The other evening, I was at dinner with a few friends and it was on my heart to share something with them. I told them that I had been thinking a lot about simplifying my life. “I’ve brought myself to the point of exhaustion with the empty expectations I’ve placed on myself,” I said. But after the words left my mouth, I was immediately hesitant about sharing those thoughts and wished I could suck them back in.
After dinner, I had to start thinking about what exactly it was that continued to prevent me from moving forward with this simplification. I’m obviously slightly disobedient in this area of my life, as I’m fully aware that I should be responding to that conviction. But, I also know myself, and I really just don’t want to stop living the way that I am. But why?
Like many people, the concept of simplifying is so appealing to me. Less busyness leads to more relaxation, less social media leads to more realistic expectations of our imperfect lives, fewer outfit options lead to less ‘turmoil’ about keeping up with trends. Yet, I never put it into action. If I’m honest, a large part of me thrives off of having something to do or somewhere to go every evening, I love styling and buying multiple outfits weekly, social media helps me to remain up-to-date and in touch with friends (or that’s what I tell myself, anyway) and I have a passion for home design and enjoy constantly changing out my decor.
Despite my interest in and love for these things, I know that the way that I live can be excessive. What is it for you? Do you over-indulge? Is it binge-watching Netflix, focusing on your job, people-pleasing and saying “yes” to everything, working out, alcohol, shopping, hoarding clutter, crafting, the internet, obsessing over having your house shiny & sparkling, being overly concerned with the way that you look?
Excessive living and over-indulgence, even in the things that we love, tend to be a distraction and can keep our eyes on ourselves and away from what really matters in our lives. For me, that means to love God and love people with all of my heart. When I am constantly looking inwards, I tend to only think about what I want and what I love; I often forget to look outside of myself to care about the things that the people I love most care about. I want to ensure that I love others more than I love myself and my material things.
“I often forget to look outside of myself to care about the things that the people I love most care about.”
The question that I will continue to ask as I turn this concept of simplification into action is: How do I continue enjoying what I love, but rather than indulging in it, living in moderation?
I’m a step-by-step kind of girl; I am gratified by writing lists and checking items off, making a calendar colorful and beautiful (and full of to-do’s), so I figure that an organized checklist is the best way for me to approach my goal. I plan to do a few blog posts as I go discussing each step and I would love for you to follow along! I like to remind myself regularly that intentions will be merely intentions unless we choose to put them into action. I will be making some adjustments to my lifestyle to simplify my life and hoping to be able to give, serve and love more while doing so.
“INTENTIONS WILL BE MERELY INTENTIONS
UNLESS WE CHOOSE TO PUT THEM INTO ACTION.”
Every bit of this goal ultimately stems from an authentic desire to look and live like Jesus and wanting that to be reflected outwardly in my life. He was not a complex man, nor was He high-maintenance. If the King of Kings can live simply, I wish to do so as well.
As my first challenge: I am going to give away one item that I own every day for a year. 365 days. Some days will be extremely easy and some days will be hard! But it will be a reminder to me that material items do not run my life. I encourage you to do the same!
“And He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money, nor extra shirt.’” Luke 9:3.
In a world saturated with over-stimulation, high expectations and our temptation to succumb to every bit of it, it is liberating to remember that we are not forced to live this way. It is a choice, and as temporarily satisfying as these Pinterest-lifestyle choices may be at times, there are far more important things to live for.