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Minimalist messages typically give me anxiety. I can literally feel myself shrinking away from them, while simultaneously grabbing all of my things and holding them tight. I rationalize internally, “I’m into fashion, a capsule wardrobe is simply not an option,” or “aesthetics are extremely important to my productivity, I NEED to complete this gallery wall NOW.” Until now… Erin Loechner is a self-proclaimed minimalist but she has weaved grace into her story and recognizes that sometimes minimalism just becomes the equal opposite of chasing more things. It is still a chase. It still takes great effort (more for some than others.) It quickly becomes another standard by which we measure ourselves. Minimalism is not the gospel, just as chasing more and more stuff/accomplishments/accolades/busyness is not the gospel. So when I envy my minimalist counterpart’s clean spaces and lack of clutter, I need to recognize how great a chase that would be for me. I need to slow down and do what I can to bring stuff/accomplishments/accolades/busyness back into right order. When I let myself quiet internally, I yearn for slow. I yearn to stop building up a Pinterest board full of projects on my to-do list; I want to stop moving from one purchase onto researching the next purchase (gotta have the best/most current on the market); I yearn to just enjoy the clothes that I have for awhile before diving head on into the next trend; I yearn to spend less time managing things and more time living. I’m so glad I didn’t shy away from this one. Continue reading my review of Chasing Slow below.
- What made you want to read this book (besides the cover, Jenne)?
I’m not going to lie, this one was mostly about the cover. It did make it into my 2017 reading list, but the lovely cover was the extent of what I knew about the book. Then for my birthday, I chose to pop into a local Christian bookstore’s clearance sale and there she was. Looking lovely as ever. I read the back cover and saw that the author was a blogger with an audience of one million and I honestly thought “#goals” and added it to my stack. The clearance price tag didn’t hurt either. But the loveliness of this book is worth every penny if you can’t find it on sale.
- What are 3 main themes throughout the book?
1. “More is never enough.” Prior to reading this, I had never contemplated the definition of “more” or realized just how immeasurable it is. We chase more in so many aspects of life and it quickly becomes an addiction. We always need more. We tackle one accomplishment only to reach for the next. We add 6 projects to the list before finishing one. We come home from a shopping trip only to feel like we have nothing to wear the next day. We rarely slow down to enjoy where we are currently.
2. Pinterest Perfect I don’t know about you, but even though Pinterest came into our lives just 6 years ago (Erin, the author of this book was one of the first to test the platform) it is hard for me to remember life before Pinterest. I’m often in awe of the fact that I planned a very “Pinterest-y” wedding prior to its existence. We literally have an app at our fingertips where we can see the best of the best of everything. The best home decor, the best bikini bod, the cleanest kitchen, the most extravagant first birthday party (of a firstborn child, of course!) the prettiest flatlay, and the sweetest children playing nicely together. It is no wonder we want more in so many aspects of life. Erin points out that the online version of herself was much different that her reality. She battled things like cellulite and self-doubt that we don’t believe the people we see on Pinterest experience. I can attest to this as well. In this past year of focusing on my blog I have learned just how much work goes into building an online presence. There are times that I want to share more of myself, but there are also times that I just want to create pretty pictures and simple tutorials. Know that a lot of work goes into staging and editing the pictures, and that I wrestle with being good enough for this gig on the daily.
3. Less is more, sometimes. This theme can be interpreted both negatively and positively. When we feel the rush of subtracting from our lives this can quickly become the equal opposite of chasing more. Your new standard of perfection is to have less. It is still a measure. When we begin to subtract things/chasing accomplishments/the quest for more, we can quickly replace them with seemingly more “noble” things. Take the capsule wardrobe, for example. One gets rid of all of their clothes to now spend all of their time searching for the perfect/best quality items. This quest fills the time spent managing a larger wardrobe that they subtracted when they got rid of it. On the other hand, when the less that you have are the things/pursuits that you LOVE, you have more. More contentment, more satisfaction, more time, more joy, more peace, more room for rest, etc.
- Do you have any favorite quotes from the book?
- “The new way of thinking was, rather, not this or that. It was simply, must we? Is this essential? Is this imperative? Will this bend us? Will we break?…And so we began to remove the bumpers of cultural expectation, and the world became a wildly fun game for two…We changed the rules that is all. The instructions told us that hard work means logging a lot of hours at the office to pay for more things so as to appear you are logging a lot of hours at the office. The instructions told us to work hard, then play hard, but mostly work hard. You can play hard when you’re dead.”
- “Sometimes before I fell asleep, I wondered if this tiny taste success was a blessing from God, or a curse that he simply allowed. It hadn’t occurred to me that there was a third possibility, a truer one. That it was a blessing from God, but that I had made it into a curse.”
- “There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.” – G.K. Chesterton
- “More…is a never-ending immeasurable. It can’t be counted or valued or summed or justified. More is always, by definition, just ahead at the horizion. That’s why we never stop chasing it. More is never enough.”
- Erin puts together simple, yet profound lessons in the form of word based math equations sprinkled throughout the book. Two of my favorites include “STRESS + 20 MINUTES WITH A GIRLFRIEND + TRUTH = PERSPECTIVE” and “EXPECTATION – COMMUNICATION = RESENTMENT”
- How did this book inspire/motivate you?
Goodness. This book inspired me to slow down in so many areas in my life, without choosing the equal opposite of chasing less. Upon finishing the book, I told my husband that I wouldn’t plan any more projects until we completed the ones that are already on our to-do list (his relief was palpable.) I also told him that I wanted to challenge myself to not buy any more clothing for myself until 2018 (this one came out a little more hesitantly. Ha!) I thought carefully before saying “no” to joining another Bible study that would overlap my current one. I’ve created space to have spontaneous play dates with new and old friends, while still having time to accomplish the work that I want to during the week. I put even more of our kid’s toys out of reach to be rotated in every few weeks or so. I’ve slowed my expectations for an always Pinterest-ready home (this is a fool’s errand anyway with little people following me around and undoing my every effort. Ha!) I am partaking in genuine rest and enjoyment of my current life, not the one hoped for.
- Who would you recommend this book to?
Are you wanting to slow down, but can’t quite wrap your mind around a minimalist message without an increased heart rate and sweaty palms? Are you experiencing a lack of satisfaction that you expected to come as you reached the height of your career (whether it be a conventional career or a creative venture)? Do you get lost on Pinterest or Instagram, pining after another’s physique or living room? This book is for you!
How lovely is this book?! Are you interested in reading Chasing Slow or have you already read it? Let’s start a conversation below! Click here to purchase if you are ready to slow down!