The real journey began when I realized that I wasn't satisfied. Everything I bought, everything I wore, everything I did to decorate my home I held up and compared to others. If it didn't match up, I wasn't satisfied. My real journey began when I sat in my therapist's office and he told me how important it is to live in the moment. To live in the present. To be content where God has me at any given moment.
I pulled our dinner out of the oven and plated my girls' food before setting it down on the table. "Alexa, play classical music," I said as I lit the candle at our table then called the girls to dinner. We practiced our best table manners, even speaking in our fanciest voices, while I reminded them to put their napkins on their laps. We prayed. We giggled. We ate. Occasionally one of my girls would slip from her seat to twirl in the middle of the room before I reminded her to come back and finish eating.
When we were done eating, my girls helped clear the table and I quickly washed the dishes then we made our way outside where I sat on my porch and read while drinking a cup of coffee. My girls played in the grass below, practicing cartwheels and handstands, drawing a rainbow in chalk, and playing in their fairy garden.
I'm sure those nights have plenty of squeals and screams, tattle-telling and tears. But those seem to fade away in the beauty of joyful evenings with my three girls.
My evenings haven't always been like this, and they aren't this peaceful and idyllic every night. But I've simplified our lives enough that I can enjoy these days. Our schedules aren't filled with obligations and activities, I alternate cooking just a few, simple, meals but change them up enough each time that they feel different and we get a wide-variety of ingredients on our plates.
This journey towards living a simplified life didn't begin when I decided to give away some clothes or pick up "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" (although, I have done both). The real journey began when I realized that I wasn't satisfied. Everything I bought, everything I wore, everything I did to decorate my home I held up and compared to others. If it didn't match up, I wasn't satisfied. My real journey began when I sat in my therapist's office and he told me how important it is to live in the moment. To live in the present. To be content where God has me at any given moment. My eyes watched him intently as he moved across the room, picked up the book, "The Screwtape Letters" and turned to chapter 15. He reminded me that this book is written in the voice of a demon named Screwtape and he is writing to his nephew, a fellow demon, named Wormwood. The "enemy" mentioned in the book is God.
"The humans live in time bur our Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things: to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present - either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.
"Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes temps a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity. It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. Ina word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time - for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays... Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead...
"To be sure, the Enemy wants men to think of the Future too - just so much as is necessary for now planning the acts of justice or charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow. The duty of planning the morrow's work is today's duty; though its material is borrowed from the future, the duty, like all duties, is in the Present."
Oh friends, I wish you knew the gift of the everyday, here and now moments. I wish I could paint a picture of each fraction of time I soaked up into my memory to savor again and again. I long for you to know the relieving freedom I experienced when I began to be thankful and content with the gifts God has given me.
And that is where learning The Simple Life begins.
I want to invite you on this journey with me. I haven't arrived, but I've learned a lot along the way, and I'd love to share with you the things God has taught me. I'd love for you to experience freedom from expectations, freedom from feeling like you need to live up to society's standards, freedom from the overwhelm.
I want you to experience The Simple Life.