Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Simple Life

This morning God has provided the time, and opened my heart to share something that I have been feeling deep within, yet scared to embrace. Terrified actually. Why? Because so many people I know would look at me and really think I have not only fallen off my rocker, but is apparently trapped underneath it.
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The more I draw closer to God in this relationship, the more I become filled with a desire to return to a more simple life. Return, as if I ever lived a simple life. (sigh) Return as in the days before I could ever imagine being a wife and a mother. Not in a way that I want to lose this beautiful responsibility, but return as in go to where my heart belongs. Simple. Free.

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I was just transferring the laundry from the washer to the dryer, so that I can make sure it is completely taken care of and put away before I leave for the day. In that moment right before I had settled on what I would cook my family for dinner, and this overwhelming feeling of contentment began to take place. With each piece of clean and fresh laundry that I was putting in the dryer, I felt so much more drawn to living simply. Yesterday I was home, thanks to our school district for taking time to honor Columbus Day. In that time, I made sure we all had clean sheets, deep cleaned the outside of our deep freeze (ick!), made the cutest of paper owls (hand cut by me!) for the bulletin board at school, and picked up around the house. We ended the day after a big TV/computer break (first implemented by me, then followed up with a service interruption by Xfinity!) then good ol hometown football on "Monday Night Football".

As I sit here sipping my coffee (Thank you God for such a beautiful thing!), I realize my heart LONGS for the simple life. I am not saying I do not want to go to work, for I feel God has called me to work right now. I am however saying, I want the way I live my life to be more simplistic then extravagant. I am not a fancy kind of girl ~ though I love beauty around the home, tables set, a clean organized environment. Look at it like this. A lot of people I know who live extravagant lives are NOT happy, not content (always on the search for more), and live in a life that is pure chaos. I have NO desire to live unhappy, discontent, and chaotic. For me, living a simple life brings peace, joy, happiness, contentment in all things, and even a life of organization.

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Spending two hours yesterday making the cutest paper owls I ever did see, amazed me! I did not spend a dime on these little guys, just used the supplies I already had on hand. Did it mean I gave of my own time for a project for work? Yes. But let's face it. I work in an environment that needs the heart of sacrifice, otherwise your cheating the children in your care and even yourself. I deep cleaned the outside of the deep freeze that sits out in our washroom. Our washroom is NOT enclosed all the way around, and it leaves a lot of outside "weathering" to be found in the most obscure places. With our humidity, damp weather, shared with dusty winds leaves for a disgusting door on our deep freeze. I am happy to admit that after spending a whole ten minutes on it, it is nice and clean! THAT is a simple thing to do, but it felt wonderful to do it.

Clean laundry makes me happy! Waking up and walking into a clean kitchen and living room in the morning is a beautiful start to the day. Packing my husband's lunch and making him breakfast in the morning makes me happy! Seriously! My husband doesn't need to bring home flowers, and jewelery to win my heart! Give me a hug and tell me you love me, and my heart flutters!

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I can honestly say though, I can't enjoy a simple life if my mind is full of expectations of the day, of others, of how I want situations to go. If I have these expectations how can God really move in my life? Sure He can if He wants to, but having these expectations stifles His ability of what He could be doing in my life. Why? Because I am not looking at what He is doing, I am looking to see if my day meets my expectations! ~ Whoa! That's deep. Let's look at it another way. Say I plan to get up one day and have the desire to cook a big breakfast, a picnic lunch, and a candlelight dinner for my husband. Sounds delightful right? Well it would be if he didn't already have plans to skip breakfast, meet his friends for lunch, and go for a nighttime fishing trip. My heart would be crushed! Yet, we make all these  plans in our day, NEVER asking God to join us, let alone lead us. I am sure HE feels just as crushed!

There is no better way to live a simple life then to ask God to lead our day, and then BE WILLING to let Him lead! It's easy to say we let God lead our day, but if we are continually making plans .... it doesn't leave God room to work. *sigh*

I would much rather live a simple life! I've stopped making a menu plan for the week. Some will say this is unwise, but let me tell you ~ God gives great inspiration if we allow Him that joy! He does orchestrate a great meal plan when we seek His leading. Yes this is a small thing, but until we learn to trust Him in the little things, we can't embrace the BIG things He is really doing in our life.

Living simply brings many forms of criticism. Am I ready for that? Yes. Do you know why? Because it doesn't matter what others think! They can't see what joy, contentment, and peace I have in the quiet moments of my house, in my heart. Hopefully they CAN see it in my life through the way I handle situations, the conversations I entertain, and just those everyday actions that reflect deeply who we are within. It is hard to always remember, those things speak VOLUMES over how we *think* we handle ourselves.

Living simply also allows me to see God's boundaries in my life much clearer then if I was setting my own boundaries. Sometimes His boundaries are more gracious then I would EVER give myself. Sometimes they are more strict. Either way ~ His way is so much better!

I like reruns of Andy Griffith, Leave it to Beaver, I love Lucy. Yes, (until they fixed it), all black and whites. Why? They embraced the "simple" life. They put God first (well, not sure on I love Lucy), their spouse next, children followed, and they desired to bless their home! I long to honor and respect my husband in a way that pleases God. I desire to raise our children in a way that leads them to a strong life in the Lord, and family. My heart cries with joy at the times I spend taking care of our home. I do not find discontentment in these areas until...... my eyes begin wanting more, doing more, and becoming greedy. Yes, wanting more then what you have in ANYTHING, is being greedy. Want more hours at work ~ that's greed. (Why not pray, and ask God to provide for whatever need you may have?). Want your husband to be more affectionate then he is? Yep. Greed. Be blessed by any kind of affection you get. Long to have that new set of dishes that so and so has? Yep. Greed again! Wow!

Living a simple life leaves you NOT longing for more then what you have. It leaves you at the end of the day, able to reflect back and be able to count your blessings. Sometimes living simply is a way that you indeed "die to self". Living in anyway that is NOT simple ~ is living a selfish life. Why? Because it leaves you wanting more ~ and in many times, taking more then you deserve. God gives what we deserve, stop trying to take more then HE has given! "Stop making God chase you!! Chase HIM instead!"  Living a simple life, allows you to be free to worship God, and to indeed chase Him!

I realize that living a simple life sometimes means letting go of things that aren't so simple. I tend to get "invovled" online and that robs me of time to do what I am being called to do! I do love to turn on some great Christian leading ~ such as music, podcasts, etc, and then get busy. Some of my most favorite days have nothing to do with time spent online, but rather BEING in my home, and actually being present! When we aren't living simply ~ too often we are spread so thin life seems overwhelming. I am over that! I am over living that way. I am over living in a way where I feel torn between doing what I know is right for my home, family, and relationships and failing others. I would rather fail them, then fail God Almighty!

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