Simplifying has been a process for me. It wasn’t a wake up one day and chuck-it-all type movement. It was over the course of the last year – honestly, it’s still happening – I believe it’s an active continual process that I will remain diligent in over the course of my life. I understand the de-clutter projects are incredibly useful [here’s one I used and really liked], but my less is more ideas are on more of a heart level. Yes, “stuff” is a part of it, but when I say less is more this is what I mean….
Less toxic influence – From media, commercials, sitcoms, movies, books, music, “sound” from acquaintances. We become what we pour into ourselves – whether you think it affects you or not – it’s human nature to absorb and shape ourselves to adapt and “fit in”. I recently started watching the morning news as an opportunity to expand my knowledge base and even have more current affair conversation pieces when talking with friends. Within a weeks time frame, I was disappointed and disgusted. I didn’t even want my kids hearing or seeing half of the things that they were presenting (no matter the station), and instead of feeling more knowledgeable, I felt anger, confusion, and sadness. I quickly changed my mind on that issue and decided to fill my time and brain with something more productive and joyful.
Less space – I realize people have the bigger is better mindset. I realize some people are just trying to aspire to have enough space to fit their families comfortably. I realize each person’s idea of space is different. However, I also know there are corners of my home that are unused, yet always dirty. And as I see some of society shifting to “tiny homes” or RVs and town homes, I get excited. For all of my 20’s I wanted this giant home on the water, more space for friends and family to come and vacation, rest, and play, but what do I do with that space for the remainder of the year when it sits vacant? What’s the purpose of a “sitting room” or “den” if you never sit in it? I want space that is livable, lovable, memorable and functional.
Less clutter – Again, everyone’s idea of clutter is different – the show Hoarders proves that easily. People may view my book -shelf as clutter, but to me they are keepsakes, learning tools, and memories. But, the more I fed in to consumerism and retail therapy, the more stuff filled my space. Did it make me happy? Maybe temporarily when I wore the outfit the first time or put the new décor piece on the wall, but it quickly piled up, eventually got put into a bin for another time and was forgotten about or given away. Room by room, cabinet by cabinet, I accessed my spending, my things and their value and most everything was junk. (Not to say it wasn’t someone else’s treasure – I’m all about second hand consumption) I cleared and cleaned from toys to clothes and I can honestly say I am freer and my desire to refill those spaces that once held stuff, that may have been temporarily pleasing, no longer exists.
Less financial desire – Ok, this is another one that may be controversial for some. But, again – each story is unique. I watched my parents live pay-check to pay-check when we were little. I watched them leave each night to work a second job delivering pizzas just to make ends meet. I saw them purchase their forever home and the rooms stay vacant for months, some years, until they could afford to fill it. I then saw what most would say is success, living the American Dream. I went on to college to pursue my very own dreams and upon meeting Gary we were ready to propel ourselves into what would one day be financial freedom by gaining and working to acquire. We had it all, so it appeared. But we noticed the more you make the more you spend and we were stuck in a vicious cycle that didn’t leave us closer to financial freedom at all. We’ve scaled back because we realized it wasn’t the stuff/gifts that made us happy, but the quality time, the words of affirmation, the physical touch, acts of service. We still desire to be comfortable. We still desire enough financial freedom to travel and also share with others, but we don’t need the prestigious high-roller American Dream to do those things.
Less Busy – I get it – life is busy! And no matter how much you attempt to slow down, you still have meetings, date nights, school, work, obligations, family and friend commitments…but I believe the change is instead of being busy you become intentional with your time. I don’t want to miss an opportunity because “I’m busy”. I think that coined phrase is overused, overworked and exhausting just to say. I want to do the things I do because I’m excited about them, because they make me or my family better, because they have purpose not because I have to – but because I get to! Stop filling your schedule with things that aren’t fulfilling, even if they are an obligation, find the joy in them and slow down, enjoy the moments and take time for reflection. You will find gratitude in your day, when you realize how blessed you are that you have the choice, health, and ability to “be busy”.
Less Church – Uh oh – READ ON here, I might ruffle some old roosters feathers here. I don’t want an hour service that feeds me once a week – I want a place to call home. A place where relationships are built, my heart is fulfilled, my mind is focused and my prayers are answered. Church is within each one of us – but we all have the ability to approach it as a duty or expectation on God. Instead, give me all The Worship, fill me with The Word, and teach me my weapons of Warfare so I can live life like I never have – for Jesus instead of for me.
I recall Friday nights being so excited that we could walk up to the local convenient store to rent a VCR and video and order a hot pizza – that right there is a memory filled with love, appreciation and answered prayers.
So when I say, “less is more”, don’t write me off like I’m a privileged American girl who discovered happiness in my less [but still more than most] lifestyle. I am grateful for my blessings and thankful that my parents displayed a strong work ethic that has helped shape my views today. I want everyone to live a less is more lifestyle…but I want everyone to have his or her abundantly earned blessings…
The question is what kind of prayers are you praying? Are they big enough for God to blow your mind? Are they deep enough to teach you the true meaning of having “more”? And, if your prayers were answered, is your heart and mind aligned well enough to receive it?