Minimalism Mindset

February 10, 2021

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For the first time, Sterling tackles minimalism from a mindset perspective. How should you be feeling when you’re going through that box of toys? What can you be thinking when you are trying to decide whether or not you need four pie pans?

How can we speak to our husbands about the stuff they don’t want to get rid of? 

Check out this episode to learn it all and to find out how we’ll be tackling minimalism together in Masters.


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Hi, and welcome to episode 15 of the Made For Greatness podcast. I’m Sterling Jay, and today we are talking about minimalism and you know, I love talking about minimalism. So I have written a book about minimalism in within 2017. You can check it out on Amazon. It is called Not of This World. And I wanted to write a book that’s about minimalism from a mindset perspective, because I wrote that book before becoming a mindset coach. And the way I talk about it now with my life coaching clients is different. Because we pause and we slow things down and we talk about how our mind is having thoughts about the things that we own or what we should or shouldn’t be doing. There’s a lot of pressure to kind of get minimalism right, and do this the right way. So I wanted to share some of those insights with you guys today.

So before I do that, I just want to share that the Latin word for stuff. I discovered this while writing my book, I love it. The Latin word for stuff is impediment them. And that is the word that we get impediment from. So essentially the meaning of stuff is that it isn’t an impediment. It holds us back. It gets in the way now what doesn’t say of what, but I personally think the, of what is living the life that God wants us to live. Our stuff gets in the way. And I don’t think all stuff is bad. I think that’s also one thing that’s different about my book is that I believe that God gives us things as tools to serve him and to serve the people around us and our community and to evangelize for him. I think most of us can agree that we have a lot more stuff than that. The other definition or the definition of minimalism that I like the best comes from Joshua Becker. I like his books. And he says that minimalism is promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is the intentional promotion we want promote the things that we love and value.

And we want to remove the things that distract us and intentionality is really the word that sums up my philosophy of minimalism. I just want you to be really intentional about what you own. I want you to be really intentional about where you spend your time.

I want you to be really intentional about what you allow to come into your mind.

I want you to be really intentional about your screens? How much technology you use, the kind of people that you spend time with, right? We want to intentionally promote the things we value and remove the things that distract us from it. And ultimately

The thing we value the most is Christ and Catholicism. And so we can use that as a lens through which we can look at all of the things and say, is this bringing you closer to Christ and to live out my Catholic faith

And the answer to that is going to be different for all of us. And that’s okay. We don’t have to add stress on top of it,

Of trying to get this right, because most of us have too much stuff. That’s okay. We don’t need to be worried about that. Of course you have too much stuff. You live in a world that tells you that stuff makes you happy and you need stuff in order to be comfortable. And that being comfortable is very important. We live in a world right now that has made an idol out of comfort and an idol out of efficiency. We want to get the most done as quickly as possible so we can get more things done and we want to be as comfortable as

Possible. And I’m suggesting that we be a little less efficient and a lot more uncomfortable and live the way that God wants us to be living. That doesn’t have to feel scary.

We do uncomfortable things by choice all the time. Having children is an extremely uncomfortable thing, but it brings us a great deal of joy.

And it is what God has asked us to do. And so we are willing to step into that discomfort. Now, I’m not saying we should all just embrace the Benedict option and go live in the woods. That sounds nice sometimes, but it would be very uncomfortable.

God is not calling all of us to live a life of poverty.

He does call all of us to live a life of detachment, which means we are not owned by the things that we own. Our lives are not driven by the disorder, desire to acquire things,

Things. And so, yeah, as you listened to some of the questions that I asked today and how you can shine a flashlight in

Your mind to look for the thoughts that you have about your day, Okay. And why she to do it with grace and love and kindness to yourself. We live in a world that has programmed us to acquire a tremendous amount of things. It is not your fault, but we

Always have the opportunity to learn something new and to change our behavior. So we do not need to spend any time being upset about how we got here, but we are here today. You are going to walk around your home today and you are going to look at it with fresh eyes and say, okay, this is how I got here. Now, what am I going to do about it? How do I want to live going forward?

There’s this quote from Saint Teresa of Avila, because it is so important to me. I look at it often and she says this wonderful, beautiful doctor of the church. Our body has this defect, that the more it is provided care and comforts, the more needs and desires.

It fine, right?

