Friday, February 22, 2008

Living Simply

I just finished a wonderful library book called Living Simply by Joanne Heim. It was a delightful easy read, full of practical ideas for living a simple life. It was challenging, encouraging and inspiring all together. I thought I would share some of my notes with you:

How do we come to choose what it is that we spend our days doing? Would we choose it again if we could?” Did we choose it today, or has it simply carried us along somehow? 46

Living simply involves intention and purpose. It requires focus. It looks beyond the task at hand to the purpose behind it. Knowing the purpose can make all the difference. Packing lunches can be another chore to get done in the rush before school, or it can be a task undertaken to provide nourishment and energy for my children so they can learn all there is to learn that day. Cleaning my house can be an item on my to-do list, or it can be done for the purpose of making my home a place my family enjoys. Living simply involves changing our thinking, looking at our lives from a different perspective. It means stopping to ask myself why I am doing something and making choices that reflect my purpose. 45

Saying ‘no’ to some of the excess means being able to say ‘yes’ to others – and having the energy to pursue those things that have more and lasting value. 28

Satisfy me each morning with your love and establish the work of my hands today, Lord God. Order my day, arrange the tasks to be accomplished, prepare me for the conversations I’ll have. Help me sing for joy as I clean my home, read to my children, spend time with a friend. Number my day aright and help me pursue and grab hold of wisdom. 44

I can’t comprehend how one goes about making a sculpture like this. Michelangelo once said, I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” It sounds so simple: You just hold the chisel like this, give it a little tap like so, and voila! An angel. … In some ways, understanding the ‘how’ of simplicity is a lot like freeing the angel from the marble. Our lives are like chunks of marble: often unwieldy and weighted down by all the stuff we’ve acquired, commitments we’ve made, and complexities forced upon us that come from living in a world that never stops. But the quality of life we search for is in there somewhere, and so we start with the obvious things – getting rid of sharp edges, corners, and conspicuous flaws. We begin to consciously choose less, and in doing so we pare away more of the excess. We learn to say no and begin focusing on those things that bring joy, not stress. As we examine our lives, we focus on what is most important; soon, we begin to see the shape of it in our minds…and we set free the beautiful angel trapped inside. 30-31

I'll share more of Joanne's thoughts tomorrow - until then, you can visit her blog. It's also very encouraging.

1 comment:

Amy said...

That sounds really great! I will have to add that to my reading list.