After Peter was born, I chatted with a friend who was further along the Mom-journey than me. I felt overwhelmed with all the demands that drop onto a first-time mother’s shoulders. So many to-do’s, desires and should-do’s sucked the joy from me. This question came up: “What’s on your plate?” She gave me a word picture I’ve never forgotten.
My life is a plate. God puts the things on my plate He wants there. If I focus on those things, I won’t feel overwhelmed. I only begin to feel life piling up on me when I set things on my plate God didn’t intend. That illustration served me well when I had two little boys underfoot all day long. As they’ve grown, the items on my plate have changed. And, yes, I know, they aren’t done changing yet.
Simplicity’s root word is “simple.” Sometimes, simple gets swallowed up by the complicated. Various complications entered my life when I left home for college. But, lately, complexities and busy-ness have added items to my plate. I’m not certain God placed them there.
There are decisions to make, results that come from those decisions. Circumstances enter into my life that complicate things. Desires–both those satisfied and not satisfied–add complexity to life. How will I respond? Each decision made, each commitment taken on adds to my life. The question is, am I adding the complexity or is God?
When I am the one adding, I tend to get stressed out and my family often pays the price. How do I maintain a heart of “simple” when life feels so complicated?
Before I make decisions that will impact others…..
- I talk to God and to my husband about them. They give me eyes to see the ramifications of these decisions.
- I define those things that are priorities in my life. If a decision or an activity will distract from my priorities, I need to consider that before saying yes.
- I consider the commitments I already hold. Will the new commitment push me too far?
- I don’t give an immediate answer when someone asks me to do something. I take time to think and pray about it. And, I give myself the freedom to say no if that’s the best answer.
Living a simple life requires a decision and purposeful action to fulfill it. It doesn’t guarantee an easy life, but choosing simplicity will provide peace when life gets a little crazy.
Your Turn: How do you decide whether to add something to your plate? How do you keep life from becoming too complicated?