I'm learning that some things seem like they will be more work, but in truth keep me grounded and relaxed, and therefore simplify my life. Examples: gardening, chickens, homeschooling, and drying our laundry on a clothesline. These acts help me appreciate how God has blessed our family.
A friend commented saying this:
YES. If I mention I'm stressed people are always saying I should just give up homeschooling, or don't have any more children, get rid of the chickens. They don't get it. Why would I feel better if I got rid of the good things in my life??
Yes! Exactly! Amen!
I spend 20 minutes hanging the clothes on the line. That's 20 minutes I spend thanking Jesus for the clothes on our backs. For the ways He's provided that day. For the birds and the sunshine and the breeze. Then I get that time again when I remove the clothes from the line. I wouldn't spend that time in prayer and communion with God if I was throwing the wash into the dryer.
I spend hours each week in my garden. Every single spring I am reminded of how creative God is that He came up with the entire process of growing things...from seed to fruit-bearing plant. Late summer and fall are the times when I praise Jesus because He provides in plenty! Then, we get the opportunity to share our abundance with others!
Each day I spend time with God. I immerse myself in His Word and His truth so that I can fill my heart with it.
These things take time, energy, & effort. They require me to be intentional. They encourage me to be patient and appreciate delayed gratification. They calm me down, and draw me closer to Jesus.
Better yet, my kids are learning to enjoy these simpler things. They enjoy handing me clothes pins. They show pride in the plants they planted. They are more adventurous eaters because they had a hand in growing their food. They pull weeds. They ask to help. We spend time, get this -as a family! because many of these "chores" are made lighter with more hands to help.
Now, I recognize that the things that interest me may not appeal to others. Chickens aren't for everyone. Clotheslines aren't practical everywhere, and pollen can be an issue in places. Not everyone has a green thumb for gardening. Homeschooling isn't the best option for every family. Cloth diapers gross some people out (that was me not long ago!). I get that. I do.
What I would like to encourage is that you find what does make you happy.
What calms your soul?
What gives you energy?
What promotes peace in your home?
What encourages a deeper communion with Christ?
What makes your life more simple?
It could be art.
Coffee with a friend.
Some sort of serving others.
Learning something new.
O, the possibilities are endless...because we are all different!
O my word! What if we all did this?! I'm not suggesting you disregard your responsibilities, but for crying out loud...do something you enjoy every single day!
When we immerse ourselves in the things that bring us joy, we are more likely to live lives of gratitude. We are so much more likely to appreciate all we have been given when we take time to see what God has given us.
God wants us to live in His joy. He has given us desires to do, be, & create things that make us happy because he wants us to be happy. The joy of the Lord is indeed our strength to get through the tough stuff in life so we can enjoy the good. We are meant to live life to the fullest. My fullest and yours look differently, but that difference is so beautiful!
So, go, friends! Paint a picture. Read a book. Drink a coffee. Dance. Sing. Be joyful! And, then thank God...the Giver of all good things!