This is it. The last day of 2014. There have been so many great things that have happened this year (like the birth of my daughter and the launch of my photography business) that I could spend hours recapping, but instead I would rather talk about the future. Some people choose one word or a "word of the year" to focus on for the upcoming year. In past years, nothing has ever really come to mind. But the closer we began to approach 2015, the stronger I felt that this year... I needed a word. Not just to join in the "hype" or feel like I'm setting some goal for myself - no, this is a word that I believe God has specifically placed on my heart and is teaching me to live by in the upcoming year (and beyond!)
My word for 2015? Simple.
Yes, you read that right. My word is simple.
I don't believe I'm an extravagant person, by any means. But I do like nice things. And my taste is sometimes more extravagant than my lifestyle allows (pointed out by my husband just recently). But the Lord has been working on my heart most recently, through conversations and sitting in other people's homes, through random little things I've read randomly in random places (seriously, random) and through His word - that I need to live life more simply.
Getting rid of the clutter, the packed schedule and the need to stay updated on social media. Focusing more on heart work and less on busy work. Cleaning out the closets, literally and metaphorically.
Life with two small children is not slowing down any time soon. But what I can change is how many toys there are to pick up after playtime, how many clothes we wear, how often we go out to eat and how much shopping we do. I will begin this next year by purging and only keeping things that I love or use often. I've found some helpful tips here and here on how to help me do that (and if I don't return your text message, I'm probably head down in a box somewhere).
Again, we have never been extravagant people. This isn't just about giving up a life of luxury - I truly feel called to a simple life. I want to live simply, so I can be of more use for the Kingdom of God.
I've noticed that when my life is super-packed and busy, I have less room in my schedule for others. And with all the STUFF we've accumulated lately, it takes me hours to tidy up my house. I want to have a home free of clutter, so I can invite people over on a whim and they won't be sitting in my two-week-old clean, unfolded laundry. I want there to be freedom in our budget to buy (or make) someone a meal. And I believe the answer is simple. Less is more.
There are so many verses from Scripture that come to mind when thinking of the way I desire to live my life to the glory of God. Here are a few areas where I am striving to live more simply.
- In appearance - "Do not be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."1 Peter 3:3-4
- In hospitality - "When you put on a luncheon or a banquet, don't invite your friends, brothers, relatives and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you."Luke 14:13-14
- In my home - "She carefully watches everything in her household, and suffers nothing from laziness."Proverbs 31:27
I am super excited for this new year! Excited for purging? Not really. But more than anything, I'm excited to see how the Lord is going to continue working in and through our family. This year has been a growing one (literally) and more than ever, I feel this anticipation of what He is going to do! My prayer is that our lives point to Jesus in all aspects. May the desire to live simply in our physical lives, be a motivator to live more abundantly in Christ!