When I was in high school, I remember watching a "reality" show called "The Simple Life."
Yes. With the Hilton sisters. (You didn't know this was going to be a confessional type of post today, did you? But don't judge me. Blame my parents. They were the ones manning the remote) Still, I watched. I am not proud of it. But, much like reality TV today, it was kind of like a car accident... You felt bad for the people involved, but you just...can't...look...away.
Here's the basic premise from what I recall: The Hilton sisters (note: They would be what some call, uh, high maintenance perhaps?) would be plucked from their inherited throne and deposited in some small town. Let's say rather podunkish. These girls would have to live the "Simple life" without the luxuries of being waited on hand and foot. They might even have to get muddy and do chores.
You get the picture.
It was a rather pathetic scene, and there were several times I wanted to jump through the screen and thump someone. But recently, my beloved husband and I decided to live the simple life.
No, we didn't get orders to move to a 500 person town and work on the farm. (Both of us have been there, done that, so it wouldn't be new anyways.) AND I would like to think I am NOTHING like Ms. Paris Hilton in the fact that I like getting dirt under my fingernails and the only time I utter the phrase "That's hot" is when I gulp my steaming coffee too fast in the morning.
But we wanted to live a simpler life. Looking at our budgetary plan for 2012 (we are 23 days in and doing well) we wanted to cut back and simplify some things.
Not only has it saved us quite a chunk of cash, but we have been set free. It's awesome.
We have simplified a few things in our life (baby steps, people, baby steps.) First we got rid of cable. Brandon is almost never home anyways and I barely even watch TV. On the rare occasions that we do get to sit down together, we figured Netflix or movies we had already purchased would do.
Cut the cable. Saved some cash. I tasted freedom.
THEN, we downgraded our phone plans. Brandon went back to a "flip phone" in December, saying goodbye to the Blackberry. I followed suit this month when I THOUGHT I was available for an "upgrade" even though I was downgrading. (It's a long story.)
Convincing the phone store that my plan was legit was a quite the task. I told them I had an iPad gifted to me a month ago, so I didn't need phone email AND iPad email to-go. While they initially acted like I was trying to give up my first born child or part with a limb, I finally convinced them this was what I wanted to do. As I was staring at the "basic" phones trying to decide, I saw a "free" one (after rebate of course.) Beside it was a $50 slider phone. What to do, what to do...
Suddenly, a wave of freedom rushed over me and I literally felt God saying "Live simply."
Decision made. I said so-long to my Android and picked out the simple, non-slider "free" phone that makes calls and texts. That is it. No email. No internet.
I love it. FREEDOM!
God has continued to affirm our baby steps of living simply. It has been amazing for our budget, but even more so in our relationship with Him. I am less distracted. I am more focused. I am spending more time frolicking outside taking in his non-technological gifts. I am more available for Him.
Ultimately, living simply makes me thankful.
In what ways can you simplify your life this year? It doesn't have to be drastic, but God will recognize and encourage any method you use to spend more time with Him, keeping your eyes focused upward.
You don't have to move to a tiny midwestern town to experience this kind of freedom. Start right where you are and live the simple life.
Living simply-er and loving it,
"A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life." Proverbs 13:7 MSG