Turning Toward Simplicity (again)

A few years ago, I read a book that challenged my way of living and set a fire deep within me to change the way we lived. I was running madly after simplicity – purging, going without or finding alternatives to things we “needed” before – I questioned everything we did and bought and put into our bodies and believed. I often looked like and felt like a hypocrite as I navigated this, I continue to do this unapologetically. I am pretty sure it is impossible to never be a hypocrite if you are committed to change. It is a rabbit hole, and like Alice, you are never too sure what you will find next or if your thoughts or rambling will ever make sense to everyone (hint: they won’t).

Fast forward a few years, and after some burn out, a season of feeling depressed and listless, I am finding my center again and trying to re-visit this balance.  I am compelled and deeply convicted, and I think the best way for me to achieve what I am setting out to do is by writing, sharing, and recording it.

This is not a new idea.  There is a reason there are so many apps for tracking different habits. We love to see progress and the more we see it, the more we want it to happen. Benjamin Franklin was onto something when he set out to develop his own virtuous character and came up with a system to train himself in acquiring what he calls the “13 Virtues“.

It was a pretty simple system. He created a chart for each virtue he wanted to become better at which listed the days of the week. Focusing on one virtue per week, Ben would evaluate at the end of each day how he did.  If anything stood out during the day as a failing in the virtue for that week, he would put a mark on his chart for that day.  Once he went an entire week without any marks on his chart, he felt confident that he could then begin to shift his focus to another virtue, and so on.

You become what you measure.

Besides being a somewhat bookish person who has been journaling and jotting things down since I was 10, I have seen a significant difference in how much I do (or maybe I am just noticing?) when I take the effort to write it down each day and watch for a pattern, telling myself what to do better or not at all. I have had a personal website or blog in some form since I was 12, so this format makes sense for me. Writing is like running for me – more than a hobby, it is an emotional and physical need.

This blog was originally created to focus on finding simplicity and gratitude in my life, but it has shifted over time to more broadened subjects like motherhood, faith, and photography interests.  I am still developing ideas of how I will go about making significant change again, putting on practices and habits that embed themselves in my being and become a way of life.

I have recently been challenging myself to write and read every day, and it has proven to be a sweet spot in my day I am eager to make more and more time for. There isn’t an overwhelming amount of extra time to put toward myself as a mom, but carving out that space is do-able.  I am not 100% sure what I will be writing about all the time or what I will actually share here, but I’m sure this place will also change and evolve as I go deeper into these issues. My hope is to really come up with solutions to help myself and (maybe, possibly, hopefully) other readers make lasting lifestyle changes that match our convictions. So, here’s to maybe being a more regular blogger and sharing more of what is in my heart.



experiencing true freedom

"release" by David Hayward @ NakedPastor.com

“release” by David Hayward @ NakedPastor.com

Do you ever experience a thought that comes seemingly out of nowhere that brings you a new perspective for the way you are living your life?

Today, a fresh and good and deep word came to me.

While I write much about the empowerment that comes through giving things up and shifting our focus to do things that many will not argue against as being “good” in nature, there is so much more to this all.  

And I feel the need to begin to convey the stronger and more compelling reason I feel so much freedom and joy in attempting to live in a mindful and small way.

It is Christ.

This morning I sat in the service at our small church and heard words from my father in-law for the first time in a while.

He spoke about how we are all in some sort of bondage and must serve something.  Whether it be God or man or money or powers or a certain list of rules or material possessions or an obsession with a certain lifestyle (good or bad), we all are serving something or someone.

Why are we told in the scriptures to not place idols above our God if humans didn’t have a problem with creating them and allowing them to rule our lives?

And so, I began to think about bondage.

"entangled" by David Hayward @ NakedPastor.com

“entangled” by David Hayward @ NakedPastor.com

Images came to mind of the poorest of the poor, poverty stricken with no way out,

the faces of young girls forced into the sex trade,

and even those who are mastered by their materials and money, who are missing out on so much by chasing after something that in the end will not last or bring about true happiness or joy.

And what about those who feel called to drastically simplify?  To intentionally living more lightly in order to give more generously, to being a good neighbor and living in a way that is attempting to steward the earth and bring about justice to those who live in it?

For idols are not always something corruptive.

Perhaps even at times they are beautiful and good,

but when not in the proper place in our lives they can enslave us just as much, if not more than, that which easily entices and traps us into bondage.

It is written in the gospels that “man cannot serve both God and money”, but what good is it if we throw away all our money and desert our possessions and yet, still do not have the love of Christ in our hearts and lives?

Humanity may receive something positive, no doubt, but we are not experiencing the full measure of freedom and grace in our lives.

Whether it was the pastor’s words this morning, or the fact that I was sitting still without interruption or both, something stirred in my heart.

A short and simple sentence: “be a prophet for me”.

I am not here to simply spread a message of simplicity and how awesome and amazing I think my life is because of it.  I am here in part to show others what freedom is promised by learning to love and live and give and walk like Christ did.

I started writing as a way for me to pursue more deeply this process of change in my life and perhaps, encourage others down a similar path.

"metamorphosis" by David Hayward @ NakedPastor.com

“metamorphosis” by David Hayward @ NakedPastor.com

Today I am reminded of the boldness that is required, which I have been called to, in order to bring about the peace and freedom and transformation I long for in my life and the life of those close to me and across the globe.

I am broken and imperfect and small and lovely and deeply cared for and everyday I am finding myself as part of something bigger and greater than I could imagine.

– b.e.