Consume with Restraint and Intentionality

Consume with Restraint and Intentionality

Return to our Way of Life

To be monastic is to live an ascetic life. A life with less. One consumes and owns less. Let our desire to consume become a desire for God’s presence and love. God, You have given us more than we will ever deserve. Creation is good, but God is greater. Therefore, let us consume with restraint and intentionality. Your love is enough.

Each of us, in our own time, makes a discovery. We find that what we consume in our lives consumes us. Our lives depend on the things that we use every day. Consumption for us is like the air that we breathe. Consumption is so natural that it is like breathing. We consume nearly on reflex and without much thought. Upon reflection, it seems like it is what we consume that sustains us. Yet, we are sustained by God. It is God alone who is enough. He is enough to sustain you and to enjoy forever.

Unlike most everything else, being ascetic requires us to do with less and do less. It is through this simplicity we begin to be more. We discover we become more present with ourselves. We start to be more present with God. Within the presence of God there is always more to learn, feel, share, and know. Deep within us, our soul longs for the presence of God to be what consumes us. May God become what sustains us.

Our lives shift as we cultivate this type of simplicity. With time, one becomes less consumed by the desire for other things. We discover a true, growing freedom that comes from living life with fewer things. Our journey in life gains a new kind of richness. We find a richness that is foreign to every age except the one that is to come. This richness gives us freedom to more deeply explore ourselves and to dwell within the presence of God. We gain the strength to shift our dependance on the things of this world onto the one who created it.

Let this change grow naturally out of a deep inner transformation. What is visible cannot clearly show us the shifts in our hearts. It can be easy to do the outward work. When the work is forced and unnatural to us, it leads to exhaustion, discontentment, and anger. Instead, ask the Lord Jesus to journey with you as you step into a more ascetic life. In time your understanding of your needs will shift. You will discover you have far fewer needs than you thought. You will find that our God is generous and sufficient. There is no expectation within Urban Monasticism of what your ascetic life will look like. We should expect different seasons of life to look different. We should never demand or force others to live an ascetic life. May we celebrate one another on the trails and ways our Lord has invited us to walk.

To be a monastic is to live an ascetic life. This rule is an invitation to a life of growth and transformation. Let us not believe there is a perfect way. Instead, we accept God’s grace is sufficient and discover ourselves, our world, our God, and who we may become with God.

In place of a life of poverty, we are called to consume with restraint and intentionality.

Invitations to Engage

  • Prayerfully consider the ways that Jesus is asking you if He is enough in our secular cultures of excess.
  • What are the things you most strongly desire to consume? How can you be more intentional and restricted in consuming them?
  • What could it look like to be more intentional with what you consume each day and week?
  • How do you understand the trade-off that what we consume takes from what we get from God?
  • Reflect, dwell, and deeply feel the reality that God has given you more than you will ever deserve.
  • How can you shift more of your identity and pleasure to God and away from consumption?
  • What does it look like to be more ascetic within your current living situation?
  • If you live with others: how can you live with different amounts and choices of consumption? How can you not shame others, and share in what brings them joy?
  • What ways is it difficult to be gracious and loving to others living ascetically who do so differently than you?
  • What has blessed and surprised you as you have restricted your consumption?
  • Imagine yourself five years ago. What would surprise you about how you now choose to consume?

Meditations on this Rule