As it comes, Spring brings motivation to simplify with it. Spring cleaning. Dead trees growing blooms. The sun warming up the earth, as it welcomes newness into its rays. We shed off layers of coats and get ready to show off our bodies for “bikini-season.”
Coming out of hibernation, our thoughts get clearer and we crave organization. Perhaps that is why this year, all I can think about is shedding my negative thought patterns and beginning anew. The thing is, I didn’t need to wait for spring. God was there all along, just waiting for me to take him up on his offer. “His mercies begin afresh each day,” Lam. 3:23. When we feel hopeless and stressed and covered in negative thoughts and feelings, He is there every morning, wanting to give us rest. A simple step towards him will breathe new life into you. This world just wears us out and wants to see us torn down, but God wants to make us light! He doesn’t want us to feel tired and worn out all the time. Instead, He wants to cut off the chains that hold us down. I imagine myself just radiating joy and feeling light beaming from me. Where there is light, darkness cannot be. I don’t want to go around this world looking dark, bringing darkness to those around me. I want to shine! But, first, I need to give these extra layers of negativity and stress to God and embrace the freedom that is offered to me every day, every morning.
Here are some of my suggestions to Simplify Your Life:
- Give Up One Thing. Don't over-commit yourself. Even if you are committed to all great things, if you are over-committed, you will lose the whole point of doing those good things. So, every week, try and give up one new thing. For example, I have given up my Wednesday night commitments to church, in order to give myself rest half way through the week. You can also give up thought patterns or overindulgence in anything. Rush less, breathe more. Do less, relax more. Complain less, listen more.
- Take Control of Your Time. Try getting up an hour earlier. Shut off distractions. Delegate what you can. Do more of what you love to do and less of what you don’t enjoy. Make a list. I like to use Trello to manage my time and prioritize.
- Turn “I have to” into “I get to.” Instead of focusing on what you “have to” do, focus those thoughts on what you “get to” do. Instead of thinking, “I have to work,” think “I get this opportunity to make money, so I can go to New Zealand.” It makes everything so much better. Instead of thinking, “I have to go to that expensive place for dinner tonight,” think, “I get to spend quality time with my favorite people and eat amazing food tonight!” Just by changing that one word will take you from feeling dread and obligation to feeling privileged and grateful.
- Be willing to change. Don’t change out of correction but out of preference and desire. We often want our lives to be different but aren’t willing to do what it takes. If you take a small step forward everyday, you can change in big ways. Focus on the desire you have and the quality of life that you will have if you take these small “penguin” steps every day. As long as you are making steady progress towards them, you will know that you are taking control of life rather than letting the days pass you by.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Be nice to yourself. Treat yourself as you want others to treat you. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Think well of yourself. Find three things to congratulate yourself for everyday. Free your mind from the past and forgive yourself.