The Simple Life
You may hear the phrases intentional living, sustainable living, live simply, tiny living, organic and intentional living. There is another saying that rings true, “there is nothing new under the sun”. So, although these concepts are not new, they may be new to us.
About ten years ago, I was living in a 2400 square foot home, with my husband, 2 sons and 2 dogs. We were homeschooling during the day, and involved running a concert house 4 evenings a week as a mission to youth in the current music culture. It was an intense season, filled with routine chores, lesson plans, homeschool field trips, home church, raising preteen boys, and running a concert house with shows that lasted into the wee hours of the morning. I longed for a simple, and organized life, but who had time for that. What I did have time for was organizing our schedule, cutting some things out and prioritizing things that were important to us.
When we first began to homeschool, it was quite an adjustment. The term unschooling made total sense, as I dealt with feelings of guilt when I would take my boys out to do things during normal school hours. It took time, but eventually we became acclimated to our new structure and found what worked for us. It was also during this time, we began meeting in homes for fellowship instead of in a church building. In this way, we were able to focus on what mattered to us and invest in people. We were no longer spending time with busy work, programs or tradition just because it was what was expected, or because we had always done it that way. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. In a way, I felt like I had gone off the grid, and missed some aspects of the larger group dynamics. But overall, I enjoyed the flexibility and control we had over our schedule. It allowed us to include our boys in everything we did running the all-ages concert house. The fact that we did it as a family and they were witness to the good and the bad that happened during that time absolutely shaped them into the men they are today. They witnessed how we valued each person who walked through the door, and learned how to talk to anyone, by confidently initiating conversation regardless of how others looked on the outside or what their beliefs were.
As that season of life gave way to the current season, I’ve seen the change of a million little details of what consumed my life then to what does today. Every season comes with a unique challenge to overcome but also a grace to be in it. My homeschooling days are through, and my sons are both married with homes of their own. The intense season of raising a family has given way to a season that some call the encore season. That seems appropriate, the job I poured 100% of myself into came to an end and I have moved on to a new adventure to pour myself into. But even though the scenery has changed, the challenge to live simply remains ever present in my heart. In the previous season it was through my schedule and my attitude, but today it also includes my surroundings. I have let go of many boxes filled with things to store. The train track, dinosaur bucket and box of cars I said I would never get rid of have moved on. I have simplified my wardrobe down to next to nothing. We keep downsizing in hilarious and almost ridiculous ways, like going from a California King to just a basic double bed, and from a large home to just over 800 square feet. We have chosen to be intentional in keeping our things simple, for the purpose of investing in what is most important to us… people. I don’t judge others with big homes and lots of things because we each have seasons to increase and to pull back. I am not sure how small we will go in this season but I am so content without right now. We just pulled out the stovetop in our place and plan to replace it soon but for now, I’m having fun finding ways to function without it. My happiness doesn’t come from having everything I want or from things being perfect around me, it has more to do with the attitude of my heart. I’m so thankful I can trust my Father Above to supply for me everything that pertains to an adventurous and simple life of following Him.