Life has a way of sweeping us up and taking us along with it, doesn’t it? Everyone suffers from “we’re just so busy” syndrome from time to time, so today I’m sharing with you five ways to help you simplify your life and find more rest.
(*Note: these are not things that I have mastered; rather, they are things that I am working on a daily basis, and have found to be very useful and effective.)
2015 was a HUGE year for our little family! Crazy, challenging, and really wonderful. My hubby accepted a children’s pastor position in Texas (What?!) and after selling our home in NC in four days (what?!) and buying a new one on our 3-day interview trip out there (craziness!!), we packed everything up, said our goodbyes, and moved over 1,000 miles away. There is something so very exciting, yet daunting about moving out into the unknown! Fortunately, we serve a God who knows the future, and we have not been alone on our journey.
I think our whole family would agree that we have arrived home. We fit here. We love the heat and sunshine, and the wide, open spaces!
We love the longhorns and the state pride, but most of all, we LOVE the people that God has so graciously surrounded us with!
We have made friends that are as dear to us as family, and friends that we love doing life with!
2015 was HUGE – crazy, challenging, and oh-so-wonderful. We are very grateful.
Every year, our family chooses one word for the year, and last year our word was “Thrive.” That summed up our year perfectly! This year hubby and I both felt like our word was “rest.” My other word is “simplify.”
Now, by rest, I don’t mean lying around the house all day, watching “Gilmore Girls” and eating chocolate ice cream in your pjs (no judgment if you do this!) I don’t think, realistically, we can completely remove the crazy from our lives, so long as we are on this planet and in society. I do, however, know that we can do things and order our lives in ways that make things less stressful and more purposeful, and that God can help us find rest in Him, amidst the crazy.
Here are five things that I’m working on this year – five ways to simplify and rest. It is, obviously, not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good place to start!
1. Daily Devotional and Quiet Time
Y’all, I am going to be really honest – I am so awful at this one. Not good at all. I do not like being still, (or necessarily, quiet) so this one’s super-difficult for me to stick with. I know, in my head, the amazing benefits that come from quieting my heart and mind, spending time with my Father who loves me dearly, and letting Him fill me so that I will, in turn, have more patience with my kids, creativity for homeschool, work, and meals, and so that I’ll have lots more love and grace to share with everyone around me.
I have found a couple of amazing apps that are helping me in this area, SheReadsTruth, and First5, and both feature solid scriptural teaching and Bible reading, along with an encouraging daily word (and some pretty graphics to keep or share!)
2. De-Clutter and Organize
Ok, I’m not so great at this one either. I may have slight hoarding tendencies, and have lots of little papers and stacks of things that I’m positive I might need one day! I start feeling like the mess is crowding me, though, and I know I need to make changes. Pinterest and the internet are full of amazing tricks and tips to help us de-clutter, organize, and make our homes a more peaceful and useable space.
3. Set a Cleaning Schedule
In ministry school, I lived in a house with four other girls, and we had a weekly cleaning schedule. We rotated them each week, so none of us was stuck doing one thing all the time, and I have to say, it worked wonderfully! I haven’t really done this with my family, but my girls are old enough to help out with more things, so I plan on doing this and keeping the house maintained, rather than letting it get terrible and then having to frantically clean before company arrives! (Am I the only one who does this??) I love this really clean and simple chore chart/shedule!
4. Freezer Meals
I am super-excited about this one!! I’ve never been especially good about prepping meals ahead of time, or buying in bulk to save money. Bulk items always seem to go bad before we can use them, and weekly meal planning and grocery shopping has just always been how I’ve done it. This year, I am trying something new!! I ran across this blog post about crockpot freezer meals the other day, and I’ve got to say, it lit a fire in me! I printed off the lists, went shopping, came home and prepped 13 meals in one evening!
We have already made one of the meals, and besides it being totally delish, it made my afternoon and evening so much more relaxed and peaceful! And there was almost no clean-up! Win-win! Check out this amazing resource, and see if this doesn’t inspire you to try it out as well!
5. Learn to say “No” (in a nice way, of course!) 😉
This last one is a tough one for all of us. There are so many great causes and opportunities, and it can be really difficult to protect your time and family life, while still serving and giving and being a team player. This year I am choosing to focus on my homeschooling efforts, making sure we are home several nights a week to focus on family time, and helping/serving with my hubby at our local church. I do not have a formula for how much is enough or too much, but I think moms have a pretty good internal radar for when things seem to be out of balance. Try focusing on the things that are top priority, and letting some of the extras go. Life might just get a little quieter and sweeter in the process!
I would love to hear ways that you are simplifying your life this year and what your “one word” might be! It is always encouraging to hear others’ stories and learn along with them! Thanks for being part of this journey with me – I believe the best is yet to be!