Subtract instead of Add for a Simplier Life
Universally, we love the idea of a fresh start, especially at the beginning of the new year. We set goals, make plans and subsequently focus on doing more. We implement routines to shift our habits, hoping to accomplish something new. We know what we want, but maybe our idea of what it takes to make that happen could be different.
We talk about intentional living in this space. What better time to reevaluate what that looks like practically than in the new year? Intentional living recognizes areas in which we could do better moving forward. It’s accepting the invitation to grow, and growth requires change. What if this new year, instead of thinking about what we can do to achieve our resolutions and add to our never-ending to-do list, we get rid of a few things and name the things we will not do?
The idea of minimalism has been trendy for the last few years. We like the concept of simpler living because many of us are overwhelmed and overworked. We crave better ways to manage our lives. There is an underlying longing to eliminate burnout and make changes to allow us to experience life more fully. So we clear out cabinets and closets. We create piles of donations, trash and to-be-sold items. We long for simplicity and finally understand the adage that less is more.
It’s easy to do this within the walls of our home. We ditch extra decor and say goodbye to clutter. We recognize the importance and benefits, the comfort and contentment it brings.
So, let’s purge the stuff that distracts us and leaves us restless.
What are the things you continue to do and the tendencies that keep you from being intentional in your faith, relationships, health, finances and work?
Maybe it looks like ditching a bad habit, an unhealthy relationship, the thing we mindlessly waste our time on or the impractical things we continuously try to do in our current season of life.
What smaller knick knacks take up space on the shelves within our days that need to go? What about the inward things that are harder to see, such as emotional clutter?
One thing I’m choosing to remove: constant noise. We have four kids running around, from toddlers to teens. It’s never quiet around here. And yet, I often have background noise playing as well. Sometimes, it’s an audiobook, podcast or show, while I fold laundry or run errands. And while those aren’t bad things, I realized I need to remove additional noise purposefully. Some days, it means going on a walk without my AirPods or driving without listening to anything. I’ve been trying to practice this one small elimination for a few weeks, and I have already noticed a difference.
Yes, minimalism is popular because it simplifies our lives and reduces anxiety, but it also gives us more time to focus on the things that matter. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV).
Let’s be intentional about our goals this year, eliminating the things that will allow us to think about the things that matter most and deserve praise.
Sarah Nichols is a writer who loves encouraging women by sharing hope-filled stories that point others to Jesus. She lives in Tucson, AZ, with her husband and four kids. You can find more from Sarah at http://sarahnicholswrites.com.