Living sustainably is living the way God intended. It takes grace.
Sustainable living is a good thing. You already knew we wholeheartedly believe that.
But living in a way that protects creation and honors its Creator isn’t just a good thing to do. It’s so much more than that. Living as a good steward of land that belongs to God is our calling. Treating the planet with compassion for all the other lives we share it with is the way that God intended for us to live.
That’s why living sustainably isn’t an easy task. Living up to God’s standards is impossibly tough. The only way we get there is through God’s grace.
It’s crucial for us to accept grace, and that applies to our relationship with creation the way it does to our relationships with each other.
Don’t forget that we are all works in progress.
It’s no surprise that as much as we’d love to live in ways that are 100% earth friendly, we’re going to drop the ball quite a bit. We’ll have shortcomings in our diets, in the way we get around, and in our consumption of things. Some of us respond with guilt, and even more simply shrug off the high standards of sustainability as impossible in the first place.
One of the big ideas behind sustainability, however, is that it isn’t an overnight fix to all of the world’s problems. It’s simply the adoption of more compassionate habits as they become a way of life.
That’s why environmental legalism has turned off more people than it has encouraged. Being critical of ourselves or dismissive of the importance of sustainability, however will only take us further away from living the way God created us to live.
Establishing new habits take time.
Much like adopting any new spiritual discipline, living a life of sustainability and mindfulness of creation requires us to be patient and persistent. We must be able to own up to our shortcomings with a desire to do better and an acknowledgement that it takes time.
It’s said that it takes repetition for something to become a habit. For those of us who are new to sustainable living, instances where we fall short of the standards we desire often come about with inexperience. Those of us who have been trying for a long time to practice sustainability aren’t immune to lapses either. But that’s where persistence, patience, and grace come in.
Grace is especially important to pursue because it turns the journey towards sustainable living into a spiritual experience. It’s no longer the attempt to gain new habits, but it instead becomes an opportunity to draw closer to God through the process. Our shortcomings allow us to realize God’s grace.
Start with small changes, and ask for help.
If you desire to live more sustainably, there is no shortage of habits to adopt. We encourage you practicing new ways and doing so in a spirit of compassion. However, trying to take them all on at once is perhaps an unsustainable way to try and become sustainable.
Instead, try to focus on one or two new practices. Work on them until they become habits and natural parts of your life.
We also encourage you to not go through the journey alone. Share the experience with loved ones. Ask for support as you seek to challenge yourself or each other towards sustainable living. After all, it’s all about relationship.
In order to encourage you along your journey to sustainability, we’ve produced a guide complete with 88 Ideas for Sustainable Living. You can download it for free right here. If you want to help communities all around the world also participate in sustainable living, consider becoming a Purpose Partner for $22 a month!