Friday, September 26, 2014

Choices: Minimalism

So sometime back in 2013, I found the Hands Free Mama blog. She emphasized being intentional about putting down your devices, living 'hands free,' slowing down, looking into your children's eyes, and enjoying the moments. To grasp what really matters. She tells beautiful stories about restoring connection with her daughters and repairing those relationships after she had lived distracted for so long. I cried every time I read one of her posts for the first few months. Her posts resonated so much with my heart for how I want to live my life.

At the end of August 2013, I wrote in my prayer notebook how I felt God was calling me to simplify, to slow down, be still, create margin, and seek peace.

And right around then, a book called Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families was available as a free download. It echoed my heart in so many ways as it talked about simplifying your schedule (among other things) and learning to prioritize what is most important for your family.

And then, someone in my Facebook feed happened to share this blog post, Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids from the becoming minimalist blog. It was perfect timing! Because that blog was FULL of practical suggestions for simplifying your life and de-cluttering your home. And the heart of the blog was so in line with my heart on why I wanted to do this--emphasizing benefits like having time for what matters most, less stress, less debt, more freedom, and more time for investing my heart into meaningful things.

See, this is how God speaks to me! He plants it in my heart and it grows until I'm like, woah, God, I really want to do such & such. And then, all of a sudden I'm inundated with resources or confirmations or whatever. Ask and you shall receive, right? Beautiful. Awesome.

And even better timing, I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with my second son and nesting hit me hardcore for the entire month of October! I cleared out my house from top to bottom and donated carloads and carloads of things that we just didn't use and didn't need. It felt so freeing!

One of the first places I started was the kitchen. I donated all the things we weren't using (which was a lot, because I'm a pretty simplistic cook and very rarely bake anything) and moved things off of the counter. (Because now I had room in the cabinets!) It made such a difference having all that clear counterspace! It looked so much nicer and felt more inviting and made the neat freak in my head very happy.

And from there I was hooked! It's seriously addictive. I couldn't wait to get to the rest of the house!

One of the other big things I tackled was clearing out Will's toys. Can I tell you how much easier it has been to keep our house clean since I simplified his toy bin and got rid of all the toys with tiny pieces that would end up everywhere?! And with a newborn arriving soon after, it could not have been more needed!

Since then, this mindset of minimalism has helped me to live more simply. I'm more intentional about the things I buy or bring into our home or what we might add to our schedules. I'm happy finding ways to live with less which also enables us to be more generous. I'm a big fan of ministries like Compassion International and World Vision, so this is a big bonus for me.

I can spend less time cleaning and organizing because I've cleared out so much, which means I have more time for my boys and my passions. Another really huge benefit is finding contentment with less, too. It does wonders for your heart!

This is my testimony: I've chosen the intentional simplicity of minimalism over our culture's typical excessive consumerism and cultivated greater peace within my heart and my surroundings. I totally recommend it! :)

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