Over our Christmas break I did lots of work on my presentation for the upcoming Heart of the Matter Online Conference. I had to sit back and go through how I got to this point in the first place…
Why have I been so led to this world of simplifying?
What about simplifying is so intriguing?
And why simplify?
It took me back to the summer when we were on vacation and stopped in Jamestown and Yorktown VA. While there I was standing in an old 18th century farmhouse, and I was struck by the simplicity. I was struck by the fact that those people had to work so hard and really had very little (in relation to our lives today, materialistically that is). Yet today we have so much stuff, and have so many conveniences, and really have no time for people and relationships. I wondered what those people would think of us…we have every convenince imaginable to make life easier...dishwashers, washers, dryers, modern ovens, microwaves, coffee pots, cell phones, computers, internet…it’s crazy.
Yet people are so busy. Life passes by so fast, and we lose focus on what matters.
As I stood there, I felt a little jealous of the simple house they had. Not to sound ungrateful. I am grateful for my home, but if we all just had a little to take care of, and still had our modern conveniences, think how much time we could spend on what really matters…people, relationships, ministry, missions, etc. The list in endless!
I have a feeling those 18th century farmers had more time for relationships. They had to. They needed each other to get through each day. They had more focus on what matters.
In my life I have come to realize that if I don’t put God first, nothing else matters. He needs to be the center. He needs to be first. Not something I do on Sunday, not something that makes me “feel good.” Not a part time relationship. A full time relationship where our lives are an offering for all He has done for us.
God is Holy. He is the Creator of everything. He commands we put Him first. He is sovereign.
I want to limit the distractions of life, the things that don’t really matter, to keep my focus on Him. To Simply Live for Him!
So, that being said, here is why simplifying really matters:
1. Reducing clutter in the home creates a peaceful environment, allowing your family to enjoy their living space, and allowing the family to keep God first.
2. Reducing clutter lessens stress levels. Studies prove it. Less stuff to manage=more time to live for what matters.
3. Simplifying our homes means keeping what is necessary and limiting the stuff that isn’t.
4. Simplifying means keeping our minds free of so many things that can distract us from God…we live in an information laden society, yet ALL we need is God’s Word...the BIBLE!
5. Reducing our time on time wasters: internet, cell phones, tv…all things that take away from time with God. Add up the time spent on these things. Now add up the time spent in the Word. Which shows your priorities?
6. Simplifying my homeschool has been huge. When I first started I wanted to have everything that was out there…the fancy all in one curriculums, the games, the workbooks, the stuff!
Now I realize there are so many real life opportunities for learning, that no fancy one size fits all curriculum can compete with. And it is not about the stuff, but about training up our children, and teaching them from the heart.
7. Simplifying meals…I love to cook and could spend all day playing around with recipes in my kitchen. Truth is, right now I am not in the season of my life to spend all day in the kitchen. So I make simple, healthy recipes that we can all enjoy, but don’t take away from time with my kids and what matters. And it lessens my stress level at the end of the day. The kids won’t remember the fancy recipes, but they will remember mom letting them help in the kitchen and everyone sitting around the table at the end of the day. Then I save the fancy recipes for special occasions.
8. Simplifying is biblical. Many times the Bible talks about storing up eternal treasures and not earthly treasures. Matthew 6:20
This life isn’t forever...but our time with God will be. We all need to reevaluate our priorities to make sure they are in line with God’s word.
I hope this list inspires you to look around and see what areas of your life you can simplify. Start small. One area at a time. But most of all, remember to keep God first, pray over your choices, and He will be glorified in all that we do.
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