Do you remember that ridiculous TV show with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie…The Simple Life? These two celebrity heiresses apparently tried to immerse themselves into the lives of “normal” people. I don’t think I actually ever watched an entire episode because it was, well, dumb, but I do remember Paris Hilton didn’t even know what Walmart was…no joke! But to be honest, I find myself doing some very dumb things…so who am I to judge? I’ve made some pretty darn ditsy comments in my time…just ask my sister…she’ll tell you! Truth be told the concept of a “simple life” can be very difficult for someone who owns enough shoes to wear a different pair every day of the year…and then some!
I began a new bible study today with a group of wonderful ladies called Becoming a Woman of Simplicity. A good friend and I discussed the irony that we are learning to be simplified by adding one more thing to our schedules. But what you might think of simplicity…cleaning out closets, getting rid of things you don’t need, reducing commitments in your schedule…is really only a small part of this idea. We started discussing this morning and then took a few minutes to write and think about what “simplicity” means to us. I’ve been on the path to a more “simple” life since Jackson was born. The more children I have naturally the less time, space, and devotion to myself I seem to have, but it’s more than that. I have really been trying to let go of the things that in the past I have been enslaved to.
One key element to a “simple life” for me is being real. This very blog is part of that. For a very long time I completely covered up all that was going on inside. Now that I have been convicted of transparency all of the effort I spent covering up how I felt on the inside has been replaced by a peace that only the Lord can give. I am free to be me…just me…not the person I want everyone to think I am…just me. Take it or leave it. I’m done hiding. You know…it’s also ironic that my biggest pet peeve is when people aren’t genuine and authentic because how much time and effort did I spend covering up who I am and trying to be “normal” when clearly I am not!?
Another aspect of simplicity for me as a self-proclaimed task-master and control freak is I’ve learned that the more I try to “control” things the more I seem to lose control. The verse “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Luke 12:25) seems to come to mind. The tendency to emotionally attach myself to things that simply don’t matter in the grand scheme of God’s plan is a huge problem area for me. If my house is a wreck and the baby is crying and he phone is ringing and dinner isn’t made by 6 p.m. I am one hot mess. I like everyone and everything to be happy, settled, rested, fed, clean, tidy and well, let’s be honest…that isn’t real life. The pressure to be the quintessential wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend is all self-induced and God doesn’t want me to stress and worry over things that He doesn’t tell me to do.
Listening to what the Lord wants for me is key. It is probably the hardest thing to do everyday. I’ve come to surround myself with things that remind me of Him so I won’t miss what He’s trying to tell me. I have had to completely change almost everything from what I watch on TV and in movies, to what I listen to on the radio and what I read in books….and yes, even fashion magazines have become a low priority. It is so easy to get sucked into “me” when I need to be sucked into “HIM”…and the best way to do that is in the Word. We have bible verses plastered all over our house to remind ourselves who we are and what we believe and what is really important. We have bibles on every floor of our house…a freedom we most certainly take for granted but something we have found to be very helpful to remind us. And what have I let go of? Songs I probably shouldn’t be listening to, garbage on TV…such as reality shows about celebrities… and in movies, and yes even magazines…things that I shouldn’t be filling my mind with. Things that don’t matter.
I have also had to let go of certain relationships with people who were not good for me to spend my time with…and I’ve had to remind myself that it is okay. The people-pleaser in me didn’t necessarily want to do that but someone wise once told me to “surround myself with those I want to be like” or as Hebrews 12:1 calls them a “cloud of witnesses”. The time I spend away from my family is limited so I need to spend it wisely. It was probably one of the most difficult things for me to accept, and in some cases it did hurt, but that made it a whole lot easier to decide who I should spend my time with.
Simplicity so far for me has really been about satisfaction. What really satisfies me? What is “enough”? Am I content with what God has so graciously given me…or do I want more? What do I allow to complicate and cloud my mind? It is more than just the plethora of shoes in my closets…yes…I said it…closets…as in plural! As I am painfully purging shoes in the quest for a “simple life” I have a feeling I will be purging other things as well…my bad habits, my need to “control” things, my desire for “perfection”, and all of the distractions that take away the peace that I need from the Lord…the peace that only He can give. This will be “The Simple Life Part I” as I have much to learn. I am really looking foward to this study!