The more comfort we have, the more comfort we desire, the scarier, it becomes to us to be uncomfortable. But there is a reason why when they take people and they put them in the middle of the forest and they have to survive on their own, or my family has been enjoying undercover billionaire, where they take someone who has been very successful in business and they give them a hundred dollars and they dropped them in a city and say, Ben, for yourself, there is a reason why that is so impactful. It changes them. You can see it. And it is because they have chosen to put themselves in the discomfort of losing all of the things that they have built up around them that has made them come.

But they, I always end up being so strong and grateful three experience. So mostly let us not be scared of being uncomfortable because discomfort often causes us to grow. And we are here mamas on this planet, in this life

To grow, we are here to become saints, to become the best version of ourselves to grow so that we may go to heaven. Now,

Am I saying that your stuff is keeping you from heaven? Of course not, but you need to have a conversation with the Lord and say, Lord, What kind of sandpaper do I need? I need to smooth out my rough edges does it. I am ready to come be in the kingdom with you. And maybe part of the answer is having less stuff and being less attached to the things that you own and setting down the idol of comfort and the idol of efficiency.

So let’s talk about some thoughts we have when you listen to someone, like me talk about minimalism, and then you walk into your kid’s room or the playroom. And there is just stuff everywhere. Okay. There’s stuff everywhere. And you have this sinking feeling in your stomach.

Okay. And you’re probably gonna think something like I have too much stuff. It could just be like, Oh, there aren’t even words. It’s just like, Oh, But the feeling is very likely to be overwhelmed for some of you. It might be shamed, but let’s stick with overwhelm for right now. You’re staring at all this stuff. You feel this wave of overwhelm come over you.

And from that place, here’s what we do. When we feel overwhelmed, we tend to freeze and do nothing.

That’s usually our response to being overwhelmed. We tend to distract ourselves like, Oh, well actually I need to go make dinner. And then we don’t deal with the thing that made us feel overwhelmed. We can distract ourselves with good things. We can distract ourselves with things that don’t serve us, like eating cookies and watching Netflix and scrolling on our phones.

Sometimes we react to overwhelm by then going to Facebook marketplace and being like, well, I need some baskets and some containers. So I’m going to spend a great deal of time looking for those, or I’m going to go to target or the container store. And I’m just going to start buying a whole bunch of things. And then I’m going to bring them home and stare at them because I really didn’t have a plan.

I’m not saying I’ve ever done that before or not. And so from a place of overwhelm, we may freeze and do no action. Or we may have a ton of actions. But when they come from the place of being overwhelmed, they will not solve your problem. And in the end,

Your results always a reflection of your thought is that you do indeed have too much stuff. You will not solve your problem because you stayed in a state of overwhelm. It’s just totally fine. That is exactly what most of us have been doing for a long time on is, okay, you are human. Your human brain does not want you to experience discomfort. And when it looks at the pile of stuff, it knows that that is going to cause you pain to go through it and make decisions. And it doesn’t want you to be in pain. So it says, I know I’ll just freak her out. We’ll either have a freeze experience or a flight experience, or I’ll distract her with a bunch of things. So she doesn’t have to come back to this room to make any choices. It doesn’t want you to be in pain. And so it’s going to do its best job to keep you out of pain. And you know what, thank the Lord for those brains that have gotten us to this place. But now we can tell our brains, Oh, sweetie, I see that you are worried about how uncomfortable this process is going to be, but we can handle it. We’re not going to die. It is going to be uncomfortable, but I can get through it.

I have done a lot of hard things. This is not even that hard. It’s just some toys or books or teenagery things, or it’s my closet of 20 years of clothes that don’t fit me anymore and are outdated.

That Iis going to be uncomfortable and I am willing to do it because I want the peace and freedom on the other end, that comes from having an organized life that is not weighed down by things I do not need. I want to choose the Lord and I want to live in the world, but not be of it. I want to not be detained, attached

To these things.

And until you can talk yourself down to a feeling, you want to feel it in your body, this, this feeling of either determination or focus or calm or even excitement and inspiration, but I’ll just take focus and willingness. It doesn’t have to be one of the sparkly feelings, but you do not want to start your, your journey. You do not want to start sorting through that stuff from a place of stress of overwhelm of shame. If you’re feeling yucky,

Do some thought work,

Go write down. All of your thoughts, try to figure out what’s making you feel yucky feeling and talk yourself down until you can remember why you are doing this, how it is going to serve you and your family and the Lord. And then from neutral feeling or, or a positive one and energizing one, then you may go back and do it, but you’re gonna have a very different experience.

