Sometimes, I think God must be speaking to me through a megaphone. I’ll hear the same message from a variety of sources…a book, a song, a friend. Even for a blonde, it’s impossible to miss.
Recently, the unmistakable message has been to SIMPLIFY.
Can you relate?
My inboxes are cluttered with an embarrassing glut of messages. (And please forgive me if I haven’t answered yours yet.) Stacks of paper surround me. My closet is stuffed with clothes I don’t wear or use. My ironing pile is knee deep. Even my mind feels cluttered at times.
But in the places and spaces of my life that are simplified and uncluttered, I can breathe. I can see beauty. My creative juices flow. I can hear from God.
I’ve been wondering why I struggle so much with clutter while I crave order and simplicity. What’s up with that?
Here are some of my presumptions:
-People matter more to me than tasks. And while it’s great to put a high value on relationships, balance is important.
-I’ve allowed bad habits to get established.
-My areas of clutter seem overwhelming and impossible to conquer.
-I keep assuming I’ll “get to it,” but haven’t scheduled the time to make it happen.
-For many years, I judged my mother for being defeated by clutter. Yet I’m not the judge. And how often do we become like those we judge?
-Yes, I’m probably too hard on myself. I wouldn’t qualify for an episode of “Hoarders.” I just long for simplicity and order to describe all of my life.
None of these are excuses, but I’ve been trying to understand the “whys” of my behavior so that I can change. Call me Pollyanna, but I believe change is possible for any of us, no matter our age.
And I’m determined to simplify and unclutter every aspect of my life. Here’s are 7 steps I’m embracing on my journey to a simplified life:
1. Start small. My dad had a saying that fueled him through the seven-year grind of earning a PhD. at night. And it’s a good one for us all:
“Life by the inch is a cinch. Life by the yard is hard.”
How does that apply to the desire to simplify? Break the seemingly insurmountable tasks into baby steps. 30 minutes a day. Day by day, inch by inch.
2. Understand my “why.” Make a list of why it’s important to have simplicity in every aspect of my life. Review that list daily. (And yes, preparing for my marriage next summer is a wonderful “why.”)
3. Visualize simplicity and order in all the nooks and crannies of my life. What would it look like? How would my mindset be different? I’m spending time thinking about what daily behaviors will produce a more simple and orderly life.
4. Be willing to make mistakes. Clutter really reflects deferred decisions. Because I often lack confidence in making the right decision, I will defer. And the pile grows. And I get increasingly discouraged.
5. Make it fun. Maybe it’s just me, but I like to make things fun. Even the mundane. So I establish little rewards. Right now, I’m filling a jar with colored stones each time I clean out an area of my house. I’ve created a list of 30 projects. My goal is to have 30 stones in that jar by April 30th.
6. Be accountable. Nothing like announcing in a blog post that I’m going to fill that jar by April 30th!
7. Ask for forgiveness and pray for help. When I realized that I had judged my late mother for her shortcomings, I needed to ask God for forgiveness for being judgmental. And I believe that “nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) I know, with His strength, I can change habits and simplify my life. So I am persistently asking God to help me defeat this giant. “His grace is sufficient for His power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
How about you? Do you have a longing for a simplified life but feel stuck? Join me on the journey to order and simplicity! And if you’ve already achieved breakthrough, please share some of your keys to success. I’d love to feature you in an upcoming blog post.
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