The word screams at you from every direction. Everyone seems to say they want a simple life, but not many people I know actually live one. In the blogosphere you find so many articles about homesteading, simple living, gardening pesticide free, and the options go on and on. And then there's the bookstores, the magazines, the talk shows..... everyone feels like life is going too fast and they need to slow down.
How many of you have "Simplify" signs in your house? Come on, admit it.
"Simplicity cultivates the great art of letting go. Simplicity aims at loosening inordinate attachment to owning and having. Simplicity brings freedom."Richard Foster writes, in The Celebration of Discipline
“Only the simple are free. All others are tyrannized by the ambitious self, the demand for recognition through things, and a preoccupation with the opinions of others.”As much as I think I live a "simple life", when viewed in the context of the world at large my lifestyle is anything but simple. In that context my lifestyle is extravagant and rich. I am learning the discipline of "loosening inordinate attachment to owning and having".
I'm not necessarily advocating a "Radical" lifestyle where we all sell our houses and move to Uganda, but I know that there are things that we can do. I'm just working to figure out what those things are. What does simplicity mean for my particular life? What do I need to give up that can make my rhythm of life more simplified?
It seems that there are many of us on this same journey. I mean, why would there be so much information about simplifying our life if we're not all trying to achieve it? Here are the four steps I have been working on the last year to simplify my life that have made a huge difference, maybe they could help you too!
1. Define the major areas that bring me closer to God.
Make these things a more prominent part of my life. Example: Getting up in the morning to have time with the Lord before the rest of the family wakes up; building relationships; investing in my church; using the gifts that God has given me
2. Define the major areas that push me away from God.
Take steps to make them a less prominent part of my life.Example: Focusing too much on myself, especially my physical self; putting too much emphasis on my home being in perfect order;
3. Define the simple things I can do that keep my inner life running smoothly.
The outward things that can lessen the inner stress. Example: Going to sleep at night with the kitchen clean; reading good books; writing; focus on friendships; move more/ eat less.
4. Get rid of excess.
TOO MUCH STUFF SUFFOCATES ME. Does anyone else feel this way? Purge. Constantly.
Just these few steps have made a world of difference. Take some time to define these areas for yourself and you'll be amazed the difference just a few tweaks in your routine can make in your own journey toward a more simple and intentional life.