Less Stuff, More LOVE – Part 3

Welcome back to Less Stuff, More LOVE. If you haven’t read the first two articles in this series, please hop back in time and read them here: Part 1 + Part 2.

In this article I cover:

What does it meant to simplify your calendar so you have more time to do what you love?

How does having less help you live and love others more?

How does serving others help your family bond?

First I’d like you to consider how many other cultures weave healthy habits into their view of life and therefore, live long, happy, fulfilled lives. They prioritize simplicity because they have no other choice but to do so.

If we as a culture weave a simplicity mentality and healthy habits into our daily lives, we’ll stop working so hard to break unhealthy habits and instead live long, happy, fulfilled lives as well.

Now, let’s dive right in…

What does it meant to simplify your calendar so you have more time to do what you love?

When we decided minimizing and simplifying our lives was going to help shape our family and drive our decisions moving forward, we first decided to tackle our time.

We cleared our calendar and canceled 90% of our “obligations” (outings society expected of us). We said “no” more often than we said “yes.” Then one by one, throughout the year we slowly reintroduced outings and obligations back into our calendar after much prayer, consideration and discussion on how each one would impact the peaceful life we were aiming for.

Letting go of outside expectations to be a part of everything then led us to let go of To-Do Lists.

Our outside family and friends pretty much thought we were crazy. But we held fast to this verse during this transitional time:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

You see, we had to create this space in our days because God was calling each of us to focus on Him and His design for our days. Not focus on our own agendas.

If you’d like to do the same exercise then I first encourage you to pull out your calendar or planner and browse through just the next 30 days of your planned life. 

Does anything make you feel anxious? Is there a meeting or an appointment or a family gathering that puts a dark cloud over your head? Do multiple extracurricular activities for each child mean you’re eating on the go the majority of the week and skipping homemade, healthy family meals?

What about work? Do your tasks feel overwhelming or negative – in other words, do you feel what you’re accomplishing with each task helps you grow as a person in your career? Or are they time-fillers because you want to appear productive? Can you use technology to your advantage and have meetings online or over the phone, saving you and the other person drive time? How can you be more efficient and productive?

Keep in mind, planning is a good thing. Don’t stop making plans. It’s just more important to understand how your daily plans and activities shape your life. 

Take back your calendar. Do only what brings you and your family joy (Serving others does bring joy so I’m not saying let go of these obligations – just don’t sign up for them if it will drain you or your family). More on this later…

Create empty space in your calendar each day. Allow yourself and your kids to be bored and have no other option but to find something creative to do. Allow time and space for yourself to just be – be with yourself, be with God, and with each other.

Do this for a year and I promise, you’ll be leading the life you’re destined to live.

How does having less help you live and love others more?

Here’s the deal –– most people want to help others. Most people know being generous will ultimately bring them more joy and happiness.

Motivational and spiritual speakers, celebrities and authors say; “Just do something for someone else NOW. Giving anything is better than nothing. Don’t waste one more day living for yourself.”

But hear me out –– Our society is SO caught up in having, doing, being more. My plea is we DO take time to strip away the unnecessary, the complicated life we hold on to so tightly, so we can go forth fruitfully, with gusto and never look back.

So, if giving an ounce of your time, energy or wealth feels too heavy (keep in mind it should hurt but not so much it kills you), then simplify your life, your home and your heart first and then make little leaps forward.

And then…

  • Being present with your kids daily will be exciting,
  • Serving others won’t be seen as just one more thing on your to-do list,
  • Loving others will be easier because you won’t be caught up in your own modern stresses,
  • And loving life will become easier because you won’t be distracted all the time.

How does serving others help your family bond?

I have dreams of heading to Africa and Asia with my kids to serve those with less.

But for now, God has called us to serve others closer to home.

The important thing is we listen to what He wants for us in each season.

It’s not about getting your kids excited about serving others. It’s about showing them that it’s a part of life. Feeling excited and happy naturally results from doing good, meaningful work together.

Remember in Part 2, where I talked about how “your children want to do life with you, not apart from you”…?

If you feel called to serve, in whatever area that is, bring your kids along if you can.

Many parents feel they can hit two birds with one stone and serve others while “getting a break” from their kids. I strongly encourage you to get your “me time” in another way and let your kids witness you serving others. It’s not enough to tell them “oh daddy was serving food to the homeless this afternoon while you were at practice.”

Will it make it harder, oftentimes, to accomplish your volunteering tasks with them? Possibly.

But will it be a blessing to have them there? YES. Will this allow your children the opportunity to be a light to others during a difficult time? DEFINITELY.

Serving in any capacity with your family helps you all realize how fortunate you are. Dinnertime discussions become more about how we have too much, how we can use what we have to help others and our experiences together doing just that.

Studies show families who serve together are happier together. #Imadethisupbutithastobetrue

 

Next week in my final Part 4 of the Less Stuff, More LOVE series, I’ll be covering:

How does managing screen time for everyone help create a healthy family?

How does doing any of this help me in my situation?

MOST IMPORTANTLY – WHAT CAN IT LOOK LIKE FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY TO LIVE INTENTIONALLY, FILLED WITH LOTS OF LOVE, EVERY DAY?

As always, With Love.

 

 

 

 

SIMPLE + FREE MAMA OVERLOADED DISCLAIMER:

Please also know I remember the days when tiny humans took over my life – one who needed 100% of my attention and a colicky baby with reflux and allergies who wouldn’t sleep. Our home was old, gross and a mess. But it was a home and I was grateful for it… And then we started homeschooling our oldest when he started Kindergarten. Those crazy days remain crystalized into my memory. I’ve totally been there… I walked in a haze for almost three years wondering how on earth I was functioning on zero sleep while trying to give my all to God, both of my children and my husband. There simply wasn’t room for anyone or anything else. But I knew I wasn’t alone and neither are you. 

What I discuss had to come in small habitual shifts and with much prayer and time.

In the end – we committed each day, month and year to realize the life we’d been called to live. And you can too. Just… give yourself some grace in this season.

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