Simplify. What does it mean to you? I’ve written about simplifying before but it’s time for another dose of “Do I really need this?” and “Should I really commit to this?” It’s time to once again take a hard, cold look at what I need/want in my life – and not just glance at the wooden sign I have that says “Simplify” on it.
Food. Yes, it’s time to simplify it. I don’t want fancy food, just good food that makes me feel satiated. Last night we contemplated getting a pizza. We fought a bit over where to get it and who would drive to get it, then we continued to watch TV. I thought to myself, there is food in fridge – let’s go make it. The husband and I went to the kitchen and in one half hour we had a chopped salad, shrimp ceviche, and bean & cheese quesadillas with a chile arbol salsa made and sitting on the counter. Being lazy and not wanting to cook adds cost and not to mention bad food choices to your life. It was simple getting up and cooking together for a light Sunday supper.
Things. I guess I’m laughing because “things” can be any material possession you own. Clothing, books (guilty), big ticket items, etcetera. I have to say that except for the books I own, mostly all bought at thrift stores, I don’t have big problems with “things”. I’m happy with the amount of décor I have in my house, I don’t long for a new bedspread and sheets every year, and buying loads of hair products doesn’t tempt me. There are times I have entered bathrooms and have seen ten baskets of hair products lining the shelves and thought, “Wow, what can you do with all these products?” But that’s not my simplification and maybe it gets them through. They probably think the same of me when they see my bookshelves - convicted. Anyhow, let’s take for example the TV we own. It’s a 32” that we bought six years ago. It works great, good picture, never gave us a problem. Yet why do we want a bigger one, say a 47” or larger? Do we feel pressure because everyone around us is getting TV’s as big as a wall in their living room? Simplifying means not bowing down to the pressure to spend money and make poor choices. I’m happy with my TV and having a bigger one isn’t going to make my life easier, so for now, the 32” stays. Simple.
Commitments. Do you ever cringe when the phone rings and you know it’s someone calling to ask you to join a committee to do/plan/search for an event or something else? Have you ever avoided the call by not answering and letting it go to voicemail? I’m guilty of this and I’m also guilty of answering and hearing my voice say “Sure, I’ll help out!” Here is an instance where we have to listen to our hearts. Do we have time in our lives for something that will take us away from the family various hours and evenings? It’s times like this that we need to listen to that little inner voice, or at the very least our husbands imploring us not to do it. Do we feel like we will let others down if don’t join? How about letting our kids down by being gone several nights a week until the job is done? Which is more important – others or our family? This is a tough choice and one that is personal. If the committee is something so close to your heart and you feel God leading you to it then yes, go for it. But if it’s one more thing that you know you’re avoiding by not answering calls, etcetera then you know you need to say no. Learning to say no is the biggest way to simplify your life. It gives YOU the power instead of feeling like you have to say yes to everyone who calls.
Simplifying your life can be as simple as eating good food, cleaning out your closet and organizing it, or saying no to one more thing that just can’t be crammed into your agenda. I don’t want to blindly walk through my life doing what everyone else wants me to do because really, are we living for ourselves and our family or for others? Growing a spine and not worrying what someone else will feel if you say no is a big part of what I had to do to simplify my life. I feel much calmer and know that my life is on the track that I need it to be on. I’ve simplified my possessions, my actions, and my brain – and my family is all the better for it.