52 Ways for More Serenity in Life and Home :: define simplicity (week #18)

Welcome to the first edition of May’s 52 Ways!

Here’s a recap from last month:

week #13  limit media, increase creativity

week #14  nurture your ‘no’

week #15  embrace the mess

week #16  live ‘clean enough’!

week #17  budget your time

 Am I the only one just now realizing there were 5 Mondays in April!?  

Anyway, I’ve been thinking on this week’s encouragement for several weeks now….

Week #18  Define simplicity for yourself

One thing I’ve become increasingly aware of over time is how the idea of simple living is completely stressing people out.

We are abuzz (is that a word?) with the pursuit of simplicity.  It’s a multimillion dollar industry of companies, magazines, books, blogs, and products all dedicated to assisting us.

Am I against simple living?  Not at all.

I do believe our lives need honest evaluation and a deeper look at what is truly essential.  Simplifying has benefits.

BUT…

We might be skipping a crucial first step.  The mistake?

We take action before answering questions.

:

Allow me to explain:

If simplicity includes releasing what is unnecessary, this begs two important questions be answered before we do anything:

What is the purpose and vision for this season?

What is needful (or helpful) to fulfill this vision?

How my life is run, the things kept in our home, and how we schedule our days, all should be organized around the answers to these questions, not just ideas of how someone else describes simple living!

What is beneficial for one person could be incredibly complicating for another.

Should your family spend only X amount on groceries or clothing?  What about travel and entertainment?  

Should you live in a smaller home?  Is one car or computer enough?  How many activities should your children be involved in?  Are you overspending?

Well, it depends on the answers to those questions!

I’m not trying to be super-spiritual…but before adopting steps towards simplicity, it’s wisdom to check said step against our purpose as God defines it — does it line up?

For it’s quite easy to actually complicate and stress your life by letting go of the wrong things or ideas.  We don’t ultimately follow lists, though they help us evaluate.

We follow God.  Ask Him to define what you need more or less of, and to supply those needs.

THEN — simplify with this vision in mind.

To be quite honest, I struggle in this area!

I lean towards ultra-frugality and do-without-it mentality…sometimes to a fault.  You’d think I was raised during the Great Depression.

Yes, I believe in contentedness.  Yes, I think we should try to live with less.  Yes, yes, yes.  But even when it’s clear God is providing for my needs, and generously offering me resources to do my job well…I can still be found hesitating to receive.  Ouch.

That’s not frugality or simplicity.  That’s PRIDE.  I resist the very gift He desires I accept.

Oh my Provider, I am so sorry.

I’ve grown leaps, largely due to to my husband’s prompting (thank you, hon!).  I’m learning it’s not wisdom to compare the needs of our family to others, even if our callings and lifestyles are similar.

Should you simplify your home, your schedule, your lifestyle?  Certainly!

Allow a God-driven vision to shape your definition of simplicity.  It’s less stressful.

: :

Action Plan:  Chew on this post for a little, and maybe it won’t even apply to you.  If it does, take time for prayer, thinking, and redefining simple living for your family.  It’s a process, try not to rush it.

More to Read:  In the spirit of answering questions before action – here’s a post on 5 Questions You Should Ask When Decluttering

 

{photo credit}

 

Want to share your thoughts? Click here to send me an email.

5 comments

Yes. Thank you for your sweet words of grace. It is so easy to fall into the “one size fits all” mentality. And, more importantly, that often leads to not hearing the Lord speak to us personally. He certainly does not deal with us all the same, yet we try to be all the same at times. This idea of simplicity has become quite complex, you are right. But, I think you are right on target when you suggest it should all start with direction from the Lord. Thank you for your heart-felt post!

This is a very truthful post. I don’t know why I didn’t see your comment form before. Anyway, you’re right we have to consider our own life and families before accepting all of the news and suggestions of the day.

Thanks ladies! It is often harder to discern what our families should be doing when the ‘noise’ around us is so loud. May we know what God would have us to do!

blessings!

[…] hope you found some simplicity in the weekend – ways which make sense for you and your […]