How is your journey toward simplicity going?
If you are like me, you feel side-tracked, unfocused, diverted, preoccupied with paper trails.
For me that diversity is what keeps my life interesting.
Diversity can also accelerate distractions, generate fires that require attention, create chaos with me in the center, or compile a “to-do” list that is never completed.
But simplicity is a journey, not a destination.
This week I want you to think about this word: intentional.
Though I love to read, I come to the end of many days and realize that my list crowded out this simple pleasure.
I’ve learned to keep a Bible and a devotional book in a convenient spot (read: bathroom), so I’m not talking about this reading. Reading books for pleasure or enrichment or learning or to see the world a bit differently.
Since we’ve started this journey, I determined to make a slight adjustment. My “to do” list ends at 8 p.m. (OK, at least I think about changing gears at 8 p.m.) I also realized that my habit of turning on the television for the evening news or my favorite game show was often the beginning of a long evening of noise and distraction that brought me little joy.
The experiment begins after my game show.
I turn off the television, clean up the kitchen and prepare for the following day. About 8 p.m., I intentionally head to my exercise area and do some type of movement for thirty minutes but no later than 9 p.m. (So if I start right at 8, I can reward myself with extra reading time.)
Then, beverage in hand, I intentionally make a choice between the two things that I love to do: play the piano or read. When I choose the piano, I determine how many songs I will play. I’ve already learned that a time frame doesn’t work for me here. (And put my hot tea on the counter.) When I finish those songs, it is reading time.
This allows me about an hour, if I don’t turn on the news channel, to read.
Another habit that detracts from inner ease is starting multiple books. While there are times it may be necessary, my goal is to complete the books I’ve begun and then stick with one at a time. Since choosing to use time in my schedule for reading, it amazes me how much I can read in sixty minutes. There may be an exception to this as I may read one book “in hand” and another book digitally so it can easily go with me. That is still debatable.
This slight adjustment has altered my fragmented inner self. There will be times that evening activities will interfere. That is OK. Since the outcome of choosing simplicity is to live more richly and fully, involvement with family, friends and community achieves personal contentment. Since my goal is a richer inner life, my plan is not another “to do” regiment. It is a guide to help me reach the peace of inner simplicity.
Knowing that I have a deadline for my work, I am more aware of using my time during the day. I can still get off-course, but it seems that I “self-correct” more frequently throughout the day.
Have you considered what small alteration you could make in your life? Can you intentionally choose to do something differently?
Contemplate an activity that brings you joy.
Determine to find a regular – hopefully daily – time to delight in that activity.
Remind yourself that positive change can be challenging.
Go live your life with intention, with adjustments, with your vision of contentment.
And join with me as we learn to walk by faith.