By Kelly Carr
We strive to choose topics for The Lookout to help you grow deeper, be challenged, and look at life from a different perspective. Not just you—we also benefit by working on the articles. This week’s theme of simplicity is no exception; it’s definitely a topic I need to hear. The concept is something I find admirable in others; however, I struggle to attain it.
I come from a family heritage of holding on to things. (I won’t use that dreaded term pack rat.) I admired my parents and my aunts when they had to dig through my grandparents’ house after their passing. It wasn’t a case of hoarding, but there seemed to be stuff tucked away in every nook and cranny. My grandparents didn’t cling to things as their identity or store up large collections in pride; rather, they didn’t want to waste anything. If something had the slightest possibility of being used again, they held onto it. The value is admirable. The result is—crowded!
If you fall into this category, evaluate two things: First, can an item really be useful? Second, will you truly use it? If it can be useful to someone but likely not you, then donate it. Shelters can use quilts. Churches may use craft supplies. Your old hats, scarves, and accessories could be dress-up fun for the grandkids. The list goes on. Share your stuff to give it new life.
My downfall is sentimentality. I tend to hold onto cards, school projects, even ticket stubs because they have a fond memory attached. (My husband just thinks I like piles!) Some tips I’ve learned about my hindering habit: I can make a scrapbook of vacation highlights and toss the rest. And I can take digital photos of my daughter’s school project; then we’ll remember it, but we can toss the shoebox diorama from three years ago so it no longer fills up her closet.
I realize simplicity can also be applied to my schedule. I need to allow more down time rather than filling every moment with something to do. This will clear out some space to simplify my thoughts.
Lately I’ve allowed a busy schedule to fill my time. As I’m rushing from task to task, I miss out on details and don’t notice or appreciate all the ways God is moving.
More than that, the busyness has created a habit of thinking I need to fill the quiet with noise, information, or some distraction. When I sit still for two minutes, I feel the desire to pull out my smartphone and look up something—because I can! It may just be the weather forecast or my digital grocery list, but still, the head space I could use for contemplation, observation, or prayer is instead filled with other things.
When I am reminded to stop and seek simple space, I become aware of all that I’m blessed with. I appreciate the little things rather than taking them for granted. I notice the way God’s Spirit is moving, guiding, and responding.
Simplicity is good. It can be applied to many areas of our lives. What is God nudging you to simplify?