Thursday, October 27, 2016

10 Steps to Simplifying Life

One day as I was planning my week's menu and grocery list, I was dawdling online looking for recipes that sounded good to me. I finally found enough dinner menus to fill out the week and tried to make sure I either had all the ingredients, or they were on my list. Then I checked the clock. How did it get to be 10:30?! I grabbed my list and purse and ran out the door to get the groceries done before I had to be at an 11:30 appointment.


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When I arrived at Aldi, I realized I didn't have my shopping bags. That meant that while I was shopping I would have to be on the look out for empty boxes or buy some bags at checkout. As I wandered up and down the aisles I remembered that I was supposed to remind my husband to bring a book home from his office. I scrounged through my purse for my phone, but I didn't have it with me. Must have left it on the counter.

Have you ever had days like that?

I have to admit that saying, "One day" at the beginning makes it sound like it never happened before. But that has happened to me many times, along with forgetting my grocery list, and many other goof ups. 

How can we simplify our lives and remember the things we want to and need to? I have a few suggestions:

First things First -- The first two big things I do in the morning are have my Quiet Time with God by reading the Bible and talking to God about what He is teaching me from it and exercise. If I don't get my QT done before breakfast, as much as I enjoy it, I have a lot of trouble settling down to do it later in the day. If I don't start my walk by 8:15, it keeps getting cut shorter and shorter, until I scratch it off the list completely. So I have to do these two actions first.

First things Last -- I am a big night before believer. When I had four kids in school I always made lunches the night before and set the table for breakfast then, too. I made sure the kids uniforms were clean and available, checked to make sure they had their backpacks packed (giving this responsibility over to them more and more as they grew.) Those things aren't a part of my life any more, but if I'm planning to work the next day, I plan what I will wear and have a lunch ready. Saturday night I gather all I need to take to church on Sunday morning. The fewer decisions I have to make under time constraints the more likely I am to do well and arrive with everything. (Guess I should do this with grocery lists!)

Do the Big Thing -- Some jobs look big, but really aren't. Things like making your bed. I remember as a kid when I was told to clean my room, if I really didn't want to, I would make my bed and then I would realize it wasn't such a big job. If I was eager to straighten up my room (this did not happen often!) I would do everything else first and then when I felt like I had worked a long time, but the room still looked awful, I would make my bed and voila! my room was done! Dirty dishes and clutter fall into these categories, too.

Do the Little Thing -- When you tossed that paper at the trash can, did you miss it? Bend down and pick it up right away. Did you spill some milk when you poured yourself a glass? Grab a rag and wipe it up. Did you notice the light switch has dirty finger prints? Get a disposable wipe and clean it while you are thinking of it or you will think of it 20 more times. Why waste good thought time? Little things add up to big things very quickly.

Do not Pinterest -- This is the modern way to "keep up with the Joneses." Your house does not have to look like that. Your kids' birthday party does not have to be like that. Yes, I Pinterest, and I recognize that it is fun to look through the ideas. But don't get caught up in yours having to look like theirs. 

Pinterest -- You can use Pinterest to help simplify your life. I keep my recipes on Pinterest. That way, anywhere in the world that I am, I can bring up my favorite recipes. This is great when I'm visiting my daughter in Germany or my daughter-in-law in Chicago. 

Think of Others -- When we are thinking about others, our decisions are simplified because we want to do what is best for them. So whether your goal is to make your neighbor happy, prepare your child for adulthood, or see to the comfort of your parents, when you consider the goal, it makes figuring out what you should do a lot easier.

Think About Yourself -- Whether you are an introvert like me who needs time alone or an extrovert who doesn't enjoy it, having some quality time to think is a good thing. This does not mean zoning out while binge watching Netflix. Adding white space to your life can take many forms--a walk, a talk with a thinking friend, a group Bible study, reading a page or two from a thought provoking book, journaling, praying with a friend, just sitting and enjoying the beauty around you. These kinds of things will calm down your racing heart and mind and allow you to move through life more calmly.

Live for Jesus -- "Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33. When seeking God is the first and foremost goal in your life, the other things will fall into place. You will begin to see what is truly important and what is not. I struggled with what to talk about with my 95 year old friend when she was dying. So many things seemed to lack importance in the face of her entering eternity. That kind of rearranging of what's important happens when Jesus is our reason for living.


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More ideas to simplify your life.

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1 comment:

  1. I realize that I was so much more structured when my kids were in school. I too was the prepare the night before kind of mom. Since the kids are out of the home and I work from home writing I haven't figured out that rhythm. Adding into it my new book release I feel a bit out of control. I think the overall message for me is planning. I'm letting life just happen too much. I'm going to try and come up with some plans to help. Thanks for your post!
    ~Sherry
    xoxo

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