Yes, you go in with this idea that someone is making you do this. Oh God, I hate that. I hate it. When I feel like someone has told me what to do, I immediately have a rebellious reaction. I’m like, Nope, I’m going to do it the way I want to do it. Which is very silly. No one is making you be a minimalist or be intentional about the stuff that you have. You can just keep everything that you have and ignore this whole episode. It’s totally fine. We don’t want to come from a place of someone making us do something you want to come from the place of genuinely wanting to do this for whatever your reasons are. Is it freedom? Is it growing closer to God? Is it so you have to clean less, whatever it is. Just love your reasons. And then think of those to get into the right energy and the right head space before you go tackle the room.

Okay. so that is the first thing I would do with someone who is feeling kind of overwhelmed or yucky or shameful or whatever it is about looking at all of their stuff. So the next thought I wanted to tackle was when you’re touching things and you feel this fear wash over you, this fear of what if I need this later. And for some of you who really don’t have a lot of money and, or you’ve experienced poverty before it brings up this very, very scary feeling of not having something you need.

I don’t want to go back there. I don’t want to feel that again. I don’t want to be stuck wanting something or needing something that isn’t there and I don’t have money to buy it. That is a very scary feeling that comes up. And that comes up for some of you that have not gone through poverty. All right. We call this a scarcity mindset. When we just have this idea that there isn’t enough, there isn’t enough money. There isn’t enough time. What if I end up in a, in a place in the future where there isn’t enough?

So I just want you to notice any time that you are feeling like there isn’t enough. It is a scarcity mindset. Jesus always gives us enough. It has always enough.

Does he not care for the birds? Does he not care for the flowers? They do not spend their days worrying about whether or not they will have clothes in the future or food to eat. He gives us our daily bread. We have enough. And in fact, the fact that you’re listening to this podcast on electronic device means you are considered wealthy to most of the world. And he has kept you safe this entire time. You are safe right now. He has given you enough to get to this moment. Why do you think he will not give you enough in the future?


And listen, I’m not trying to solve that in five minutes on a podcast episode, there’s some stuff there. Don’t rush yourself. Don’t chide yourself about your deep scarcity ideas. Just love yourself through it. Just notice it. Oh, sweetie. I see that you are so scared right now that we are not going to have enough in the future, but listen, God has gotten us this far. He has always made sure that we are okay. And I don’t know what the future is going to look like, but he is going to make sure we’re okay then too.


So again, if you, if you find yourself trying to tackle, going through your things and getting rid of things and you, you keep encountering fear. I want you to stop because from a place of fear, you might have the reaction of like, you might just go the opposite, freak out and get rid of a bunch of stuff and then actually get rid of things that you would, did need, and shouldn’t have gotten rid of. Right? So we do not want to be going through our things from a place of fear and scarcity. You want to stop, go for a walk, drink some tea, write your thoughts down, Google things about minimalism until you just get to the place where you’re like, you know what? I am fine. I am safe. I have enough. God always takes care of me. And then you can go back and decide which books in your library you want to keep

God is always taking care of us. He always has. And he always will. And that does not mean that won’t experience discomfort. It is uncomfortable to get down further in our lives and want something that we can’t have. Wait, wanting something that we can’t have is not a fatalistic situation. It is uncomfortable and we are strong and we can do that. The next thought that comes up, our situation is around spouses, right? My husband won’t let that go. This is the number one question I get. When I speak about minimalism at conferences, the women flock to the table and they say, but my husband won’t get rid of his comic book collection. His Lego’s his, for me, my husband like has all these science books from college from the early nineties. And I realized some things about chemistry don’t change, but like, do we need those giant books?

Okay. The spousal situation.

And here’s what I told people before becoming a mindset coach. And actually it hasn’t changed. I just think about it a little bit differently now, but I would always say, you cannot change them. You cannot change them. You cannot make another person do what you want them to do

In masters. We have this whole section on relationships and we talk about, I think there’s a few videos on the manual, which is like this list of rules that we have for our husband, that we want them to comply with. Or like, listen, good husbands are willing to get rid of their comic book collection for their wives, for the sanity of the house for space. That’s what we call a manual. And the punchline of all of that is that you can’t, you can’t make someone do something. You can’t have a manual. For some someone that says I will not be happy unless you behave in this very specific way, you have to learn how to be happy on your own. We cannot make other people do things and then say, well, I can’t be happy unless you do X, Y, and Z. Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t stand up for ourselves.

