We are told to get rid of the things that don’t bring us joy, “say no”, “do only what matters”. Yes, I agree with it all. Simplicity so often brings peace. It is a badge of honor to edit our lives.
After all, we say, there are only 24 hours in a day. We need to prioritize – there is only so much space.
But I need to remember what the simple things are, and they aren’t always exactly I want to do. After all, this time, this space, isn’t completely my own. It was given to me by Someone Else.
On one hand, I’m good at
Letting my budding four-year-old photographer take a million pictures of me and then edit them so I look like a zombie – after all it keeps him entertained for a long time so I can check things off my list. (This was the only decent picture out of about 100)
And letting my son make his very own origami bow tie to wear to church- one of my sisters thinks I’m a little too laid back in the child fashion department.
I make space for my kids… my husband…. and myself. It’s that season of life.
But I haven’t been a great friend or neighbor. There are times when I need to say yes when I’d rather say no. Times when a yes creates more space when I think I have none.
Yes I’ll watch your kids
Yes I’ll answer the phone and listen
Yes I’ll feed someone dinner.
Yes I’ll play pretend.
Yes I can help you with that.
Yes we can go watch the rain.
And, of course, there are other times when the answer to all those questions can and should be no. The trick is evaluating which is which. When a no will bring simplicity and peace and when a yes will create space in your life and heart that you didn’t know existed.
I am generally quite content alone. Lately, I’ve become even more hermit like.
When people ask me how I’m feeling these days. I reply Well I went from sick to crazy – Justin loves it (lots of sarcasm). I feel a frantic need to paint, build, organize and finish writing projects before this baby arrives – all while still being present for my family. My focus has been inward.
That’s okay in moderation. But recently I went to Park City for the weekend with my sisters and my Mom. We shopped, talked and chatted. It was refreshing, it was eye-opening. As I learned in a deeper way what was going on in their lives I felt guilty. We talk for at least a couple of minutes several times a week. How did I not know these things?
I resolved to be better.
I decided to say yes more. To pray about more than my own goals. To be more of a light.
After thinking about it for a couple of weeks we decided to shift our family focus. To focus on being a light.
When I asked the kids what they thought that meant they said:
Be a friend
Look for people who need a friend
Work hard with a good attitude
Serve others with time and money
Give stuff to people who need it/share
We decided to try and do these things on a daily basis and also to pick some bigger more organized ways to serve. After listing some options off of justserve.org we decided that first, we would help a local church organize and distribute food.
They were all super excited about it. Then I looked at our calendar and realized that we couldn’t actually do it until November…. it’s a good thing that we get points for trying in life.
Yes, I need to keep life simple. But simple looks different every day.