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Posts from the ‘OneWord2011’ Category

Embrace Simplicity

This was the challenge from Alece Ronzino at the beginning of the year:

One little word can make a big difference.

No resolutions.

No list of goals.

Just one word.

And a commitment to focus on your word all year long.

Let it shape you, guide your decisions, and help you grow. And you’ll discover the big impact one word can make.

My OneWord – Simplicity.

The Christian walk is purely simple and altogether complex.

Shallow enough for a child and bottomless for a theologian.

Grace is bare, yet we could never pull back all the layers.

My desire has been to simplify — consumptionthe family schedule

Not just for the sake of elimination.

For the sake of seeing and hearing the people at my table

for who they really are.

For the  sake of seeing and hearing Christ

for who He really is.

We miss the truth when we neglect simplicity.

We have to remove clutter to enjoy the simple in life and the complex in life.

I’ve received more by having less.


Simplifying the Family Schedule

This is the second part and definitely the more difficult of my two posts on how I am attempting to simplify.  The first post was on cutting out clutter, and this post will focus on the desire to keep our family schedule simple.

Because we are at the beginning of the school year, the last two weeks have been terribly chaotic.  With registration, school supplies to be bought, orthodontics appointments, cheer camp, finishing up swim team, needing groceries for an empty pantry, and more, I have one response — crumbling.  I crumble like the weakest of the weak.  Am I weaker than most when it comes to busyness?  Am I believing a lie from satan whispering everyone else can handle this. you’re weak.  Through prayer and seeking counsel from others, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions:  Maybe I don’t handle busyness well, but maybe we weren’t created to be this busy.

Regardless of how we handle a schedule, what ultimately should rule our calendars is what our Creator has called us to.  For me, I don’t think I will look back on my life wishing I had run my child to just one more soccer practice, but I may wish I had spent just one more night around the table telling him of the goodness of God.  I may wish he had seen me open my table to a hurting family to tell them of the goodness of God.  If our schedule doesn’t allow for time with God, discipling our children and discipling others, as a family, we are not doing what God has called us to do.

Here are a few ways we try to keep our schedule in check:
1.  Kid activities to a minimum (usually one per child — this fall, Sarah has an activity that will take more time, so Abby will not be allowed to have one until around Nov.)
2.  Depending on the weekend, Sat. or Sun. will be our day of rest.  That means no friends over to play, no birthday parties, etc.  Our kids would never rest if it were up to them. 
3.  Chris and I check with each other before we say “yes” to anyone else, and if we want to catch up with the “guys” or “girls,” we try to do it over lunch so that it doesn’t take up family time at night.
4.  Some of our priorities include homework, family dinner (where friends are welcome – call for time) and small group

Can you love God and love people on the soccer field?  Yep!  But, I believe I am of better service to others when I am not running crazy.  Keeping our family schedule whittled down is what works for us.

Something to consider:  “If you call yourself a disciple of Jesus, and you are not helping other people follow Jesus, I just don’t know what you mean. I’m not attacking you, I’m just saying help me understand -Jesus gave his life for others, so if you are not evangelizing or discipling, I’m just not sure what you mean when you call yourself a disciple.” —Mark Dever, in a Gospel Coalition panel discussion.

Your comments on simplifying with money were helpful.  Will you weigh in and share how you simplify your schedule?

Lower Consumption Lower Possession

I recently wrote two posts on simplicity as a part of OneWord2011.  The first was expressing my desire for simplicity, and the second gave two ways I try to focus on a simplified life.  In getting feedback from some of you about the posts, I have been asked to give some examples of how I try to simplify.  Later, I will do a post on simplifying the family schedule, but for now, I’m going to focus this post on keeping consumption to a minimum and not having too much in our possession.

1.  My girls got new backpacks for this school year.  When I cleaned out the coat closet, I found 6!!! other backpacks!  Ridiculously enough, I was tempted to keep a “backup” for each of them.  Now, I’m trying to find children who really need them.  The more we have, the more we have to keep up with.  If you’re not using it, get rid of it.

