Every Thursday in the month of August, I’m giving away a book! Last, but certainly not least in my 4-year-blogging-anniversary giveaway, is Amish Values for Your Family: What We Can Learn from the Simple Life. This book was written by a sweet bestselling author who has great knowledge and respect for the Amish lifestyle, Suzanne Woods Fisher.
Suzanne takes us on a quest to regain a deeper appreciation of the life God has blessed us with and gain understanding of how to best steward it. She guides us on a journey to simplify, slow down and prioritize what’s truly important. Read all the way to the bottom to enter to win!
How do we raise children well in this media-driven, instant-gratification, fast-paced, never-sleeping world? How do we find peace in such days?
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
As I look back to when my children were little (now they range in age from 14 to 21), I find myself grateful for the slower pace of those times. I had limited Internet and no social media presence.
Connections were made and relationships forged in person, by telephone, or through written correspondence. School athletics and extracurricular activities were largely reserved for children in the middle to upper grades.
Now having been social-media active for 4 years, I shudder to think how much of the time I spent just being with my kids during those formative years would have been lost to the online world.
I need only look at the struggle I have today to balance online time to be reminded of the strength of its pull.
How many fewer walks would we have gone on? How many less hours would we have spent creating, imagining and playing together? How many fewer books would we have shared?
Crowding Out the Best of Our Days
Created to make tasks easier and simpler (it has in many ways), the Internet world has also complicated life, especially family life. And the perceived need to always be occupied (and keep our kids engaged) has further strained families.
Despite knowing the joys and growing through the trials of close family togetherness, I’ve let it fall away a bit the past few years. The rush and chaos of activity and performance and online attraction has diverted my attention from my most important calling as a mom.
Yes, my children are older and require less of my time. But that doesn’t mean I should be a distracted mom during that time. If anything, the less time I have with them means those minutes should be treated with greater importance, be handled with great care and focus.
The same can be said for many other priorities in life. Should God get the leftover dregs of a rushed day? Should my husband, extended family and friends be greeted by a worn-out, distracted woman each day?
So I’ve begun a quest to simplify my life. As summer gives way to fall, I’m more determined than ever to declutter house and heart and redefine the priorities in my life.
I long to return to a slate of blank, lazy summer days like those of my childhood. Days stretched out just waiting to be written on.
I’m looking forward to a winter of snowed-in days where there is little to do but be.
I’m anticipating evenings of turned-off media and turned-on relationships. Evenings filled with conversation, games, books and renewal.
I’m blocking off my early mornings as a time to be refilled and revived by the Lord and His Word.
I’m guessing somewhere in your heart you long for the same thing I do. A chance to slow down. The opportunity to savor the moments and your relationships. The space to just be.
It’s possible, you know … this unrushing and creating more space for a meaningful life.
Declutter Our Hearts
First, we need to ask God to declutter and realign our hearts with His.
We can’t expect to succeed in re-prioritizing our lives if we don’t seek God’s wisdom. If we don’t align our hearts with His. If we don’t better understand His will for us.
My days always (with very few exceptions) begin with time with God in His Word. And throughout the day, I seek His counsel.
How else can I choose the best?
Declutter Our Lives
Second, we need to declutter our lives.
There are many good things to do. There are a great deal fewer best things.
Ask yourself: What will have the most value for your life and in the lives of those you love?
Is it spending that extra hour on Facebook or playing with your children?
Is it spending some evenings snuggled on a couch together or running every day from one activity to the next?
I’ve learned the hard way that busyness does not equate to valuable.
What will it take for you to slow down and enjoy a peaceful home?
Do you need to simplify your home by getting rid of some things cluttering it?
Do you need to strategically post scriptural reminders of the importance of our time on this earth?
Do you need to spend time each week writing out a schedule base on your priorities … and then following it?
“Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be brought under the control of anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12
Regain the Sweetness
It’s possible to regain the sweetness of our days, but it’s not easy. Rush and chaos need to be filed away permanently and our day’s priorities aligned with God’s.
Only then can we hope to find the best in our days.
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
Reflections: Have you had success in slowing down and savoring the best things of life? If so, how?
If this post encouraged you, please consider sharing it with your family and friends. And don't miss a single post, click here to subscribe to receive each one in your inbox (or complete the form in the sidebar). It's free and you can unsubscribe at any time. Yours in grace ≈ Julie
If this post encouraged you, please consider sharing it with your family and friends. And don't miss a single post, click here to subscribe to receive each one in your inbox (or complete the form in the sidebar). It's free and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Yours in grace ≈