Matthew 12:8 –For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Gratitude Day 829

In the last few months, I have really focused on simple is better. We moved into a smaller house, downsized considerably our possessions, and got rid of A LOT of stuff. Slowly, I have been making our current house our home. Each week I hang one or two more things on the walls and let our personality shine within our home.

As much as I want this house to reflect who we are, I am also very aware that I do not want too much “stuff” in our house. I have come to truly appreciate “less is more.” I enjoy having more open space, less stuff out, just fewer things in general. As I included a few more things in our space this week, I was very much aware that I feel like I do not want to get too much stuff in the house. Less really has become a nice place for me.

While I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff, there is definitely one area of my life where I continue to struggle with the less is more: my schedule. I have cut back on certain things in my life and I appreciate this. Yet, I still feel like I’m trying to do too much on most days of the week. And weekend.

This is not a new challenge for me. In The Mary Experiment: When DOING and BEING Collide, I address my dislike for how often people say they are “too busy.” Yes, I was “that” person for years. I relished in sharing with others how “busy” I was. Over time, I came to see that being busy really was not as admirable as I previously thought. When people tell me how busy they are, I don’t consider it a positive. In fact, it bothers me how often we think we must portray ourselves as busy. It seems crazy, but we think others will think we are more “important” or “have really important stuff we are doing” if we are always busy.

In the past few years, when someone says they are “too busy,” I no longer see this as something I want to achieve. Another person’s busyness now makes me feel like they really do not have time for me. This can be OK but I try to refrain from making others feel like I am too busy for them, although I know this happens.

When we are so busy, we lose the space and ability to hear God speak to us. We miss God’s wisdom that God yearns for us to hear and embody. Our days and agendas and schedules become filled with things that maybe busy, but are all these things the most important “things” God wants us to focus on?

I think this is very debatable.

Albert Einstein felt that one of life’s most “sacred gifts” is the importance and spiritual implications of listening for God’s “still small voice.” I find it fascinating that one of the most revered scientists of the 20th century prioritized listening and hearing God in his or her life. Yes, hearing God is more important than scientific experiments.

In order for us to hear God speak to us and hear God’s wisdom and guidance, we also need time WITH God. This requires us to relax our agendas. Provide God-space in them so that we can be available to hear the subtle and yet intuitive prompting of God’s Holy Spirit.

What a beautiful gift Einstein wants us to embrace.

As part of my Simple Is Better shift, I am trying to measure myself less by what I accomplish in a day and what I get done and more by how I treat others, engage in what I do and align with my priorities based on what God feels is best for me to focus on. It’s a difficult shift, but I am trying to place more value on what my heart is saying to me these days more so than what my lists are saying.

Truth? It’s not been an easy shift. I still struggle with this daily. Yet, I am also convinced that progress on this will be slow and incremental. Making a huge shift with this overnight simply is not going to happen. My attitude is to try and do this slowly, one small step at a time, so that it WILL be a more long-term change in my life. I can reduce “busy” from my vocabulary, which is helpful. But without actual shifts in my schedule and how I approach my days, there is not really enough reflection and change about this.

If you would like a simpler schedule, agenda, daily life, how might you get started? Here are a few ideas:

  • Stop telling others how busy you are. If someone asks “How are you?” find a different, more creative ways to approach this. In my book, I suggest people ask how their soul is. If this feels too formal, ask what a highlight of their day has been. Or a favorite thing that happened during the day. It might be impossible to shift away from “busy,” but we can certainly begin to limit how often we use this individually.
  • Simply do less. Protect your time so that the things that are most important are the things that you do first. If there is something on your calendar that does not bring you joy and happiness, eliminate it. Those “should” things on your to-do list? Either make them things you must do or get rid of them completely.
  • Learn to linger longer. Create opportunities in your daily life to hear God. The moments to potentially hear and be with God only happen when YOU make it a priority. Unless you create these spaces, it will not happen. Period.

Mindfulness is a buzz word right now. It means encouraging ourselves to take responsibility for what we put into our minds and where we put our mental time and attention. Mindfulness is being more intentional about what we do, when and how.

One of the challenges with mindfulness is we get so focused on the most immediate goal in our lives right now that we fail to stop and allow ourselves the space to consult with God about whether what we are doing coincides with God’s main goal for ourselves. We plow forward with whatever seems and feels important in the moment without first determining if this would bring God joy.

I’ve done this a million times and will do it a whole bunch of times today. Mindful people are watchful and wait for influence from God. Too often, I’m move quickly forward without consulting God. I think I know what feels right and so, I go with it.

A Simple is Better day would include regularly listening for God throughout the day. It would stop jam-packing every minute with things that seem cool but may not be utilizing our best gifts for God’s kingdom. It’s being aware that doing more can also be sin, just like not doing enough can also be sin.

It’s not easy to make this shift, especially after it has been hard-wired into who we are for so long. But I’m not giving up on this. I’m slowly hoping to make small changes over a period of time with the goal that at some point, I will see this has become part of my regular, everyday life.

Shifting from constantly doing to focusing on letting our hearts design our days takes time. Effort. Commitment. It will take time for me to fully simplify my schedule. But it’s a journey that I am confident is worth it.

For the opportunity to find more joy in feeling good about where my heart is more so that m to-do list, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Loving God – Thank you for this encouragement to embrace simplicity in my daily schedule as well. May I grant myself permission to embrace this attitude for the long-haul. Amen.

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