Simplifying [Not My Home part 7]

My friend was skeptical. “You aren’t serious? That’ll never happen.”

It was August. I had just disclosed my plans for Halloween this year. Plans = No plans. No costumes. The family that lived for creative endeavors would sit this holiday out. Not because we were religiously opposed. Not because we didn’t allow our kids to dress up. Not because we lacked a family costume idea. No plans, because it was the year of simple.

We weren’t just skipping Halloween. We wouldn’t be hosting birthday parties or having play-dates, we weren’t getting a Christmas tree and maybe we would forego gifting, too. I was stripping life down to the core. The necessary. We wouldn’t even establish a pediatrician. We could avoid massive sickness for a year, right?

The Christmas tree was my only shred of follow through. It was a lovely #paperChristmas.

The rest of my best-laid anti-plans? Good for a laugh.

My friend was more realistic than I. Halloween, birthday parties, play-dates, gifts and doctors all snuck back into our schedule. Well, I tried.

My hopes for emptying our year of all things extra fell short in almost every way, but our nugget of need was evident.

We craved some simple.

Our life was full. Good full. Good friends. Good fun. Good life. But all the good was making us a bit crazy. There wasn’t time for the meaningful conversations. There wasn’t space for the ponderings, the explanations, the adjustments.  Paring down had to happen. To get to the core of what mattered. To anchor our life on the proper dock.

My soul needs simple. A 30,000 foot view shows a clutter of activity and input. Appointments, deadlines, holidays, meetings, books, lists, texts, parties, sermons, podcasts, small groups, conferences, songs, agendas, memes, events, causes, advice, fundraisers, acronyms, ideas, methods, classes, blogs. All/mostly/some great stuff.

But, are they my starting point? Are those helpful add-ons or have they become my core?

I’m consider this in light of the long-view that this world is not my permanent home, but rather a place I’m passing through.

Is the core of my soul curated by what everyone else in the world thinks, needs, wants, opines?

Or is it curated by Jesus?

All that other stuff is great. It adds texture, flavor, story and connection.

But, when it’s my starting point, I lose a grip on that which doesn’t change, which doesn’t fade, which doesn’t fail. My faith, my purpose, my focus ends up being all about those other things, people, ideas. Faith in that which changes, fades and fails.

And it’s frustrating, disillusioning, disappointing, heartbreaking.

I needed a season of simple. Of removing what I could to get to what mattered. I ended up keeping a lot of what I didn’t intend. I had streamers, social calendars, prescriptions, schedules, costumes. But, I grew in focus. I set aside a lot of things that were extras. I majored on the majors and minored on the minors. I started with what mattered most and added on the other as needed. Not perfectly, but intentionally.

That’s the strategy for my soul. Start with the gold nugget, the Savior, the Gospel, the God himself. Start there and add the extras on as second priority. Not perfectly, but intentionally.

The costumes, the goody bags, the stockings hung by the chimney with care – it’s not bad stuff. It’s fun stuff. It adds spice to the #notmyhome life I’ve been entrusted to live.

But, I can’t eat straight out of the spice cabinet. A mouthful of cardamom doesn’t taste as good as it sounds.

Part 1: Passing Through
Part 2: Homesicking
Part 3: Purposing
Part 4: Familiaring
Part 5: Identifying
Part 6: Hoarding
[This post is #7 in the #notmyhome series]
Part 8: Investing
Part 9: Sojourning
Part 10: Borrowing
Part 11: Departing
Part 12: Reflecting

7 thoughts on “Simplifying [Not My Home part 7]

  1. I love simple. Can we bring “simple” back to Kalamazoo?

    But in reality, I feel like I add so much to my life when I’m not finding my personal fulfillment in my connection with Jesus. There is truly something about “Seek first the Kindgom of God…” (Matthew 5:33)

  2. A mouthful of cardamon? Gross! But I love your idea of simple. Even in light of your calendars hanging on walls. Who knew souls could get so cluttered? Who knew heads had to have space to operate at capacity? Who knew hearts needed a break to replenish? Well said, my friend. Are you thinking of bringing simple back to Kalamazoo?

  3. I think I’m the laughing friend…but…maybe there were several of us. 😉

    1. Hard to say… Your name shows up as “someone” ha! But your winky face at the end points me to the person who was indeed the laughing friend. ~a

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