Journey to Simplicity

So.. how did I simplify my life?  Well.. I am still working on it. It is a project that has already taken about 6 months. It was a journey for sure and something I think I will have to continually work on. Let me start off by saying, most of the simplifying was internal.  I had to change the inside of myself before I could change the world around me.

 

I never had any amazing off of the chart talents. I could do many things decently, but didn’t have any super amazing talents. I was however, very capable and could be trusted to get things DONE! That became my thing.. getting things done. People could count on me, I became the “go to girl”.  The more I rushed to do everything and prove how capable I was the more frantic of a life I began to live. My identity became tied to being capable. I didn’t like to admit I couldn’t do something.  I prided myself on having too much on my plate. My soul seemed to stay in a constant state of busy. I wanted to impress everyone, including my husband with how much I could do. I was trying to be accepted and loved instead of just being.

Through a process of journaling, praying, studying God’s word, studying about my personality and reading I began to rediscover the person I am at my core.  She is much more like the person I was when I was young. This girl likes to sit outside under trees and read, she likes to enjoy coffee with whipped cream on top, she loves the smell of rain, she loves to cook and gather people around a table, she longs for deep connections, she doesn’t have a  problem being still, she easily saw herself as a daughter of the King, she was carefree, her trust was in the Lord, critics didn’t bother her, compliments didn’t drive her,  and her life ambitions were to be available and connected to those she loved and cared about.

I had drifted a long way from who I was. It just happened naturally over time.

I decided it was time to leave pride, busyness, pushing, trying, striving, and exhaustion all behind. It left me very bare and broken. I had used all of those things to try and hide my flaws and imperfections. I felt vulnerable for the first time in a long time.  I had to disconnect a lot, say no a lot and embrace the fact that I had been hiding I was not ok for a long time. I let myself feel, I let myself be broken and fragile. It was in that time that God’s light started shining through this cracked pot. That light begin to heal and restore  me in a way that I can only describe as supernatural. It felt like sunshine on my face on a beautiful fall day.  All of a sudden everything became more meaningful and enjoyable. I feel like my soul has a new way of living again. I enjoy the simple things again. I don’t have a fear of missing out, I don’t feel I have to prove anything to anyone, I feel a sense of simply being grounded. Being here, where I am.

It is still a process I am in and when I get stressed or uncomfortable, I am tempted to go back to the old way I was living. As this process continued inside, I started simplifying things on the outside.

  • I cleaned out all of my drawers and my closet. If I wasn’t crazy about it, I got rid of it. If I didn’t love the way it fit, I got rid of it. If I didn’t wear it the last time it was in season, I got rid of it. If it had holes in it, I got rid of it. If it was stringy and worn, I got rid of it. Part of me struggled with thinking I was wasting things. ( I gave it all away) Part of me worried that I may need something I was getting rid of again one day. But, I continued on and now.. my drawers are organized and clean. My closet has tons of room. It is sooooo much easier picking out something to wear. There are less options and I love everything in there.
  • This made such a difference, I moved on to my bathroom. Half -used makeup and lotion bottles – gone. Old hair products I “might” use again – gone. Less, less, less made my life more, more, more.
  • I moved from room to room and did this. Our home is now a place where we live, not a storage facility.
  • I plan my days with LOTS of margin and I don’t feel guilty anymore if everything is done and I have time to read, watch Netflix, have coffee with a friend or whatever else I want to do.
  • I plan my meals out. I hate not knowing what to cook. So I make myself sit down, plan out my meals and grocery shop. It makes the rest of the week simpler.
  • I clean out my fridge and pantry every week. It only takes like 5 minutes each time now.
  • I keep a freezer full of chicken breasts, veggies, Sister Shuberts rolls, Sister Shuberts sausage rolls, and a few other things in case we have guests coming I didn’t plan for; I don’t have to run to the grocery store.
  • I do a load of laundry every day.
  • I ridded the house of junk drawers. Junk goes in the trash.
  • I realize no matter how hard I try, our home will never look perfect. We live in it. So, I learned to also let things go. I choose to “be there” instead. Be there when my kid wants to talk, play basketball, play UNO or watch tv with me. Be there when my husband wants to take a walk or just sit and share our day. I am done trying to protect an image of  who I am and I am just being me.
  • I started learning to do things from scratch. For example; I make French Press coffee and got rid of the Keurig. I am enjoying the process of things so much more than just the end results.
  • We have a weekly chalkboard calendar in our kitchen, at the bottom there is a magnet board where I keep a shopping list that Eric and Ethan can add to it what they need. I have no idea if they are out of deodorant or tooth paste and this helps me a lot!
  • I realized I can craft a life that is more free and reflects who God made me to be.
  • I have learned to play again and not be so serious.

 

These things may seem simple, but it has all changed my life. I no longer settle for a busy life for the sake of being busy,  I want a meaningful soulful life. I am ok with not always being ok. My life is more honest. I have fewer surface connections and more deep meaningful ones. I don’t feel the need to impress anyone anymore, and before I was living for that. I feel more like the girl I use to be.

As the journey continues, I will let you know how it goes. One of the books that helped me the most was “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist. She went through the same thing, on a much larger scale of course. I felt like she was writing exactly what I felt, except she is an extrovert and I am a functioning introvert.

I will leave you with a quote from her book that rocked my soul, “This is actually my life, and it doesn’t matter a bit if it would be lovely for someone else to live. What does matter: does it feel congruent with how God made me and called me?”

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9 thoughts on “Journey to Simplicity

  1. karenfballinger says:

    Thank you so much. Two things that stand out to me: 1. “It is still a process I am in and when I get stressed or uncomfortable, I am tempted to go back to the old way I was living.” It’s ironic how when we get this way, we do tend to go back to the things that kept us feeling overwhelmed in the first place. For me, I guess its a habit, familiar territory and dealing with the stress makes me feel validated. 2. While reading your list of changes, I felt myself becoming anxious. And the fact that I did just from reading YOUR list, lets me know I have a problem. I want simplicity. I want to close the thousands of opened files in my brain and focus on just a few at a time. I want my life to look different. I want to be different. Thank you again. I seriously, seriously needed this.

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  2. Hillery says:

    This goes so well with Pastor Eric’s message Sunday! And lines up with my “turning thirty” process. In progress indeed! But I have never been happier because I rely less on people and feelings and fully on the love of Christ and who He is in me. It’s ok to enjoy life! It’s not a task list or expectations that must be met. It’s an adventure.. and I’ll never forget that again.
    Also, reading your declutter process is exactly how this “nesting” thing is going for me. I could clothe a small country with tshirts😂 Love you and love seeing you free and happy!

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  3. Lisa says:

    Inspiring and so similar to who I am/want to be (minus the cooking part, of course 😉). I like to think God walks with us through challenges so we can inspire others who may face similar circumstances. Thanks for sharing your journey to spark others into simple contentment.

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  4. Toni you really do inspire me and I must say we have fallen out of coming to church. My faith has seen many challenges aswell because of my health. I still try to do better daily in my walk so I did start Bible Journeling but my problem is being faithful, committed and orgainized on a daily basis. I’m going to stop trying to care so much about my past failures. I know God stands with me but I still have a hard time with forgiving myself and letting go of old scares. Thank you for having this post. I’m very excited about Saturday Night in Ocean Springs because I can actually make it without Jim. I won’t be sleepy from my medication. I’m really praying he will come back with me. Love your cooking post too!

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