2.  Chris and I have recently cleaned out our closet.  The rule is, if we haven’t worn it in a year, it goes.  Try to buy clothes that are classic, not trendy.  I’m not trying to give style tips here.  If it’s trendy, we’re just being consumers, focusing on appearance, and it will be a waste when the style changes in a month.  Also, I pass our kids’ clothes on to friends or children in need before I use Goodwill as a last resort.  It’s a preference, but I get to hear neat stories when I know who has them.

3.  My shock over this tip will show you what a consumer I am.  One of the most offensive things I read in a spiritual disciplines book on simplicity was to drink water.  What?  No diet coke?  No Izze? Water is the simplest, healthiest form of consumption.  Just think about it. (Don’t worry.  I still drink plenty of coffee).

4.  Most of the landscaping in our yard is second-hand.  When family members and friends are digging up bushes, we are happy to take it off their hands.  I’ve also been known to pick up azaleas that strangers have dug up and put on the side of the road.  I don’t know, maybe that makes us bums, but it saves money.

5.  Share with friends.  We should all share baby furniture/items, but we can go beyond to other household items, cars, homes, etc. to prevent one another from having to overspend. If this overwhelms you, start small, don’t throw out the extra food you cooked, share with a friend or neighbor, then move up to bigger items.  Also, teach your children to start giving things to others at an early age.

You’ve heard from me, but I have missed a lot.  I need more ways to cut consumption and move things out of my possession.  Others need to hear from you, too.  So, please comment below, and enlighten us.  No cutback is too small.

Specifically Simplicity / OneWord2011

I am eager for God to create in my heart an anthem of simplicity — to cut out the clogging and bondage of duplicity.

Yesterday, I expressed a need for simplicity in my life.  Clutter often gets in the way of what I feel God is calling me to, but I would like to be more specific about what that looks like for me.

1.  Keeping our family schedule whittled down to few activities.  When we are running around non-stop, there is little room for work, quiet, study, meditation or time to focus on Gospel-centeredness and Kingdom efforts.

2.  Trying to keep consumption at a minimum.  What I’ve learned is the more we have, the more we have to keep up with.  It’s bondage.  Not freedom. Simplicity means not having too much in our possession but also sharing what we have.

“Covetousness we call ambition.

Hoarding we call prudence.

Greed we call industry.”

Richard Foster

Simplicity comes down to time and money in my life.  The above are my desires.  They are not my accomplishments.  I fail at them daily.  I hope to look back at the end and believe my time and money have been well spent. So far, I’m not anywhere near satisfied.

What clutter is clogging your path?  What are you doing to simplify your life?


Reaching for Simplicity / OneWord2011

I fear I am not meeting my full potential in Christ.  Do you ever feel there has to be more?  If the same Spirit dwelling in me is the one that raised Christ from the dead (Romans 8:11) and if the Sovereign God of the universe is for us (Romans 8:31) and if we ask anything in His name, He will do it (John 14:14), there have to be higher standards.  The higher standards aren’t meant to impress others or to reach some worldly success or goals; they are a personal calling I feel tugging at my heart.  The standards will not be met only by work but by first answering the call of God on my heart.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching the raised bar?  Our biggest obstacle is always sin.  It may be fear, the idolatry of comfort or our family, pride, greed or a moral failure. Many times what is standing in my way is the neglect of simplicity.  I desire to seek first God and His Kingdom, but there is always a great amount of clutter causing me to seek other things first.  I may be on the right track one moment, but in the blink of an eye, I can get wrapped up in the world around me and lose sight of the reality of Christ. Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline says, “conformity to a sick society is to be sick.”

I am eager for God to create in my heart an anthem of simplicity — to cut out the clogging and bondage of duplicity.  There is a bar to reach, the plumb line of the perfection of Christ and all He has called me to, unmet potential that I want to fight for. There is a higher standard that deserves my all.  It was all accomplished for me on the cross, so for that, I will continue to reach. (Philippians 3:12-14)

I have this plaque on my shelf that says “simplify” to serve as a reminder.  I often joke that it is so covered with clutter that I can’t see what it says.