Minimalism can be a powerful tool for helping you chase your dreams. Once you start living a low-cost lifestyle, you’ll find yourself with more time, money, and freedom than you could have ever imagined. By passing up on the American dream, you’ll suddenly have the ability to quit your 9-to-5 job, start your own business, travel the world, and live life on your own terms.
Which, actually, is why I’m worried.
Living life on your own terms, while it can be more fun, isn’t much of an improvement over the American dream. In the long run, it’s still a chasing after the wind.
Many minimalists teach us to chase our dreams today because our time on earth is limited. Anything that stops us from achieving our goals is just wasting our precious time. So we’ve learned not to let our house, car, television, or career stand in the way of what’s important to us.
It all makes sense, except for one aspect. Have you ever stopped to wonder why we’re all in such a rush to accomplish our dreams?
It’s because we’ll all eventually die.
No one wants to admit that death is looming in the background of all our major life decisions. We prefer euphemisms instead:
time is limited,
seize the day,
live a radical life. But we’d be more honest if we just bluntly admitted the truth: one day, death is going to take away all our life’s joys. And there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. So we’re all in a hurry to make the best with what little time we have.
The problem with chasing your dreams is that, even if you accomplish them, it won’t make a difference. You can live a life full of exciting adventures, but when you die, none of it will matter. Life experiences are just as futile as the American Dream. It’s just a less materialistic version of the same pointlessness.
I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. (Ecc 1:14)
For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. (Ecc 3:19-20)
It turns out that there is an eternity ahead of us, awaiting us after our current life. Pursue life today as if eternity matters, because one day God will judge us for what we’ve done in this life, whether that’s living the American dream or escaping the rat race. Our ultimate fate in life–death–is a result of the sinful, evil nature of man. Eventually, the Bible teaches that we’ll face the wrath of God for whatever life we choose, conventional or extraordinary, if we lived it apart from the Christ.
Greenimalist living can become a trap if we squander all our new-found freedom and wealth for endless world travel and life adventures. But Greenimalist living can also be used for the glory of God, if we use it to love God and our neighbor. The key difference is to not live for today, but rather for the eternity to come.
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecc 12:13-14)