Priorities, Simpicity-What's On Your Plate, Simplicity

Simplicity: What’s On Your Plate?

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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.

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Image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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…..

  1. I talk to God and to my husband about them. They give me eyes to see the ramifications of these decisions.
  2. 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.
  3. I consider the commitments I already hold. Will the new commitment push me too far?
  4. 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?

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6 thoughts on “Simplicity: What’s On Your Plate?”

  1. I can relate!! I was just praying this morning about the demands of my current life. I know I add too much or think I can do more than I really can–that’s not God, that’s me. It’s tough. This time of year is super busy in my world, and I need to get better about not adding obligations.

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    1. One thing I say about myself is that I am able to do many things. It’s so easy to say yes to things. But, I’ve had to learn to ask God before I agree. And my honey. 🙂 Because I’m just too good at saying that three letter word. I know what you mean about busy this time of year. Somehow the end of a school year eats away at my time. I’m sure God will show you what, if anything, He wants you to add, Jill.

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  2. I love the thought that you have too much on your plate when you add things that God never intended to be there. When my kids were young, I sometimes felt as though I should be accomplishing more. When really, my number one was just to care for them. I guess I always try to strive ahead… when really I need to be content where God has me in that moment.

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    1. It’s so hard to just be in the moment sometimes, isn’t it Lisa? I struggle with that too. When my kiddos were young, I wanted to be involved in ministry at our church–an affirmation thing when I look back on it. God made clear to me that I needed to keep my boys as my first area of ministry. That was freeing and gave me the perspective I needed. Love your thoughts today.

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  3. I have longed used the plate principle. If it becomes full, there is no room for a surprise. I ALWAYS leave room for the unexpected. I learned a year or two ago to simply say ‘no.’ And if people balk at that, or question my loyalty or ‘servanthood’, this may sound rude, but they can stuff it.
    I did not spend years learning how to balance to be guilt tripped by people who don’t know where I have been. One thing young parents think they have to do is …EVERYTHING. Learn that the phrase “we can make time for that” is your downfall. You cannot make time, you can only sacrifice it.

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    1. Wow, Jennifer, you share some great truths and tips in here. I still struggle with leaving room for the unexpected in my life. And I love what you said about time–you can’t make it, only sacrifice it. Were you reading my unwritten blog post for next week? 😉 Thanks for stopping by, friend.

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