With 2015 just beginning, it’s the perfect time to make resolutions and commit to positive change for the coming year. Now, I’m not going to suggest that you buy a gym membership or drastically change your diet and eat nothing but raw vegetables. And I’m certainly not going to give you a list of “20 Ways to Do More in Less Time.” Those kinds of resolutions often fall by the wayside, and then we are left feeling stressed by the seeming failure and resentful that we couldn’t make those lofty new goals stick.
What I’d like to suggest instead is that you and your family embark on a simpler lifestyle—however you choose to define that. Because who of us wouldn’t want to slow down and really savor each moment instead of feeling the need to continually rush around in order to get it all done?
Reasons for Living a Simple Life
- Getting Our Priorities in Order. If we were to list the most important things in life, it’s doubtful that material possessions would top that list. Instead, we would probably list intangibles like “more time with my family,” “a meaningful ministry,” or even “regular, guilt-free time for myself.” By prioritizing, we will have the ability to fashion the kind of satisfying life that addresses what’s important to us and gives us a sense of purpose.
- Encouraging Family Life—The Gift of Time. Give your family the best of what you have to offer in terms of time and energy, and develop good relationships with those around you. You can accrue wonderful memories over the years as a result of simple, everyday activities. Remember: Each day has the potential and power to be memorable and special. When we free up time in our day to be with our family, we get to fill those hours with whatever sparks our individual and collective interests. Work together. Play together. Worship together. Time is precious!
- Reduce Stress—Spend Less. First Timothy 6:10 tells us that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” When we choose to eschew some of life’s extravagances, we’ll find some of our stress melting away. We won’t spend as much time fretting about making ends meet because our ends are closer together. And deciding to live with less stuff also means those possessions won’t be demanding our constant attention to use it, clean it, maintain it, or pay for it. Relief!
- Stewardship. When we satisfy every whim and desire, that abundance makes it easy to forget that all we have comes from God’s hand. We run the risk of believing that it’s our hands that have provided our abundance. But the Bible tells us otherwise: “The Lᴏʀᴅ sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts” (1 Samuel 2:7). Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the Lᴏʀᴅ’s, and everything in it.” So as we manage our households, we’re really managing what belongs to the Lord. Now, if what we produce is really God’s, then it stands to reason that we can be generous with His supply and give freely and joyfully to those in need. After all, it’s not as if God will ever run short. Our task is to be good stewards of His stores, sharing with those in need and being grateful for what we are blessed to have.
- Spiritual Blessings. As we go about the business of daily living, we can develop contemplative spirits because we notice again and again the providential hand of God. We can draw close to Him wherever and however we choose to live. Remember that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Joy is sure to follow!
Want to learn more about embracing a simple life? Check out What the Amish Can Teach Us About the Simple Life: Homespun Hints for Family Gatherings, Spending Less, and Sharing Your Bounty.
Georgia Varozza, author of the popular Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook (nearly 60,000 copies sold), enjoys teaching people how to prepare and preserve healthy foods, live simply, and get the most from what they have. She works in publishing and lives in a small Oregon community. Visit her online at www.georgiaplainandsimple.blogspot.com.
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