Simplifying Your Life: Part 4

Priorities are important and even crucial to begin the process of bringing simpleness into our lives.  Without a Christian worldview, one runs to a list of “to do’s” and will only end up getting more and more frustrated in the process because, as we all know, the lists never end! Once you organize one closet, there is always another one to do.  Once the laundry is finished (this would not be me), there is always more to be done.  Once you rid the house of all unwanted things to ship off to the salvation army, 2 months later it’s time to do it again.  But when we begin to include relationships in our desire to live simply, we will find that our lives are producing fruit and we begin storing up for ourselves treasures in heaven and not on earth.  So keep at your priority list and to keep from feeling overwhelmed at where to start once you have that list, pick one or two priority areas to which you will give your attention and block out some time where you can be alone to pray about these areas and come up with a plan for change. Ask your husband for a mini-retreat to get away for a day or an afternoon to be able to create an intentional plan.  Here’s a real-life example from “Shopping for Time” if you still feel a little unsure about how to tackle  this:  “Nicole had determined that mothering Jack was the priority in need of special focus.  First, she prayerfully assessed her heart and conduct as a mother.  Through recent conversations with her husband, Mom, and friends, she was convicted about a lack of consistency in discipline.  So she reviewed several of her favorite parenting books and selected verses and quotes on this topic.  These she typed in a computer document for review during her morning devotions.  The she turned her attention to Jack’s training.  She and her husband were both concerned by Jack’s tendency to argue instead of to obey immediately.  Jack was also due for some lessons in dinnertime etiquette, specifically learning to sit still until everyone was finished eating and to participate in conversation by asking good questions.  Finally, Nicole reviewed Jack’s daily and weekly schedule- what was working well and what wasn’t.  Out of this evaluation came a new morning routine and several changes to the weekly calendar. She also focused on specific aspects of Jack’s schedule by studying a preschool curriculum, checking into a soccer program, and figuring out the best spots for “daddy-time.” By dedicating time to sit and develop a plan for Jack, Nicole was able to take several big steps forward in her effectiveness as a mother.”

Let me encourage you to take one small step at a time.  For me, I am in an overwhelmingly busy season of life trying to care for 3 small children ages 5 and under.  Your situation might be similar or different.  Creating a priority list and choosing one or two priorities to work on is not meant to be condemning, but rather a means of grace by which to grow and press forward when you might be tempted to otherwise be paralyzed by your busy season of life.  Carolyn Mahaney reminds us that “we can’t afford to put off charting a course for life’s seasons because we are too busy. The pressures of life are, in fact, the very reason we need to sit and plan.” So whether you are young, old, married, single, male, female – busyness is never an excuse to not grow in godliness.  May you find grace in your time of need and strength to simplify your life by focusing on your relationship with God and the tasks