It doesn’t mean that we can’t say, honey, this is really important to me. But if they turn around and go, Nope, I’m keeping them. We can still choose to be happy and satisfied with our lives. Even if our husbands are going to fill up the, with an insane amount of stuff, we can just love that guy because you know what? When people keep things in a disordered way and by disordered, I mean, they have a disordered attachment to them. It is for a reason, right? Whether it’s you or your husband and you just can’t let something go. There is a reason. There, there is a story.

There is a fear deep down. And who knows what that is. And you may slow things down with your husband and say, honey, what is this really about? Why are we keeping the comic books? I know, I know you say you like them, but why? Like what, what feels scary about getting rid of them? And if you haven’t yelled at him before that, you can’t yell at him and then go into soft, look for the deep down reason mode. You can’t do that ladies. Right? Like it has to be totally a different time where you hold his hand and you say, I love you. You can totally keep the comic books. I don’t even care about that right now, but just tell me what’s going on. What does that mean to you? Why does it feel scary when you think about letting them go, maybe you’ll learn something about him. And when you hear that little boy inside of him, come out, because he will, you will just want to hug him, be like, I love you so much. You won’t even be thinking about the comic books And you may take that opportunity then, or at a different time to explain what it means to you. Because it’s not about the comic books for you either. You’re having some sort of overwhelming feeling of fear. Like I’m drowning. I can’t even take care of all of the stuff that we have. I have too many kids. There’s so much stuff. I’ve never got a break. I’m so upset. And the comic books just look like an extra thing, but it’s not really about those for you either. There’s something underneath

And you may need to share that with him. You know, and honey, I feel overwhelmed about the amount of stuff that we have in our house. And I think it keeps me from being the wife and the mother that God wants me to be. I don’t know what needs to go, but I feel very strongly that we need less things because I’m losing myself. And that scares me so much.


So you cannot make your spouse get rid of something. You can choose to connect with them on a deep emotional level. If you stay calm, if you get defensive, if anger or judgment or snarkiness or pushiness creeps into your voice, his hackles will go up and it is time to walk away. Right? Once either spouse has been triggered, my husband and I like to call it being a pufferfish. If your pufferfish is puffed up, you got to walk away. Cause it just takes time for the puffer fish to come back down.

Okay. Then you can try it again. What is this really about? Because you know what you want to affirm the marriage and affirm what you both want. I love you. I want this marriage to work. I want our home to be peaceful. You guys got married because you had the same vision for your life. You do want the same things

On the big levels. You do. Most humans want the same things, but you picked this guy because you wanted the same thing. We cannot make people get rid of things. But what you can do is manage your mind around. Not letting that upset you, nothing has gone wrong. We let the husband keep all of his stuff. Even the broken things, something is broken in his heart. And that is why he’s keeping broken things. Let us just be curious about that and love that guy. Cause it’s probably a sad story control what you can control and decide that you can be happy living in a house that doesn’t look like a minimalism house. If I came over to your house and you gave me a hug, this happens by the way. I like forget sometimes that I wrote that book and that people read it. And if they think I care a tremendous amount about minimalism, but the truth is I only care that about, you know, my own intentional living.

And I’ve shared this story. I want other people to live intentionally, but I don’t know what that means for you. So I just zero times walk into someone’s house and think about the amount of stuff that they have. But they think that I do. So I’ll come into someone’s house and they’ll be like, Oh, immediately. They’ll be like, well, I mean, I know we have a lot of stuff and I’ve been working on it. And the grandma’s given me lots of toys and my husband, you know, he just wants these things. Like they, they tell me about it. I just adorable. I love it. It’s it’s fun. I do not care how much stuff you guys have in your house. If I come visit you, I promise. Right. But also if we sat down and we had tea and you said to me, I really wish we had less things, but my husband won’t let it go. I would just be like, yeah, it is really challenging to be married. And we all want our husbands to do things that they are not doing. And for some disordered, the world sees them on the outside. That is true when we have too much stuff. And it’s true when we eat too much food, but there are plenty, endless, even disordered attachments that we all have. And they just manifest in a way that other people can’t see them. If somebody is really struggling by reading too many romance novels, we don’t see that she is struggling alone in an invisible prison.


