I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, like I had, “less is more”, but I’ve never stopped to think what this could actually mean for my life. How it could change everything all at once. In the past 2 weeks, this phrase has been repeated in my mind over and over again.
It’s easy to take cliche statements as just that, cliches, and never thinking about the impact. But I want to let you into my world and show you what God has been teaching me through “Less is More”. I could probably write 15+ big and small ways this has been impacting me recently, but here are what I would call my top 5.
1) Less time on my phone = More time being present with my family.
On January 2nd, my phone stopped taking its charge and it hasn’t turned back on since. I could tell you the frustrations of trying to get a new phone, but that’s not what this post is about. It is now January 16th, and I still am without a phone. While this is inconvenient in a lot of ways it’s also turned into a blessing. I (like most of you, I’m sure) take my phone everywhere with me. From the living room to the kitchen to the bedroom to the bathroom. Really? Do we really need to be checking Instagram while going to the bathroom?! Can anyone say “addiction”? It’s pathetic. We check it while we drive, while we shop, while we eat, while we have coffee with friends… at least I have been, and it’s a problem. I knew this before now, but I don’t think I grasped just how often I reach for the phone. I even check facebook while watching Netflix… COME ON.
I should mention: My husband rigged up an old phone for me to do very little on which was kind (and also we thought we would be waiting a day or two, not two weeks but the phone company won’t give us a loaner phone) but It doesn’t get the internet unless I’m at home, the camera is awful, it’s cracked etc. So I haven’t been using it too much. It sits on the couch and takes up space. Zoe (my 8-month-old) loves it, though!
Less phone time has equaled more time paying attention. Even though before I was always in the room with Zoe, now I’m IN THE ROOM with her. I play more, sing more, hear more. Without the constant thought “is that my phone vibrating?” I can actually focus on my child and be in the moment.
Less phone time has equaled more time talking out loud. This seems silly, but I don’t have a phone to plug in on the side of my bed anymore, so I actually talk to my husband at night, I am present at meal times, I take WAY less time in the bathroom, I actually pay full attention to Netflix, etc.
This is making me seem like all I ever do is be on my phone, but you know what I mean. It’s FREEDOM to put that thing down and out of sight for a while.
2) Less Netflix = More time for music
When I put my daughter down for a nap, my go to has been Netflix. I just want to sit and do nothing for a while and relax. But because of #1, I’ve decided to try less screen time altogether, and guess what! I actually wrote a song. Yup! You read that right. It has been over 2 years since I picked up my guitar and played around, but this week I did. And within 45 minutes I had a brand new sparkling song to show my husband.
I lead worship at my home church in Saskatoon, SK this weekend and I lead from the guitar. Something I hadn’t done in… 3 maybe 4 years? And it was amazing. I felt a freedom I haven’t felt in a long time. Usually, I am stuck behind a piano which is okay too, but playing guitar, my whole body can move and dance and sing and WORSHIP. All because I turned off Gilmore Girls and picked up my guitar.
3) Less clothing = More choice
Who knew! If you haven’t watched the minimalist documentary on Netflix, you should. Ironic because of #2 I know, but it’s worth the time. Watching it inspired me to clean out my closet (and entire house), and although I have a long way to go, I am loving the changes it has had on my mornings. I’ve gotten rid of 2 garbage bags FULL of clothes that I never wear anyway, I’ve organized my summer clothes away from my winter clothes, and right now I have a section I’m trying to pull from exclusively, while some other pieces are on the side to see if I will use them in the next 6 months or if they are headed to the thrift store as well.
Now when I wake up, I see the 40 (ish) pieces in front of me and can make a quick decision, instead of seeing 150+ pieces and being too overwhelmed to make an outfit.
4) Less Christmas Decorations = My sanity
We have FINALLY had our last Christmas celebration. And while I love Christmas, 8 celebrations is just far too many. My husbands family and mine are both divorced. which means 4 sets of grandparents visiting, our own private Christmas, big family celebrations etc. Sometimes Christmas isn’t over until February. I remember the year I took down the tree on Valentine’s day and just thought “this is too much”. So while we’ve made it a month sooner this year, it still feels like too much.
Last night as I took the star off the top of the tree, and packed away the garland, I felt a great relief. Our living room looks like a living room, the furniture fits with room to spare and the stairway is again, just a stairway. No gold stars, no green garland, just a hand rail.
My mind feels free-er. More at ease. I have 3 green and red bins in the basement that I don’t have to think about again until next year. I can move on, into 2017 with intention and passion like planned. I am happy.
And finally, maybe the best change of all,
5) Less laziness = More time in the Bible
I have heard countless times “I just don’t have time to read the Bible”, “I’m too busy”, “I ran out of time …for the past month”. I hear this from my family, from my friends, and sadly from… *points big foam finger at myself* me. When in reality it’s just that I haven’t made the time. I’ve been too lazy to get out His word and hear from Him.
So I’ve changed that. I make it priority #1. When I get up I decide right then and there when the time will be that day that I dig into His word. And yes, sometimes it doesn’t work out like I plan, but I am actually digging in and making time and it feels so good. God is so good. He is teaching me new things in new ways and opening my heart to hear his voice more and more.
Neil (my husband) and I have even made it a priority that once he gets home from work, he makes coffee, sits down and we read a chapter together, digging into the scriptures together. It’s amazing. I love talking about God with my husband.
The other thing I’ve done is put up reminders in our house. By my bed, I have some scripture to pray over my family, and all over our house you can find little pretty hearts that say “pray about it” or “talked to God lately?”. It’s a little heart check and I love it. More of Jesus is never a bad thing.
And there you have it. My top 5 Less is More, life changing things that are happening in my life right now. If you’ve read all of this post, good work. But don’t just read it and leave it on the screen. Challenge your heart! What could you get rid of to make time for something better!? Maybe you need to make room for more time with your kids. More time with your partner. More time in God’s word. More time to rest. More time to be happy. More time to go for coffee with those you love. More time to pour into others. I promise you it will be worth it.
The time is now. Less really DOES equal more.