If you were to radically simplify your life, what would happen next? To radically simplify means this –
- doing whatever necessary to live debt-free
- doing whatever necessary to live without so many distractions
- doing whatever necessary to live with more focus and excellence in what you work
- doing whatever necessary to be able to give your family “your best”
- doing whatever necessary to protect your marriage
- doing whatever necessary to keep your priorities in place – God, family, yourself, friends…
- doing whatever necessary to maintain a God-centered life – decluttering the calendar
- doing whatever necessary to answer God’s call on your life
- doing whatever necessary to maintain a clean and orderly home
- doing whatever necessary to simplify your physical surroundings
True simplicity is birthed from one place, through one Person – a purposed and passionate life with Jesus Christ.
So, what are 4 Small Steps toward Simplifying Your Life?
- Pray – Begin each day of your life with prayer. One of the smallest, yet most profound steps we can take in simplifying our life is in the way of prayer. Make it an absolute. Don’t begin your day without it. Wake up earlier. Set that clock for an earlier time and begin your day in prayer. Praying always brings life into greater focus. It brings your life into step with the God of peace, order, organization, beauty, excellence, rest and work. Prayer IS the first step to simplifying our days like nothing else we can do. If you want to know more about becoming a woman of prayer, I would encourage you to read and work through Cynthia Heald’s book, “Becoming a Woman of Prayer.” If you are a man and want to know more about prayer, Timothy Keller’s book, “Prayer” is a great resource.
2. Read God’s Word daily – This is Step 2 towards simplifying your life, but it really hinges on the same door as Step 1. Starting in Genesis, Rip simplified his life by adding this ONE principle (or habit) to his morning – his daily bible reading with God – I have seen first hand the blessings of God on his life as a result!! Yes, while sitting on top of a closed toilet seat that has a towel for a cushion, he goes into the bathroom and reads ever.single.morning. I asked him, “You want to read in the den or kitchen where it’s more comfortable?” And he said, “No, I like shutting the door and sitting in there because it’s a small place and there are no distractions.”
But what is really amazing to see is how Rip is learning more and more about his God. Truths about God’s nature and ways are becoming more clear to him and simplified. What used to be confusing or unknown to Rip, is now becoming more simple in truth and in application.
I asked him, “So what have you learned about the Lord and His character since the day you started reading?” He said,
“That He doesn’t mess around. He means what He says. And I don’t think it’s going to be that hard from Him to say, ‘Depart from Me, I never knew you,’ when He says that to people who never knew Him.” I asked him why he felt that way. And he told me, “Because, baby, He gives chances after chances after chances, over and over again. He keeps opportunities in front of people to choose Him. And when it gets to that point where He says that, I used to picture it as a hard thing to say, but He is a just and holy God, too, and I don’t think it will be as difficult as I always imagined. He will grieve about it. He loves them. But the Bible says that He will say those words and it will only be because He has to. At that point, they would have lived a lifetime, an entire lifetime, turning down those opportunities of knowing Him.”
Reading God’s Word daily simplifies your life in the most powerful way because it does draw you closer to the heart of God,
… but it also draws you into a deeper desire to obey Him. To realize your life is not a matter of “living the dream,” but it’s a long road of obedience in the direction of His divine will. Not the will and plans of our own. If you want to really radically simplify your life, get to know God through His Word. He truly does not want any of us so distracted by the things of this world, but He wants us in on the simplicity of surrendered obedience to Him. We daily read our emails, our newspapers, social media posts and texting all day long … can we take this radical step in reading God’s word daily, too?
3. Stop over-loading your Calendar – Learn to say one of the most powerful words in the English language – NO. We need to learn the worth of that one word! It will keep us from a tangled mess of activities that tend to drain our energies like nothing else. Let go of all the “so much” that you have on your calendar. Really purge it down because when you do, you start experiencing a freedom that comes when your time is yours again – and it doesn’t belong to all those activities and other people’s plans for your life.
4. Get rid of all the stuff. Walk through your home wearing the “PURGING” hat and get rid of all that “stuff” that is crowding up your space. What is more valuable to you – the freedom to enjoy your family within the walls of the house that God has provided for you, or to constantly be cleaning, moving around, and straightening up the house because there is so much “stuff” to tend to.
In our home when we had small children, I loved all the toys and decorating has always been a huge enjoyment of mine. However, to enjoy my children and to enjoy my family, I had to limit (over and over again) the amount of “stuff” that was in closets, in cabinets and drawers, in bookshelves, and in the spaces of each room. If a room became to overloaded with furnishings, with knick-knacks, with toys, and with clothes, shoes, etc., then it was time to simplify.
We called them “Purging Parties” – I would gather the family and give them all 4 boxes labeled – THROW – GIVE – STOW – LIVE — In each box, they had to place what needed to be thrown away, given away (to non-profit organizations or to friends), to be stored in a closet or attic – and what needed to “live” in that space, but was misplaced in another room. We would block off an entire Saturday and made it fun. Because it was a “Purging Party” then everything I served as snacks and supper started with a “P” – popsicles, popcorn, pop tarts, and pizza.” The Purging Lifestyle is one that always seems to keep me and my household grounded in living with less and living simple, so we can enjoy MORE!
Radical simplified living really does open the mind and heart to a new found freedom!