Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lightening the Load

So if you're reading this, odds are you may have noticed the new look around here. Change is good. It refreshens us, wakes us up and makes us pay attention. I'm all about waking up and paying attention right now.

I've been reading several books on the topic of "simplicity" or "simple living." Those terms are extraordinarly subjective. When I say "simple living" you may be thinking something totally different than what I am. It applies to so many areas of our lives - this idea of simplifying. And I have suddenly found myself on a journey of simplification (hopefully not over-simplification!).

I'm not sure exactly what started it, though I would likely point my finger at my devotional time several months ago. For years I have had the same devotional routine. Now, routine is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. It can be good. Very very good. I love routine. The problem is when we are in a routine that has not be carefully analyzed and is empty of intentionality. Thus, my devotional routine had become burdensome. I had a Scripture reading plan I was attempting to follow. I had a lengthy prayer journal I was attempting to fill. I had a prayer chart I was doing my best to abide by. I also had a devotional book I was making my way through for the 3rd time. Now, none of those things are bad things. It was just a lot. A lot a lot. And I was wearing myself out and absolutely boring myself to tears. Soon my devotional life became this checklist session. I'd do each "assignment" just as it was "instructed" and faithfully check off each "completed element" in my mind. It just wasn't working for me anymore. So one day, I decided to just read some Scripture and then journal for as long or as little as I wanted. I just might skip the journaling altogether if I felt so moved. And it worked. I was so refreshed and freed from the burden of the lengthy legalistic routine I had worked myself into. Instead of having all these separate little tasks I have to complete, I now give myself the freedom to just do what feels most natural. I simplified the process and got way more out of it than before.

So this was the catalyst for my search for simplification. I checked out several books from the library on the subject. Some were good. Some were not. And I started informally researching the idea of simple living. I learned what it means to me is certainly not what it means to everyone else, so in the next couple weeks I'm going to try to explain what I have been doing and a little more about why and how I go about it. I might throw away or donate something that you think I should keep. But the biggest lesson I have learned so far is that we have to do the things that are right for us (our beliefs, interests, tendencies, etc.) and our families (our way of life). Your simplification process would not look like mine. But if you're looking for ideas, you might find a few.

In all of this, I've found that the less stuff I have, the less concerned with having an elaborate home or fancy furnishings or expensive clothing, the more I am able to appreciate the many material blessings I do have. And what's more, I have more space and time to see the special stuff - the truly sacred moments in every day. This marks a new journey toward simple and sacred.

1 comment:

Sherri said...

This is a journey I would like to take as well. We are preparing to move..and I have lived in my house for 10 years. Lately, I have been feeling like we have outgrown our home...but now that I am just "simplifying" I found...that we fit just fine..we had too much stuff! I don't want to move...but I am excited to simplify...and like you said...in all areas of life!
Have a great weekend! =)