How I’m Simplifying My Life and Finding Peace

How many of us look longingly at a photo of an Amish horse and buggy and think to ourselves, “Oh, if only life could be so simple!”

Amish Horse

 

Ah for the simple life! The words themselves conjure up images of sitting in the tall prairie grass with the wind blowing my hair, watching the clouds scuttle by. Or perhaps the simple life is sitting by the beach reading a book. Or relaxing by the fire chatting with friends!

My husband has this amazingly simple bedtime routine. When it’s time for lights out, he gets up, uses the bathroom, brushes his teeth, turns off the lights and goes to bed.

That’s it!

My bedtime routine looks something like a two-hour drama: get things ready for breakfast the next morning (this includes, but is not limited to, things like putting my Bible at the table and a few Kleenexes, getting my teacup ready and preparing the coffeepot for the next morning), cleaning up the kitchen, scrubbing the sink, getting dressed, taking out my contacts, brushing and flossing teeth, saying goodnight to everyone in the house (which tends to lend itself to another flurry of demands…”Mom, can you…?”) and perhaps FINALLY turning off the lights and going to bed!

His routine is simple.

Mine is not.

My routine is terribly, almost painfully complicated.

I’ve been taking part of the 21 day Go To Bed Challenge, which I like a lot better than the Rise Up Early challenges. (Not that I mind Rising Early, but I prefer rising early and being Rested, rather than exhausted!) So I’ve been working on tweaking my bedtime routine. I’ve discovered that it really can be a whole lot simpler than I tend to make it.

For some odd reason, I seem to enjoy complicating things.

Perhaps it a bit of perfectionism, or maybe pride (which is at the root of perfectionism!) but the tendency to complicate matters goes for lots of things – not just my going to bed routine.

For example, what about God’s Will? His Will is very simple. It’s determined by my role in life as a child of God, wife, mother, homeschool parent, grandma, child, pastor’s wife, and missionary’s wife. If I merely do what I am supposed to do in these roles by taking responsibility in these areas, I will be doing God’s Will by “doing the next thing.” This may involve simple things such as making my hubby some tea, putting on some laundry, or by correcting some papers for my homeschool students.

But I tend to complicate matters by doing other things…making unnecessary phone calls, spending time on Facebook, reading blogs, or even just shopping … just because I feel like doing something else.

So here are some things I’m doing differently this year:

  • I’m streamlining my priorities. I’ve boiled my life down to only 5 Things I really need to do:
    1. I alone am responsible for my relationship with God.
    2. I alone am responsible for who I am, to become all I can be.
    3. I alone can be Kevin’s wife.
    4. I alone can be my kids’ mom, and my grandkids’ nana.
    5. I alone can manage my household.
  • I’m saying a lot of “No’s” to anything that doesn’t fit in those priorities.
    1. This means saying no to a lot of invitations for other activities
    2. This means not checking Facebook every time I turn around.
    3. This means not watching, listening to, or reading much that doesn’t help me grow.
    4. This means scaling down on my time I spend working out.
  • I’m investing my time – and my Christmas money! – in things having to do with those priorities.
    1. I bought a new Bible this year, the AW Tozer Bible
    2. I bought several new books, including The Incomparable Christ, How to Get Things Done in Less Time, etc.
    3. I’m taking time to read.
  • I’m trying to schedule Free Time into my day
    1. Time to relax
    2. Time to meditate on all the things I’m reading
    3. Time to play games with the kids
    4. Time to create. I haven’t actually created anything yet, but I have some thoughts, and that’s a lot better than it has been in the past.

It’s this amazing ability to complicate matters that can get me in the biggest trouble! So this is my goal lately. To simplify my life. From my bedtime routine to my morning routine to my Quiet Time with God, my desire is that my life will be simple, and that it will simply glorify the Lord.

And that’s what life is all about.

 

Do you tend to complicate things? What are some things you can simplify in your life? How do you do it?

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