You know you need to simplify your life. You’re overwhelmed, worn out, and a vacation is months away. You’ve tried, really tried, but a simple life seems impossible with all your commitments and responsibilities.
You’re not thinking about a Little House on the Prairie kind of simple life, but one fitted to the 21st century. A maid, a cook, and a bottle washer . . . and a on-call babysitter would help.
Poof, so goes magical thinking. Don’t you wish an uncluttered life was easy?
But you have to start somewhere or else you’ll reach the end of your life and wish you had taken the time to learn to live more simply.
Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (Psalm 90:12).
So, let’s do some restructuring. Let’s apply our hearts towards wisdom.
Here’s the kicker question
What’s complicating your life right now?
Before you answer “everything,” take some time to marinate in the question. Is it job pressures? Are you spending too much time talking on the phone, text messaging, or Instagraming? Is a serious illness invading your life? Do you feel obligated to take care of aging parents? Is your teenager or spouse stressing you out, or do you have a puppy that refuses potty training? Are you over committed to your kid’s activities or your own hobbies?
How to simplify your life
Make a list of everything you can think of that is complicating your life and causing you stress.
Now, before you come up with instant answers like getting rid of the puppy, spouse, or job, pray about each item on your list. And DON’T pray for solutions! At least not yet.
Just sit with the list and listen to the Lord as you go over the list with him. Write down any thoughts or insights that come to you as you pray.
Here are some questions to get you started in your conversation with God. You might want to take one a day for a few weeks so this process doesn’t overwhelm you even more!
- What is there about your life that is most important to you? How much of your list is dedicated to these important things?
- How many things on your list are sapping the life out of your free time?
- What are you doing that you would rather not be doing?
- Do you have any unreal expectations about anything on your list?
- Does your attitude need adjusting in any area of your list?
- What is within your control on the list.
- What is outside your control on the list?
- What things on your list are optional commitments?
- What things on your list can be delegated to others? What can be hired out to others?
- If family relationships are complicating your life, are you willing to see a counselor?
- Can you say “No” to any new commitments until you have sorted through and released the old ones?
- Do you need to learn how to set healthy boundaries with people and with yourself?
- If your life is cluttered with things you never use, can you give them away or have a garage sale? Can you set aside a weekend to organize your home finances or filing system . . . or even a few closets or the garage?
- Can you schedule one day a week to be free of any commitments or responsibilities outside of your spiritual ones—a real Sabbath?
What is God saying?
Having time to process the above questions with the Lord is the first step to simplify your life. Once you hear him give you specific directions, follow them.
Take baby steps. Don’t rush it. It takes time to learn to put margins in your life, but the wisdom you’ll gain is worth it.
Learning with you, Susan
“Jesus likes it when we share.” -Adelaide, age 3: Pass this along to everybody and their brother. OK, maybe not everybody’s brother, but you know . . . all of your friends would be nice.