During my recent personal retreat, I finished reading the book Living More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre. (It reminds me a bit of my recent post on the benefits of scarcity.) And though it’s been a few weeks since finishing the text, its truths remain with me. If you desire to grow into more abundant living, this book is not to be missed.
* Author: As a Mennonite, Doris’s faith impacts her shared perspective. This book includes not only her insights, but those from Mennonites around the world.
* Theme: Promoting greater simplicity, this book provides practical helps for such, as well as the sensible reasoning for its commendation. We have the freedom to choose to live on less, for the sake of gaining that which is of more value – and I found myself feeling such as I progressed through the pages. The book calls us to thoughtful living, focuses upon relationships with God and others, and challenges the reader to consider how to live appropriately in light of others needs and God’s creation. She emphasizes the value of pursuing a “life standard” rather than a “lifestyle.” “Lifestyle” – a word that was not even in the dictionary as of the early 1970s – is focused around chasing fashion. “Life standard”, however, are words that point us to maximized and holy living based around “timeless values and commitments” (per pg. 16).
* Takeaways: Upon reading the text, I found myself considering how I could live without more, so that I could live more. For example, (1) would it be possible to intern on a farm in exchange for room and board? This would both save money, decrease income needs, and allow me to gain experience in sustainable living. (2) What possessions (for example, clothes) in my care are not sustainable? I’ve been increasingly cognizant of trying to purchase clothes that low-maintenance, multi-seasonal, multi-functional pieces that are all-natural fabrics, and easy to wash and dry. This might include jeans, simple black non-iron pants, or simple cotton tops. (3) What other possessions am I not using from which others might benefit? Is there anything else I could “recycle” by donating to charity or selling at a consignment store, that I don’t need anymore?
Are you also seeking to live more with less? I’d love to hear how you are finding ways to do it!