Amish fiction. Jane Austen. The call of the past and the promise of a simpler life draws many of us. Those of us that spend our days surrounded by cell phones, computers, and the latest technological gizmo often think we would love something more or maybe I should say, something less.
The draw of the so called simpler life often leads us to think of the Amish lifestyle, or for some, Little House on the Prairie or watching the latest Jane Austen movie. But really, why do we feel the pull?
I often struggle to figure out why the sales of Amish books are so vastly popular, but when one woman described it for me, it actually made sense.
“I live a busy life. I love to read about the sweet innocence of a culture that is in our modern culture today, yet is not weighted down by all the electronics we have today. It is something I wish I had. I don’t want to be Amish, but I want a slower life.”
When I thought about it, I realized that many of us really do want a slower paced life, but the expectations we put on ourselves and take on from other people have lead us to believe we do not have a choice. We have to lead the fast-paced lifestyle. I think instead of looking with longing at cultures and traditions that are actually not as simple as they appear, we should be looking at the real solution to the problem. “How can we slow down?”
Tricia Goyer addresses this issue in her books Blue like Playdough and Balanced- Finding Center as a Work at home Mom. The idea of how we often overload ourselves with unbalanced priorities is spoken of with solutions to the lifelong dilemma. I highly recommend any mom, woman or anyone that is longing for a slower lifestyle, read these books and evaluate their priorities. I have often read other books that encourage mothers to simplify. There are some amazing ones out there for the mother to read, but often, if she does manage to find the time to get one of them read, she can end up feeling more discouraged than ever. Some books tend to have ideas about cutting back that can leave you feeling like you are simply a failure if you cannot achieve that.
I would love to encourage you, when you find yourself desiring the simpler life or longing for the past, look for the small things that you can cut out to make your life simpler.
I recently went through a time where I was without a vehicle for one reason or another. I live right in town, so I have grocery stores, banks and the post office within a mile of me. But somehow the fact that I did not have an easy way to get there, helped me slow down, say no to unnecessary items on the to-do list, which essentially simplified my day. I figured out how to get the essential things done, but over all, it helped me to think more clearly about my priorities. I don’t suggest everyone do these things, like get rid of your car, as it also brought a higher degree of stress along with it. However, the lesson it taught me, I believe will last longer than the lack of a vehicle.
Perhaps the next time when you are making your to-do list, ask yourself:
- Ask yourself if it really has to be done.
- Is there is something else that is more useful for eternity you want to do?
- How will this action have an impact if you do not do it?
These questions can help you to prioritize and let a few things go that you can live without, even the good things! At the same time, we can still enjoy running water, flushing toilets and gasoline vehicles—the modern conveniences that we thank God for everyday. But maybe in living a bit more deliberately, we can essentially slow the pace and give ourselves a moment to breathe.
Wife of Fred and homeschool mother of 4 active sons, book reviewer, writer, and birth doula. She often needs to remind herself to slow down! Learn more at: homeschooling4boyz.wordpress.com.