The minimalist life is “living with things you really need. It means removing anything that distracts us from living with intentionality and freedom” ( It is a lifestyle that seems to me to be easily spoken and written, but difficult to execute. The minimalist lifestyle calls for a measure of fasting and heart change to move from a life focused on possessions to a life focused on the more important aspects of life.

A similar way of living life is called Essentialism which is defined: “a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless” (Essentialism. Page 7). The basic tenets of essentialism include discernment, decision-making, daring, and subtracting. In essentialism, a person looks to where they can make the best investment of time, energy, gifts, and talents to live their best life.

When put together, the minimalist lifestyle and the essentialist lifestyle invite us to a life where “no” is an acceptable answer to become more disciplined and “less is more” becomes a mantra for life where material possessions become less important. As we approach Ash Wednesday, I believe minimalist and essentialism principles can guide our understanding of the Lenten Adventure.

In Matthew 6:16-21 we read:

“And whenever you fast, do not look somber, like the hypocrites, for they mark their faces to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The discipline of fasting serves as a practice of limiting oneself or ridding oneself of certain behaviors, actions, or consumption for a season and putting an intentional focus on prayer, Bible Study, and other spiritual practices. This minimization of distractions invites us to put our treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves cannot break in and steal. The discipline of fasting recalibrates our normal life-practices to become better focused on Jesus. We also become better focused on our identity in Christ and our relationship with one another.

As we approach the Lenten Adventure, I am focusing on a life of fasting experienced through practices of minimalism and essentialism. I will focus each day (Monday through Saturday) on one of the areas of my life: physical, mental, emotional, relational, spiritual, and financial. I will be spending time in reducing the distractions in my life in each of these areas (i.e. culling through my closet to remove excessive amounts of clothes; not eating certain meals in the week and spending time in Bible Study and prayer during those normal meal times; turning off electronics to spend more time with family and friends; auditing my subscriptions and the way I spend money; etc.). Each day in the week will have a focus. I realize there will be overlap between the practices, but I want the intentionality to focus on each area in hopes of growing in my relationship with God, with others, and with myself.

How will you be practicing the Lenten Adventure in 2024? Will you be giving something up? Will you be taking up more time for spiritual disciplines? How is God calling you to a life of less stuff? I would love to hear about your Lenten Adventure. Please share any insights.

I would enjoy praying with you. You can send your insights to: or (618-830-6670).


Prayer: Lord, I have accumulated a lot of unnecessary things in my life. They become a distraction. Forgive me for emphasizing my treasures on earth. I confess I have allowed those treasures on earth to become more important than you at times. Forgive me and set me free from the distractions. I want to live my life for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.