I love for life to feel simple.
That is where I thrive the best. When life is simple, I have the space to be settled within myself, to experience peace, and to chart an intentional path forward, with eyes ultimately fixed on heaven.
Simple doesn’t mean easy. But it is uncluttered and unhurried.
So this week, I’ve been thinking about what it means to live a simple life, on a practical level. Here are a few things I’ve discovered…
8 Ways to Live a Simpler Life
1. Do Less
It is SO easy to get overburdened in life.
As God has added each precious child to our family, my capacity for other activities has decreased significantly. As my life season has changed, I have chosen to make hard decisions to do less, so that I can do a few things well.
For me this has meant fewer nights out with my husband, fewer playdates with friends, and fewer ministry commitments outside my home. This has been a sacrifice in some ways, but it has also added peace and satisfaction (and simplicity) to my life.
It enables me to invest whole-heartedly into the things God is calling me to be mostly about in this season: my three little children, my home, my husband, the ministry of this blog, and a few other key things.
Because I’m not trying to do too much, I am able to thrive in the things I have determined to be my top priorities. I am ultimately relieved that I am not trying to function outside of my current, limited capacity, but rather, have chosen to embrace this season.
2. Have Less
I have written quite a few words on this point over the life of this blog. Having less is a wonderful, powerful way to live a simpler life. In fact, it is nothing short of ground-breaking in this age of excess.
The less we have, the less we must maintain. The less we have, the less mental space our “stuff” requires of us.
- With a mostly clutter- free home, it is easier for us to keep it tidy.
- With a minimalistic wardrobe, it is easier to select clothes each day that look great on us.
- With unstuffed drawers and cabinets, it is easier to see, access and organize what we have.
3. Rest Better
God made our bodies (not to mention our souls) to need rhythm and rest! When I make intentional rest a priority in my life, it brings a deep-seated peace to my bones.
Personally, I do this by setting aside one day of the week as a “Sabbath rest day,” and also by setting boundaries around my working time –plus choosing to go to bed early!
This has produced wonderful fruit in my life! I would love for you to experience the same rest in your own life, so I’ve put together a free Sabbath Planning Guide to help.
4. Work Diligently
Simple living is not idle living. In fact, it is quite the opposite!
Life is simplest when I take on only what I can do well, and then work at it with my whole heart, for God’s glory! (Colossians 3:23) It’s simplest when I ruthlessly eliminate idleness from my life.
It has also meant retraining my habits and mindsets to gain a measure of control over my home for God’s glory. Over the years, I’ve gone from messy and hopeless as a homemaker to competent and feeling successful. I’ve discovered a few simple yet profound disciplines which have made all the difference!
Now I teach other women what I’ve learned in the Help for the Hopeless Homemaker online course.
5. Be Grateful and Choose Contentment
Life is sweet if we choose to let it be!
We don’t need vacations or trendy clothes or a certain home or a perfectly manicured environment to experience the abundant life Christ came to bring us. All we need is Christ Himself; He is our treasure and lasting inheritance! All that other stuff is quite empty an should not consume us.
We must intentionally prune back our sinful, insatiable longing for more, better, newer, …more. When we fight for contentment and CHOOSE gratitude, we have apprehended the true depth and beauty of a simple life.
6. Plan Ahead
When I take 20 minutes each week to plan out a menu before going grocery shopping, my week is unburdened in a big way!
I only need make one trip to the store for the entire week, and I don’t have to fret about which dinner to make each evening. I know exactly when I must start prepping, and I usually have the right meat thawed.
Planning ahead simplifies life profoundly.
7. Center on God every day
For me, simple living has a lot to do with an inner serenity and connection to God.
I’m not perfect at this, but when I remain unhurried and non-anxious in my countenance and soul, it bears good fruit in every other area of my life. When I take time every day to seek God out, read His word, pray, and quietly sit before Him (cup of coffee as my calming companion), I am able to move through my day with greater intentionality and love. It helps me center in on this deeper, simpler way of living.
Want to start the habit of daily time with God? It only takes 21 Days to form a habit! Here’s how to do it and where to start!
8. Determine priorities and set goals
So much of my life is lived scattered and ineffective, simply because I fail to make the effort to determine my priorities and chart out my time accordingly.
I get in a cycle that goes like this: I am so overwhelmed by life, I can’t seem muster the time and energy to hash out priorities, create goals, eliminate excess, make a plan, and set boundaries around it. Then, because of my lack of a plan, life continues to be overwhelming.
It feels like a downward spiral, and leaves me in “survival mode” when I don’t have to be!
When I take the time to re-evaluate and set goals and priorities (which I have recently done), it makes life much simpler and more effective!