By Angelina Burkholder | Echo
Fads come and go. Trends catch and then fade. But for junior art education major Mariel Heins, minimalism isn't just a fad or a trend. It's a lifestyle.
"It's really biblical to not have so much excess, but that doesn't necessarily mean excess in our things but also in the way that we approach life, our stress, our thoughts and our heart," Heins said.
Heins started her journey toward minimalism after a vacation on the Mississippi River with her family. Every summer the Heins family travels to Wisconsin, where they live in a small fishing cabin complete with no cell service, minimal Wi-Fi and bare essentials for an entire week. During the stay last summer, Heins read "Living with Less," her introduction to minimalism.
"I began feeling really convicted knowing that I love to have stuff, I love to dwell on things and I love to get so lost in my thoughts that I take myself to this place where I spiral," Heins said. "For me, minimalism is this way of being able to refocus myself on what the Lord really wants me to see."
Heins returned home, inspired by the content of "Living with Less," and began her change to minimalism. It started with her closet. After purging her collection of apparel, Heins donated nine bags of shoes and clothes.
But the change went far beyond her closet. Heins began to look for unconventional ways to be more self-sustainable while reducing waste and recycling materials. Heins sells her own jewelry and pottery on Etsy and recycles many materials to use in her sewing, knitting and crocheting. Recently, she created a new skirt out of an old table runner and finished crocheting a throw blanket. She uses her creations to inspire others around her. As an art education student, she then has the opportunity to practice her teaching skills on those willing to learn new trades.
"It's come into my teaching practice," Heins said. "I will teach them how to sew with my materials. It's being able to teach through a means, being able to share that art form."
Heins is able to share her passions with others, using her minimalist mindset to invest in them rather than just herself.
"I found this great love," Heins said. "Instead of going out to TJ Maxx and buying a couple new shirts, I would love to take someone out for a meal, listen to them, just talk to them. That's more valuable."
Along with closet cleaning and relationship construction, her journey of minimalism became an attempt to silence the materialistic voices around her, zeroing in on the presence of God.
"It let me open my eyes to some truths that God had revealed in my heart," Heins said. "I wouldn't have been able to see the great need that I have for his word when I have all these other things that I want to think about."
Now instead of taking shopping trips, Heins spends her time seeking God, building relationships and creating inspiration.
"Look where you invest your time," Heins said. "If it's in yourself, evaluate if that's really worth it."
To see more about Heins' journey of minimalism and faith, subscribe to her blog at www.livingminimalogy.blogspot.com.