We live in the land of opportunity. If I want to make Thai food for dinner, I can Google a recipe, stop at the store for all the ingredients, and whip something up. Just in my local community I can sign up for Chinese classes, painting classes, and violin. I had dozens and dozens of stores that woo me with the latest styles.
There is nothing wrong with cooking something new, starting a new hobby, or trying to dress fashionable. But all these things take time. Just because you can expand your horizons doesn’t necessarily mean you should. In fact, simple living comes down to one thing: simplicity.
I’m a mom of six children but also an author. I discovered this truth about simplifying when researching for my Amish novels and my Amish devotional book, The One Year Book® of Amish Peace. The Amish are simple, plain. But they also are effective.
The Amish wear the same type of clothing every day. They don’t fill their lives with media entertainment. They cook the same recipes their parents and grandparents cooked, which means they don’t waste time trying new things. It takes time to make choices, to try new things, and to follow the latest fads. The Amish get a lot of basic stuff done each day because they stick to the basics.
Simplify your wardrobe. I’m drawn in by sale signs. Who isn’t excited about 80% off? Yet too often I find myself buying one clothing item that doesn’t go with anything else, which means I spend time hunting around for something to match. Can you relate? To save time, pick fashion based on function rather than fads. Also choose a few favorite stores. As “unhip” as it may be, I do 90% of my clothes shopping at Old Navy and JC Penny. I know I can find simple items for me that fit and that last.
Simplify your meals. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy trying new recipes, but it takes time to try something new and hunt down all the ingredients. I use my 20 top recipes 80% of the time. I keep my pantry and freezer stocked. I have what I need to get the job done at a moment’s notice. It just saves times!
Simplify your routine. Every morning I wake up, drink a glass of water, gather my Bible and Bible study, and sit down to connect with God. I write a blog, then shower, dress, and get the kids dressed and fed. I drive my daughter to school, return home, get started on chores, spend time with the littlest kids, and then I answer emails. During nap time I work on bigger writing projects. It may seem like a boring routine, but it works. I know what I need to do and what must be accomplished to have everything done. There are lots of places I’d like to go and lots of things I’d like to do, but if I get too scattered nothing gets done.
We live in a land of opportunity and I continually have to remind myself that I have chosen what’s most important . . . and what’s most important is to stick to that!