There’s no denying that over the last year or two, Kmart has become something of a cultural phenomenon. Once the home of daggy clothes and cheap Father’s day gifts (hello fishing section!), Kmart has become, well, cool.
Just what we need
In an incredibly short amount of time, Kmart has perfected the magic formula of being able to predict trends and then produce them en masse at unbelievably low prices.
The company’s success is built on our apparently undeniable need for scandi style shelves, geometric rose gold fixtures, marble placemats and gold pineapples. They always seem to know what we just have to have.
Maybe you’ve seen the meme that says, “I never know what’s going to happen when I go into Kmart. Will I be there for 5 minutes? 5 hours? Will I spend $5? $500? Who knows!” Or, (sneaky Lord of the Rings reference), “One does not simply purchase only one item at Kmart.” These may be tongue in cheek, but they’re always based on a kernel of truth!
I feel like I should include a disclaimer here and say that I absolutely love Kmart. I live in a country that has very few, incredibly expensive homewares stores, and walking into a Kmart store during a trip home seems a little like heaven!
Despite that, I am still very aware of just how much of what I want, I don’t really need. Taking a hard look at our own excess consumption is never fun.
Can I still eat cookies?
Over the last few years we’ve seen the rise of lifestyle trends like the Paleo diet, tiny houses, Hygge, I Quit Sugar and Minimalism. I’m not one to jump on a fad (especially if it stops me eating cookies), but there is one that I am increasingly attracted to.
It’s called simple living.
For many of us, the realities of modern technology mean that we are literally reachable 24/7. Bombarded with media and advertising, we are constantly made to question our image, our achievements, our lifestyle and our needs. We are continually in decision making mode.
When you add this to the frightening ease with which we consume, throw away, replace, repeat, you can see why the simple living lifestyle is so appealing.
A lifestyle of less
Simple living is a way of life that embraces ‘less’. Less things, technology and consumerism, and more thoughtfulness in the way we purchase, consume and interact. It’s about intentionally making space in your life for the things that really matter.
Simple living helps the environment, decreases stress, improves relationships and positively impacts health and ability to sleep. These are all good things.
But more than this, I feel like it’s a way of life that Jesus would be into.
People not things
Jesus is all about people. He wasn’t a fancy guy who had all the right stuff. In fact, we know that he often didn’t have anywhere to sleep at night. He invested his time and energy into sharing with his disciples, going to lunch with a tax collector, teaching and telling stories, talking to a woman caught in adultery, going to a wedding. We see all throughout the new testament that people, not things, are his priority.
Jesus also knew the beauty of rest and solitude. Withdrawing to pray was one of his favourite pastimes. Whether on a mountainside or in a garden, Jesus knew that he needed time to stop and be alone with his Father.
It’s so easy to get caught up in ‘doing’. We attend events, watch tv, pass time on our phone, shop and do ministry. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these, until they stop us from connecting with God.
We need a life where we have space to reach out to the One we need most.
Less comparison, more contentment
In Philippians chapter 4 verse 12, Paul shares (from prison no less) that he has learned to find contentment in every situation. We read that his source of contentment wasn’t possessions or freedom (he had neither), but God.
How can we find contentment in Jesus when our heart is chasing after things?
Kmart or Jesus?
There’s no need to choose between Kmart and Jesus. No one should have to make that choice!
But when we are willing to live simply to further God’s kingdom or to draw closer to him, the tradeoff is always worth it.
Anna hails from Australia but lives and works in south east Asia. She enjoys travel, good coffee and getting to hang out with awesome people from around the world.