How I wish the days weren't so few that the calm and quiet settle into my gut. Because when my spirit is calm, even though there is rushing about and constant noise and toys about and sticky messes and dinner is overcooked, even then I can still delight in Life.
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21Will I ever really regret simplifying, having what I need but not the excess? But if the stuff I have steals my focus and I lose sight of Life, I most certainly will mourn those days.
Oh trust me there are many a days--today was one--where I'm rushing about in my mind, my focus is on everything that doesn't matter, I make the day more complicated by the minute and I'm never fully present in any moment.
Hamster wheel days. Days that fly right by in the moving about and I miss what is happening right in front of my eyes.
Days when I answer without fully listening and a child is discontent for the entire day and another only whines her requests, and it wears on my soul and my tone is clipped and I'm needlessly rushed in everything I do and...and...and...so it goes right on by.
Oh that my heart would slow, that my mind would slow, that even in the whining and discontentment and banana peels on the floor and the going here and there, that I could be present and calm and focused on what matters. That my focus would not be on the "stuff" but on the gifts and the hearts and the Life. The capital "L" life that Jesus came to give.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10He didn't come to bring the mundane and weary, the cluttered and busy, but Life and Life to the full. Life isn't and never will be perfect, but my heart longs for the calm in all of it, to be present and embrace what is before me.
Simplifying helps me focus, it helps me not to be distracted and helps slow my pace. I don't want to live on a hamster wheel. Only with my focus on Him is it possible for my heart to calm no matter the circumstance, because he came for Life and that includes today, not just someday.
These two books have been especially beneficial for me in learning to slow and simplify.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. This book is not about simplicity or organization but through Ann's words I began to learn the importance of slowing down to see the gifts God has given me. Soaking in the sunset or noticing how her eyes twinkle when she smiles, I want to notice and respond in gratitude, but to do so I need to be present in the moment.
Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreide. This book does have practical ideas to implement in organizing and simplifying your home, but the heart of the book is intentional living. "Can you imagine what it would be like to not have to spend hours a day folding clothes, picking up toys, and running errands? It just might be possible to enjoy moments watching your kiddos run through the sprinkler in the backyard or to take up that craft you long ago delighted in sans children." (chapter 7-Organized Simplicity).