This is a word I often wish was as easy to do as it is to define. Living simply is easy to talk about, but hard to do. One of our Family values is Simplicity. We say it like this;
We value Simplicity: We commit to saying no to good things so we have room to do great things.
There are so many good things out there to do , to see, to experience and be a part of. This is a blessing of living in the freedom of the Western World. We often do have the world at our fingertips. So what are we going to do about that? We only have one life to live, right? This reality is freeing and binding to me. I appreciate and enjoy all the opportunities and options that are around me, especially as a mom with two kids.
What I have learned as an individual and what we have learned as a family is that it is far too easy to pack our days and our weeks and even our months with too much. Most of it may even be fun and good and healthy, but in the end it empties us completely. It’s exhausting. We have been running and talking and running and playing and running and shopping and running and cleaning and running until we collapse. Brian wrote a bit about this in his post “Would it help if there was more than one of you?”
When our family talks about Simplicity, we focus on three things:
- Our Home
- Our Schedule
- Our Hearts
- Our Home is our haven. It is where we gather as a family to rest, work and play. When our home is too full, rest does not happen. Now please hear me, I am a perfectionist and a bit OCD, but I am not talking about a spic and span cleaned up house all of the time. I am talking about having a space that is peaceful and restful. Part of that does include having spaces in our home that are picked up and pleasing to the eye. Our main living area is mostly that space. In other words, don’t be surprised if our basement and bedrooms are a bit disorderly. Our home is lived in for sure. However, as a family we value having space just to be. It means we help each other clean up our messes and organize our stuff. It also means we say no sometimes. We say no to spending money on things we do not need. We say no to being loud and wild in our gathering spaces. (Yep, family with young children here). We also say no sometimes to hosting gatherings in our home. This does not go to say that we never have people over or that our house is never a mess. Those that know us well can vouch for that. But we know sometimes, we need to say no. Being intentional about this provides rest for our bodies and souls. Our senses can rest. There is simplicity in our surroundings. There is peace.
We work hard to protect our schedules. I probably don’t have to write much about this. Busyness is something everyone can relate to. There are seasons when we are just plain busy. It happens. Life happens. As I mentioned before, there are so many good things to do and be a part of out there. How do we even begin to say no? We still have those seasons when falling into bed is all we can really remember, and hitting snooze in the morning uses all the energy we have. Here is the thing, we do not enjoy living that way. It does happen, but we also know with a little bit of intentionality and courage to say no, we are healthier. We are healthier both individually and in our relationships with one another. For that reason alone, we choose to say no to good things sometimes.
The Heart is our center. How we feel, what we think, and what we do all affect the heart. When we are stressed, exhausted and overwhelmed, our hearts are a mess. The way we react and interact to each other and to those we encounter throughout our day really does depend on the condition of our hearts. We are human. We have hard days. We are not perfect, but we can be intentional about tending to our hearts. One of our favorite scriptures as a family is from Matthew 12:34 “…Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” As a family, we intentionally spend time talking about and practicing heart things. We share highs and lows. We pray with and for each other. We express our emotions and feelings and learn to grieve, celebrate, forgive and bless each other.
We know if simplicity is a part of our lives, our home and our schedules our hearts will reflect that. It is so simple and yet so hard. It requires humility and intentionality. I will say it again and again. There are days and weeks we stumble and fall short and life feels messy. Our family Mission and Values bring us back. We will never fully arrive to perfection in this lifetime, but we have experienced the fruit of living in rhythm and simplicity. So we continue to seek The Lord’s wisdom and guidance as we learn to live as a Family On Mission and encourage others to do the same.
What are some of the things your family values? We’d love to hear about you.