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Monday, August 15, 2011

Living Simply, Part II: Time Management

It’s funny. I posted last week on “living simply” and I asked for some feedback. And I got some. More than I bargained for, actually. When I wrote the post, I was thinking exclusively in terms of material simplicity. I was thinking about simplifying stuff -- homes, wardrobes, cars and so forth.

But then y’all had to go and mess me up. So many of you wrote to me about how you’ve been simplifying LIFE and simplifying the ways you spend your time. I was intrigued.

So I’ll do material simplicity in another post. For now, let’s discuss this… how do you generally organize and manage your time in order to keep life simple? After all, we've all only got 24 hours in each day. There's always so much to do -- and so little time.

For me, living a simple life used to mean this – I kept life easy. Five years ago, I had a 2 year old, a baby and a husband. I cared for my toddler, I nursed my baby, I served my husband, I cleaned and decorated my home, I attended church, I occasionally entertained friends – and that was about it. Back then, living simply meant that I kept life as uncomplicated as possible. I avoided undue “stress,” I kept my calendar uncluttered, I tried to stay home as often as possible and I maintained good boundaries with my outside commitments. Easy, safe and uncomplicated. That was simple.

These days, living simply means something different to me. I’d say my life is probably far busier, much more complicated and exponentially less easy than it was five years ago… but it’s simple. It’s simple because it’s singular in purpose. Dan and I know where the Lord wants us to focus and how we should spend our time – and it’s those things we chase after. We do our best to simplify by shutting out the clutter of the rest of it.

But here's the thing: Sometimes we do have to spend money to achieve this kind of simplicity. We only have 24 hours in each day and we all have to sleep… if you’re focused in one area, another will likely suffer. We not only have to prioritize -- but sometimes we need some help to make it all come together.

My friend, Alysia, sent me this email in response to my last post:

What in the world is a simplified life, especially for growing families? For me it's this: whatever reduces financial debt and frees up time for you to be available to God's precious moments each day.

If that means you can sit by a friend who needs a shoulder to cry on because you drove over in your gas guzzling SUV and then throw a frozen pizza in the oven when you get home- that works.

If someone pays for a lawn service so their husband has time to reach out more to his family and community, then there’s nothing wrong with that. He could live "simple" and buy a push mower and clip the edges with scissors...but imagine how much time he'd spend by "simply and greenly" taking care of the lawn.

I could live simpler by only eating what we grow in our yard...but I can tell you I would never see another living soul all year because we've tried gardening and it takes some serious time and attention.

So here’s where I'm landing on this one: I don’t think living simply necessarily means living bare bones. But I definitely don’t think living simply means making life as easy, comfortable and uncomplicated as possible.

When I die, I want to enter Heaven bloody, bruised and completely exhausted from the work I’ve done here on Earth. After all, that’s why He's left me here. I’ll rest and live a comfortable, uncomplicated life once I’m Home.

To me, this is simple living: To hear His voice, to know your callings and to chase after those things with "gladness and singleness of heart." 


Wild Olive said...

And I love the amazing wisdom from your friend, Alysia. What a great point! I had never thought of living simply in this way. I get it now! I get it!
Love it.
And love you,

love said...

yes, yes, yes!!!

i have so much to say about this, but i just can't right now. let's meet at the park tomorrow instead and just sit and chat! please?! =)

i SO get what your friend is saying here and agree whole-heartedly!

Anonymous said...

This was amazing. She shares my feelings. It is all about our relationship with Jesus and our relationships with people.

SallyP said...

What a wonderful and thought provoking post by your friend. I feel she nailed it. God doesn't call all of us to have the same situation, whether it's financial, family, work, etc. BUT, if we focus on God's plan for our life, and make it priority - how much simpler can it be?

Lexi said...

Love this...To me, this is simple living: To hear His voice, to know your callings and to chase after those things with "gladness and singleness of heart."


Sophie said...

Great post Shelley, and Alysia is right on.

I believe if your main focus is God then everything else will fall into place. When we overcrowd our mind and life with other stuff and don't allow God to take control things become too complicated.

Callie Nicole said...

This is so true - thank you for sharing this! I'm in the same spot you were five years ago right now, and it's good to be reminded to keep my focus in the right place as I am serving the Lord in my home!

Chasity said...

Thank you for the wise words. Couldn't agree with you more.