I love simple.
Simple isn’t lazy or boring or lacking in creativity. Simple is wisdom and intentional and freeing!
I have been led by God over the last couple of years to simplify my life and it was so difficult at first. I went from leading a Children’s Ministry, working as a part-time administrative assistant at the church, running a print business from home, leading a women’s group, managing my household, and raising 3 kids plus a newborn… to just serving as a nursery volunteer and loving on my own family.
I was trying to do too many “good” things and was feeling stressed because I wasn’t doing anything well. God brought me back to what is most important; my relationship with Him, my marriage, and my children. Making sure that I’m doing those well first and foremost is what He wanted from me.
If my priorities are healthy and my relationship with God is strong, then Grace and peace will come as I step into the things that He’s called me to pursue, but if I’m pursuing things outside of His will, it’s also outside of His grace and I end up trying to do it in my own strength. That doesn’t end well, people.
In 2015 God gave me two words for the year: OBEDIENCE and SACRIFICE. He asked me to lay down my plans, my goals and all the plates I had been spinning above my head. After closing my print business, and a tearful resignation from my positions at church, I began to focus on my children and my home. God also spoke to my husband that year to pursue a different career. Little did I know that just a few months later God would transplant us in San Antonio so my husband could go back to school.
In a 9 day whirlwind, we put our house on the market, sold it to a cash buyer and moved. 9 days from start to finish!! (Had to be a God thing!)
If I had not taken the steps of obedience in simplifying my life and stepping down from my ministry a few months prior, it would have felt impossible to leave. But I had been obedient to God, I had already trained my replacement at church, it was functioning beautifully without me, and that freed me to be able to move and follow where the Lord was leading our family.
When we arrived in San Antonio it was a difficult transition. I had surrendered all control to God in moving but I constantly questioned His plan in all of it, especially after our surprise pregnancy three weeks after arriving (Evelyn was only 7 months old!). It was a tough time and I was depressed.
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
In 2016 God gave me the words: REST and JOY. Again God called me to a season of simplicity. God’s plan was for me to focus on strengthening my family and adjusting to having five children, in a new city, with a new life, and new friendships and He was wise in that! The 5 kid thing kicked my butt for a year! I had to say no to birthday parties and travel plans and dinner invites and worship leading opportunities and conferences that I really wanted to go to. It was hard to leave the house, but that’s ok because God called me to stay home and nurture.
Don’t get me wrong, I never stopped serving the church. Serving is always God’s plan. Where and how much is the question, not if you should at all.
Because I had simplified my life, I had time to pour into relationships God put before me. My husband and I led a couple’s community group in our home and I led a women’s group. I had time to pursue these women and walk with them in their own journey with Jesus.
I keep my home very simple, in fact, many people would consider my white and natural wood decor boring but I have so much loudness and boldness and energy in the personalities and the activities of my children that I want my home to feel clean and simple and peaceful.
Clutter breeds chaos. I try to remove clutter at all cost. As soon as my children are done with something whether it be a toy, clothes, a changing table or a crib, I immediately give it to a friend, donate it or sell it so I can buy something else that we do need. I’m also cleaning up my diet, eating simple plant-based whole foods.
All of these things remove stress, anxiety and wasted time from my life.
And now God’s asked me to blog and I have the capacity to do that because I spent the last two years simplifying my life and refocusing on what matters most.
If my heart and my mind are focused on the things that God is calling me to focus on, and my home is easy to keep clean because there are fewer objects to deal with and if laundry is not overwhelming because we only have the clothes that we need, then I have so much more extra space or margin in my heart and my mind and my emotions to do the big things that God is calling me to do.
Whether you’re a parent or student (or both), are working a full-time busy career or you’re in ministry and you don’t know how to tell the difference between “good things” and “God things”, it’s so important to make a list of what you’re doing and to submit it to God and ask Him to show you what is your will and what is His. Then simplify!
This may mean saying no to opportunities that you’ve been looking forward to or hoping for and we think, “If I don’t take this opportunity I’ll never get another chance”. But the truth is, if it’s God’s will, He will make a way. It will be in His timing and under His circumstances and with His grace and provision to help you.
God always pays for what He orders. So wait patiently on Him, simplify your life, make room so that when He says to step out into something big, you have the capacity to do it. He will make a way for you because ultimately, it’s for Him.
And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:17 (NLT)
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness! Matthew 25:23 (NIV)