Husbands who struggle with drinking too much. A lot of times his friends don’t see that. And so I do not place any more thought or judgment around the disordered attachments that we can physically see. It is the same. I’m going to love that guy who can’t get rid of his stuff. I’m going to love my friends who eat too much food for their bodies. I’m going to love myself through both of those situations. There are for sure things that I can get rid of that I don’t. I have a disordered attachment to them. And there are for sure times when I eat more food than my body needs, just to soothe my feelings. I love myself, even in those moments. And I love all of the people who are trapped in those situations too. And so while I began this episode by saying, listen, minimalism is about being intentional and intentionally promoting the things that we value. Remember that the things we value the most are people and souls,

Right? I’m going to choose my husband’s hearts and our connection over the stuff that he has in the garage. Now when my husband and I in the past have been able to slow it down and express what was really the issue for us. We have made progress. He has gotten rid of things and I’ve gotten rid of things, but we had to slow it down to really get to the heart of what was worrying each of us about why we wanted the other person to get rid of their stuff and why we didn’t want to get rid of her.

So here’s what I’ll tell you about you guys. It is a lifestyle. It is not a 40 day challenge. Okay. It is something I do all the time. I am constantly asking myself, is this serving me? There are a whole list of questions I have in my book about it. I believe the questions are posted in the minimalism Facebook group too for free. I have not been in there in a while, so I’m not sure where, but probably somewhere you guys. And I ask these questions about each, each item in my home, but I do that for every event.

Is this event going to bring me closer to the Lord. Is it around something I value? Where is it distracting me from the work that he wants me to do, or even the play that he wants me to do. It is a lifestyle, but I’m telling you, if you are willing to walk through the discomfort of learning, how to do this, freedom is on the other side, freedom and peace,

Nice. The house burned down and I lost all of my stuff. I wouldn’t

Be just fine. I would move on. That is a real freedom.

I am not the things in my home and I do not value them more than my children or my husband, or even all of you in this work that I do. I do not choose to touch all of my things or go shopping or clean all of my stuff or be so overwhelmed by my things that I do not have time to run this company because God has asked me to do this. And I will not say no to him and let my stuff be the impediment of the work that he is calling

Me to do. All right, ladies, this is my mindset podcast on minimalism. I have reshot my entire minimalism course, and it is coming out in masters for lens lent is a really beautiful time to embrace minimalism because we tend to create space in our lives to grow closer to the Lord. And I think one of the best ways that we can do that is by going through our homes and minimalizing them. And that doesn’t mean get rid of all of your stuff. It just means touching as many things as possible and saying with intentionality, do I want to keep this? Is it serving me?

And so if you join us in masters, you can join that program. It will be ready for lent 2020. It’ll be in there forever after that. So, you know, you can minimalize anytime that you want. My book lays out several different ways that you can do it, but I have like an eight week version and a 30 or 40 day version, but there’s lots of ways that you can do it, but if you’ve never done it I think lent is a really beautiful time to hold on to that motivation. Like we do such a good job of focusing on one thing for lent. And I think minimalism can be a really lovely thing until if you want to join us and do that challenge with me, then join us in masters. This challenge will begin. It’s not a challenge. It’s I’m going to lay out all of the minimalism stuff and we’re just going to go through it together, but everyone can decide in what way that they want to do it, but I will be working with people on managing their minds around the minimalism stuff, which I’m really excited about because I’ve never done that before.

You know, I became a life coach recently. And so I have not gotten to dive into the entire room by room by room way of approaching minimalism with mindset work. So I would love for you to come join me in that. It’s going to be a lot of fun. And I think we’re going to make a lot of progress in our homes. And I think we’re going to come out ready for Easter, feeling free, having peace. And it’s going to be a really beautiful thing. And for those of you that aren’t part of masters. Again, you can go check out my book, not of this world, it’s on Amazon and you can take yourself through it. And really just thousands of people have done that and love that book. So that is a great tool, but I would love to do some coaching with you and masters. Come check it out to not be overwhelmed by this concept. Let it be fun. Be curious about where God is going to take you and do not be afraid because mama, you were made for greatness.



Lorissa Horn & Sterling Jaquith

Sterling and Lorissa are very different moms. Lorissa lives in town, her family loves playing baseball, and she’s proud to send them to Catholic school. Sterling lives in the country, her family loves camping, and she unschools the kids.

The thing these women have in common, an unyielding devotion to Christ. Seriously, if you hang out with either of them, they’re gonna talk about Jesus, a lot. He’s the center of their life.


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