Thursday, April 1, 2010

Simple Living...

I've had a strong desire to move my family into a life of simpler living. We have been blessed beyond what is needed. We relish in it, appreciate it, and are grateful for the luxuries we are able to have. But with those blessings have come some challenges. One of those challenges is practicing contentment.

I've learned that it doesn't matter how much money there is in the bank, or how many toys kids have, what kind of vacation is taken, how many pairs of shoes there are in the closet, or how big (or small) your house is. If the means is there (and even if it isn't) it never seems to be enough. We live in a world where more is always better. It's the whole concept fast food chains use to lure in customers...the "Super-Size Me" effect. We have learned, though, that a super sized meal is poison for our bodies. And as I think about that, I realize, too much of anything could be poison. Poison to our emotions, our contentment, our spirituality, our happiness.

Easter is a holiday we celebrate in my family, and for us, it has a spiritual component that represents Resurrection and new life. When discussing with our children how we plan to celebrate this year, or lack there of, we received some push back. Our plan was very simple. We would decorate the traditional Easter eggs, share a special meal and attend church on Saturday evening. The kids would still get their Easter baskets Sunday morning, before my husband and I leave to go out of town for a week. Sounds perfect right? A time for family, fun, and reflection. No new outfits…we have plenty in our closets that will work just fine. No dual, or even triple celebrations at multiple locations, with multiple Easter baskets full of candy we don’t need and trinkets that ultimately end up in the trash…it’s a waste of money and only contributes to the commercialism of our culture.

Every holiday, birthday, or special occasion we seem to have the same battle. I try to enforce my convictions, and another outside force wins. Whether it’s what someone else’s family does, culture and it’s idea of celebrating it’s own meaning of the holiday, another holiday party we’ve been asked to attend, commercials, whatever…this idea of more, more, more is very powerful. I give in too easily. And now, with somewhat hurt feelings that my simple holiday celebration isn’t enough, I’ve decided enough is enough. If I want the cycle of overindulging, over celebrating, and growth of discontent to end…I need to start now.

It’s refreshing, actually. The simplicity. It’s less expensive, less stressful, less time consuming, and much more calm. The meaning of family and faith shine through. That’s what's important. I want to teach my children these principles now. So when they are adults they have a foundation to fight against the norm. And as parents, they pass this idea on to my grandchildren.

I’m beginning to get pretty excited to move again. It’s another opportunity to really evaluate what we have, what we need, and what we can live without. House hunting has taken on a fresh perspective. I’ve lived in homes large and tiny. I have a pretty good idea of what we can get by with to be comfortable and what is really just too much.

I am so appreciative of the opportunity to start fresh again…to make things right. Everything will be new. Everything. I can’t wait to jump in with both feet and renew our family with the concept of living more simply. And the opportunity is coming at the perfect time. Spring is a time for renewal. Practicing contentment is easy when the world around us is beginning again too, offering us the simple pleasures of warm wind blowing our hair back, the sun shining on our faces, the sweet smell of flowers and grass, birds chirping and beautiful sunsets. I’m ready for it.