Anyone who has known me or read my blog for very long at all knows that I love Joanna and Chip Gaines- the stars of the HGTV show, Fixer Upper. The power-house couple does everything from making decrepit, old homes look brand-new to encouraging my heart in deeper spiritual truths.
I know, I know. That sounded a little bit dramatic, right? But by golly, it is just oh-so-true.
The Gaines have taught me what it means to love your spouse well. They have shown me the beauty of hard work. They have reflected a sort of grace that I would like to reflect myself. Basically, they've modeled all the values that I was already raised with- both on-screen and off.
But what I've been learning most recently- just before I hopped on my laptop, actually- is that I am NOT living a simple life, but I need to be. And not only that, but a life of simplicity takes daily effort. Not sure what I mean, or wondering what this has to do with you? Keep reading to find out!
The Truth About SimplicityIn the Spring issue of The Magnolia Journal, Joanna Gaines wrote a piece about how living a life of simplicity is something that is fairly complex. We tend to think that we can just say "Okay, I'm going to start living simply now..." and then everything is hunky-dory. But that just isn't the case.
When we really get down to it, living a simple life is a daily choice. It's a daily effort to choose the activities, the to-do list, and even the thoughts that matter most and produce true peace and simplicity in our lives. And yes, it is true that living simply is a personal matter. There isn't an easy answer that is one-size-fits-all. We each have to decide where we need to declutter in our own lives.
But Joanna says that if we take the time to look within and think about it, we will often intuitively know where the clutter is in our lives. We can usually realize on our own what is stealing our peace, our joy, and our simplicity. And, as she puts it so beautifully,
"...when I do choose simplicity and keep choosing it in whatever ways matter to me, I am different. I have room to breathe. I have space to see clearly. My instincts are sharper and- to be really vulnerable here- my words are kinder."
-Joanna Gaines, The Magniolia JournalI am so thankful for that one little page in TMJ this Spring. I definitely know of a few areas that I need to declutter so that they stop encumbering me. I'd like to share some of them with you in hopes that it might encourage you to look within and see where you could use a good "Spring-cleaning".
Selfishness and LazinessI love me-time. I love to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. And I don't want anyone or anything to try to stop me. Even when I have important or pressing tasks to take care of, I am far more focused on myself and my comfort. This is called laziness and selfishness.
Unfortunately, these are both human nature and will be the toughest to change. The biggest issue with these is that they go beyond the surface. They are actually a spiritual problem-one that can only be broken through the grace of God and His intervention. It requires being shaped by Him. And to be shaped by Him, I need more and more of His influence in my life. Less TV and music about making myself happy. More scripture, prayer, and positive TV, books, and magazines. More focus on God's will- less focus on my own. Those things are easier-said-than-done, but incredibly necessary.
My ThoughtsWhen I look at the things I think about, it's often there that I find many of my distractions and burdens. Whether it be a negative thought about someone else, one that's selfish, or one that is filled with fear, anxiety, or paranoia, many of my stressful moments in life are connected with my thought life.
But daily choosing simplicity means choosing thoughts that are productive, helpful, and good. It doesn't mean that I am blind to important issues, but it does mean that I filter things through God's word and reject thoughts that hinder me from the life I am called to live.
My Need to "Fix It"Sometimes, living a simple life means relaxing, remaining silent, and staying out of people's problems. I always want to help fix problems for people and while that can be a good quality, it can also put me in a position of being far too stressed about issues that aren't even my own. When this happens, I accumulate more anxiety and less simplicity.
I have to realize that not only is it not my job to fix everyone's problems, but I am also not capable of doing so- and I have to be okay with that. No one expects me to fix all their problems for them, so I don't have to make my life more stressed trying to.
Cleaning HouseFinally, I need to simplify by actually Spring cleaning our home. Cleaning our home well means that I have space in my mind that is free from stress. A clean home means I no longer having to wonder when I'll be able to "get around to" vacuuming. It means no more deciding whether I'll clean OR get my blog work done. It also means that I don't have to fear being embarrassed if someone drops by unannounced. It makes me feel organized, secure, and gives me more peace-of-mind. This feeling frees me to live a more simple life.
I hope this post encourages you to work daily towards a more simple life. I know it isn't easy, and I know that finding what works for you will take some time, but I believe that living a life of simplicity is healthier for our minds, our bodies, and our spirits. And if that's the case, then surely the effort is worth it!
Do you struggle to live a life that is simple? Where can you improve and where do you do well already? Comment below!