With all the talk about simplicity these days, you’d think that the route getting there would be, well, simple. But many find that with each step they take toward simplicity, they encounter temporary complications.
These complications sometimes feel so vast they make you want to quit before you’ve even started. Switching gears in life can be painful, and progress isn’t always initially visible.
I am a mother of three children, a homeschooler, a blogger and an author. Each day I spend the majority of my time on areas of my core values and priorities, crafting the life of my dreams. Yet getting here has required navigating through obstacles and complexities.
Here are a few areas that may temporarily become more complicated in our efforts to simplify them.
1. Our stuff
the sunroom in our previous home after I decluttered it
Tsh makes a powerful case in her book, Organized Simplicity, that more clutter doesn’t add more meaning to our lives. Many of us innately sense this to be true. But if you’re like the typical Westerner, you may realize this only years after filling a garage with non-necessities. What will it take to shed that excess?
Work, time, and mess. Lots of mess.
I realized this two years ago when I decided to spend one month decluttering each room in my home. My husband and I have never been packrats, but I still found the process tough. Getting rid of certain items was easy, but with others I wrestled with an emotional attachment to items I no longer needed or even wanted.
In spite of the challenges, I’m so thankful we persevered through this process. Though I never saw it coming, we moved to a new home at the end of that decluttering year. Somehow getting rid of extra stuff paved the way for us to physically move on to where we wanted to be.
2. Our homes
We wanted to live in a more rural area, and a dream opportunity came along that led us there. On the surface this sounds nice and idyllic, right? And it was a move toward a more ideal family life for us.
But the move was also fraught with complications. As anyone knows who has attempted it, packing and moving with three children is never simple. Our move to the country also meant that we needed to invest in a second car, something my husband and I had avoided for over 13 years of marriage. Steve also chose to go from a 15 minute commute to a 45 minute one.
Contrary to popular belief, simplicity doesn’t always mean a life in a studio apartment with only 100 possessions. I thank God each day for providing the home we now live in. It has significantly improved our family life, but the process of getting here involved effort and struggle.
3. An intentional life
It’s easy to dream for our families, but when it comes to putting legs on a vision—actually taking action—simple may not be a word that comes to mind.
This is especially true when your dream requires you to step away from what our society deems as security—a regular paycheck, for example, or the security of a home to live in. I call this the hard/easy life.
Sometimes it’s easy to know where we want to go, but then we have to make the commitment to take an uncertain, complicated step toward that goal. As abolitionist Frederick Douglass said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
So struggle, step forward, fail, progress. It’s worth it.
4. Our thoughts
Scientists estimate that we have, at a minimum, 15,000 thoughts rushing through our mind on any given day. It is much easier to let these run on autopilot, rather than pay attention and use them to fuel the life we want.
Though we may claim we want to eliminate fear and worry from our days, reaching that place of freedom requires effort. The complication of confronting deeply-rooted thought patterns and negative cycles deters many from arriving at the positive life on the other side.
I took this leap several years ago–attempting to use my thoughts in ways that would better serve me and my family. Though it took work to get here, the time I invested has reaped huge dividends in my personal happiness and peace of mind.
I recently wrote about my journey in an e-book, Mindset for Moms: From Mundane to Marvelous Thinking in Just 30 Days. It contains 30 short entries, perfect for busy mamas to read, each one highlighting a practical way we can transform our thinking and our lives.
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Have you found that your efforts to simplify certain areas of your life have led to temporary complications in those areas? Do you think it was worth the effort required?