Living Simply Saturdays- I can’t do it all!



Welcome to the first Living Simply Saturdays carnival! If you’re unsure of what it’s all about, please visit this post to find out my vision for it, and then this one for some simple guidelines.

I’m currently reading The Worn Out Woman, an excellent book which is meeting me right where I’m at. This past Saturday, I was blessed to be able to go out by myself and do some reading, thinking, planning and praying (sort of a mini personal retreat) at a local coffee shop, and this is a quote that stood out to me:

“The problem is that we really can’t do it all- and if we try, the items we never get to are sometimes the most important ones. Overcommitment is not only exhausting; it also makes maintaining balance almost impossible because “urgent” issues will almost always crowd out those that are more important but less time sensitive.

We quickly reach the point where we are routinely postponing time with the Lord and with family and friends in favor of “getting things done”- even replacing meaningful relationships with the temporary rewards of trying to live up to everyone’s expectations.”

I would add to that, “and especially to my own expectations.”

One thing that may be obvious about me to those who’ve been around my blog for long is that I simply want to do too many things. The problem is not that they’re not good things to do. It’s just that I do not always prioritize those things carefully enough, and then plan and act accordingly. As a result, what is most important is not necessarily what gets done when my time runs short.

This is an area that I am seeking to grow in, and one resource that has really helped me is the book Shopping for Time. It encouraged me to take the time to really think and pray through all of the things that are clamoring for my time and attention, and ask the Lord to help me decipher which are the things that are most important for me to do, in the particular season that I am in.

By setting my priorities like this, it helps me to ensure that I am spending my time and energy on those things that really matter the most, because the reality is, I just can’t do it all (and no, neither can you).

Ahh… one of many, many lessons that the Lord is teaching me throughout this past year, and still very much as I write this!

What are you learning about seeking greater simplicity in your life? Do you have any tips to share with us that have helped you to declutter your home or your heart? What does Living Simply mean to you right now (in your schedule, your meals, your shopping, your activities, your mothering)?

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  1. Sometimes, for me, simplicity isn’t so much about the planner pages as it is about the disposition of my heart…

  2. About five years ago, while I was on a mission’s trip the Lord gave me a vision. He showed me a hand that had a ring on each finger. Each ring was extravagant. Any of us would be overjoyed to have such rings! However, what the Lord showed me was that having a ring on each finger was taking the focus off the most important ring…the wedding ring. What the Lord was showing me was that if we fill our life with too much busyness, even good things (the other rings), it will distract us from building our relationship with God (the wedding ring…for we are the Bride of Christ). This convicts me as a mom with 2 children who often fills her life with too much busyness…even if they are good things.

  3. Yes, Elizabeth, I think you’re right.

    Brie, that’s a lovely vision. My husband often says something similar- that the good can be the enemy of the best. So true!

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this today… I found your blog a few weeks ago and have enjoyed reading it…
    I just requested THE WORN OUT WOMAN from the library and can’t wait to get it… just the SECTION that you put in the blog from the book reminded me of me and how much I have wanted to change the way I do things in my life… SO THANKS SO MUCH for posting this today!

  5. I can really appreciate this post! We’ve worked very hard at simplifying our life and let me tell you alot of changes have been made. As any good woman my husband and children come first and as for the rest of it that doesn’t pertain to outside activities such as doctors or dentist I make a master list of what I would like to get done, but not so much of a when and it seems to fall in place much better and I do accomplish more. Plus we’ve found we actually have more family time now. My sons help us in the garden and things like that and after they go to bed it is my time for me, but I only work on small things like cleaning out my purse or planning a few meals. I’ve learned to save some projects for winter when the world seems to be moving a little slower.

  6. Thumbs up. I came to similar conclusions starting in 2009 and started removing unnecessary things from my schedule (after praying about them). I remember saying to my friends as I was “getting it” about being overloaded: “There are so many wonderful and good things to do but what is God calling you [friend’s name] to do specifically.” I did so many things out of guilt and fear and made some terrible mistakes (mostly financial) because of operating out of guilt and fear. It is so wonderful and freeing now to mentally and spiritually rest in God’s will, knowing that God will provide the means if He calls us to do something specific.

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