and free from whatever negative strongholds you’ve held on to. Jesus lives in you through the Holy Spirit, who gives you the power to do things you can’t do on your own.

Because Jesus has set us free, we are no longer in bondage to sin. Jesus has overcome death’s sting on us so we too can overcome. Let us not allow the devil to poison our thoughts. He wants to lure us back to our old ways. But we can live a victorious spirit-filled life.

Second, consult God’s word: read the Bible. While all of His Word is good, there will always be that one verse that challenges us to examine what we allow in our life.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

When evaluating our habits and the way we think, the first question we should always ask is: How does this help me glorify God? I make sure I ask this question to myself before I say yes to any engagement or other activity. If it doesn’t glorify Him or will only lead me to temptation, I ask Him for wisdom and guidance.

Third, abide in Him. Abide means to “live in.” It’s not enough that we just know God’s word. We have to live out what we learn every day.

Fourth, find people who can support you. Accountability partners and support groups are helpful in reminding you of why you broke the bondage in the first place. Look for mentors who can guide you in your journey towards recovery. Also, look for a support group who understands your struggle. It’s best to be accountable with a group who underwent your struggle because they know where you are.

By plugging to a support group or staying accountable with friends, you keep guard yourself. You can also ask them for prayers whenever you feel weak or tempted.

It’s pretty difficult at first, I can tell you that. I didn’t change overnight. There were times when I was still tempted to return to my old ways. A part of me believed that had I clung to my old ways, I might be happier. But the better part of me knew I was better off with the Lord. Recovering from my bondage was a daily struggle. I needed to hold on to the Lord and remain accountable to my husband, kids, and spiritual mentors.

Today, here I am.

I’m still not perfect. I still have struggles but my life is more straightforward now. Whenever I feel the temptation to return to my old ways, I focus on the blessings I have now: a closer family and the opportunity to mentor others towards the minimalist beauty queen lifestyle! It has been an amazing journey.

Freedom starts when you believe that Jesus has set you free. You need to set your eyes on Him and on eternal things. Enjoy a clutter-free life by letting go of your bondage with the Lord’s help.

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