Seeking simplicity

Simple window and orchids

I've been feeling really worn out lately.

I'm not sure when I started to feel this way exactly, only that it's been quite some time now. I wish I could put a handle on the causes and find a simple fix, but I'm not sure that it's that easy.

I can think of several things that have probably contributed. Starting this blog very shortly after my husband finishing his cancer treatments and then moving into a new house was probably a bit too ambitious. Doing several different types of cleanse and restrictive diets over the past year and a half (for myself, my husband and my son). Having two months of huge technical blog issues that practically consumed me. Choosing to take in two sets of homestay students this summer, one after the other, and unfortunately having a difficult time with both (and eating poorly during that time). Planting a fairly large, organic garden for being the novice that I am. Struggling to discipline well and consistently, leading to many challenges with disobedience and my own sinful heart as a result.

It's probably not any one of those things, though, and maybe not even the combination of them. There's nothing spectacular about my circumstances or situation, nothing that's especially hard.

The fact is that I put a lot on myself, and have quite high expectations. I tend to over burden and overwhelm myself and my schedule with all that must be done (or so I think), and then struggle with guilt and frustration and anger when it doesn't happen the way I think it should. In my frustration and tiredness, I then lack the organization to stay on top of things and life begins to unravel even more.

I don't think I am alone. Most women I know tend to feel over committed, frazzled, lacking in time to do all that they need or want to do, disorganized (to some degree), and just plain tired. Whoever told us we needed to be Superwomen? Why did we believe them? What makes our lives so busy and out of focus?

Crystal's book recommendations a month or so back sparked something in me, and I realized that I needed to pursue this area of my life. Because it wasn't just an area- it was spreading into every nook and cranny of life, affecting my health, my marriage, my mothering, my relationship with God, my disposition, my care for others.

My reading for the next couple of months is focusing in on my desire to find simplicity in my day to day life. To learn where I can scale down, minimize, do with less, say no to commitments, get organized, declutter, prioritize and just renew myself and my focus. To learn to simplify, and to spend time on what is truly important and valuable (glorifying God, loving my family, having an orderly and peaceful home, serving others).

Here's the list I'm working my way through:

Better off
Better Off – Flipping the Switch on Technology (Two People, One Year, Zero Watts) (thanks to Kimi for the recommendation)- Eric Brende

Clutter to clarity From Clutter to Clarity: Simplifying Life from the Inside Out– Nancy Twigg

Worn out womanThe Worn Out Woman: When Life is Full and Your Spirit is Empty– Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray

Don't waste your life
Don't Waste Your Life– John Piper

Quest for more
A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger Than You– Paul David Tripp

Does this topic strike a chord with anyone else? I've actually been feeling like it's a bit of a theme in many of the blogs that I've been reading lately.
Simple Living Series- Passionate Homemaking
From Exhaustion to Rejuvenation- Overcoming the Worn Out Woman Syndrome– Biblical Womanhood
Living a Simple Life– Frugal Granola

I've also considered opening this up as a carnival each week, as I share things that I am learning about and doing to simplify and re-focus my own life, and wondered whether others might be interested in joining me. Would the idea of "Living Simply Saturdays", where you can share your own pursuit of simplicity and add your link on my blog, appeal to anyone?

Image Credit- allposters.com

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  1. I’ve been thinking the same thing! Most blogs I read now-a-days have a simple living series of sorts or have been talking about being run down. I too have been greatly struggling with this as I know I’m not nearly as productive as I could be, because of all the clutter and chaos of life. I’ve slowly been perusing my junk and getting rid of physical clutter, which helps with my mental clutter. It is just to much to look at all day long!

    and I’d totally be up with a carnival!

  2. Stephanie:
    You come by this entry honestly. Your mother is an overachiever and wants to be busy all the time with a varity activities. She inherited that from her mother who at almost 74 is very active and is always looking forward to the next project. I wish you luck in trying to curb this inherited trait.
    Your Nana

  3. OOo me 😀 That sounds like a good carnival!

    With the death of my dear friend, it really forced me to slow down and consider, to simplify. Life is too short to be busy with “stuff” and not people. So yeah, that resonates with me.

  4. I totally hear you on this one! I struggle with all the same issues and the guilt is overwhelming sometimes! I feel guilty b/c I don’t have everything as organized or clean as I want to which leads me to spend a ton of time agonizing over where to start and what to do and then all the cleaning etc takes time away from my kids, which in turn makes me feel guilty and then resentful at all I have to do. When my mind is preoccupied with my “chores” and “to do lists” I find I snap at my kids more often and have zero patience with them. Then, inevitably, I feel even guiltier! It’s a vicious cycle! I could have written this post myself! (well, except for all the things you mentioned you’ve been doing that could have added to your tiredness:O)) I’ve done none of those. I hope things get better for you and you are able to simplify more. I’m trying to do that myself!

  5. I understand totally what you are saying. My first thought is if you are overworked and overstressed why are you adding more to your plate by hosting yet another carnival?
    This is just a thought, not a criticism.

  6. I have been considering a series on this matter also, so your thoughts for a carnival would be fantastic, but I don’t want to add anymore to your life!

    I just finished reading The Worn Out Woman and it has encouraged me very much! One thing that has been so helpful is a weekly media fast. No computer, tv, radio etc. I actually got bored the other day, can you imagine that! It felt great!

  7. Stephanie,

    Appreciated this post. I just finished Don’t Waste Your Life and am now reading From Clutter to Clarity!

    I was going to say something similar to Farrah: I rarely participate in carnivals (by linking or reading) because it’s just *one more thing* to read and/or keep track of. I’d like to see more posts on this topic, but perhaps a solution is for you to have others guest post on this topic. Or you could occasionally share links to relevant posts, as you did in this one.

  8. Hey Steph,
    One thing that has really helped me in this area is studying what God says about resting. Hebrews 4 is an excellent place to go as it talks about how God has been resting since the 7th day of creation and that we are called to enter His rest, the rest from striving, the rest from our works. This has been a great comfort to really come to grips with that. More than to work, God calls me to rest, to trust. This has brought tremendous comfort to me as I wrestled with understanding His favor and love. It has also helped me to serve and love Him more affectively. Also, Psalm 46:10- Cease striving and know that I am God. -NASB Just remember, God doesn’t call us to prove ourselves, but to trust in Him. I hope this helps you as it helps me. God bless.;)

  9. Nana, so true! You are constantly on the go!

    Farrah, thanks for the accountability! Actually, it might sound like more work but it really wouldn’t be, because I post every Saturday anyways, and then it’s less work to try to figure out what topic to post on- I’d already know! 🙂

  10. Carrie, thanks for your thoughts on the carnival as well!

    Melissa, thanks hon. Those are good verses and truths to focus on.

  11. I am also feeling worn out. I do try to do too much. Lately I have had to stay up too late to get the things done that literally HAD to be done…because I tried to get too much other things done too.

    I’ve often wondered how you do so much. Now I know it doesn’t come without side effects…I hope you figure out a way to simplify more.

  12. This is a topic very much at the front of my mind. I have to simplify, but am not sure where to begin. My life feels very cluttered, but when I start taking inventory of the clutter I have no idea what needs to stay and what needs to go.

    I’m very interested in hearing more and learning what others are doing.

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