As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. – Henry David Thoreau
When I was little, I imagined how great it would be to have a simple house, with not much in it. I had a very glorified view of simple living: not much money and not many cares. I remember imagining a small, simply furnished house – something along the lines of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s little house on the prairie – and for some reason as a kid that made me feel free!
Fast forward 20 years and you’ll find a very different girl. In many ways, we have a simple life. Simple furniture. Simple apartment. “Simple” income. And am I free? No. I stress. And stress. And stress. The reason is I often desire for more. For “better.” I keep thinking, if we only had that new couch or a different entertainment center. If only I could have that e-reader. If only I could get a new wardrobe that matches the latest trends that are so cute. If only we had a new dresser. If only If only If only!!
Yuck! When I list out the many ways I have been unhappy and dissatisfied with life I am slightly disgusted. Somewhere along the way I forgot what brings happiness and joy in life. I started placing so much emphasis on what the world says is good. More! Bigger! Better!
It seems to me that my younger self knew something I don’t know now. That happiness is not found in things. No, it is found in the things that bring life.
It is in family and friends.
It is in a good book.
It is in a simple meal that stirs the senses and nourishes the body.
It is in the appreciation of all we have, giving thanks to God for them and living a life truly content with what He has provided.
Yesterday, all I wanted to do was rest and read a good book. So, I snuggled up in a blanket on the couch with Jan Karon’s A Light in the Window. Within a few minutes, Jack had grabbed his blanket from his bed and his favorite flip book and joined me on the couch. The dip in the middle of the couch (that I so often despise) forced us to sink together and we snuggled that way reading our books for a quiet afternoon.
The very memory of that moment brings me such joy and happiness, I don’t know how to express it. I could live my life that way forever and never get tired of it. I am so thankful for my son and my husband (who has endured my complaining with more patience than I deserve). I don’t want to go back to my belly-aching and discontentment. My life is good. I have everything I need – and more! It’s time to thank God for His provision and to be content in my simple life.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13 NIV 2010)