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Here’s what I’ve found.

A lot of people talk about simplifying their lives. They talk about doing less, living on less, scheduling less. Maybe even eating less, buying less, and rushing less.

Less has become the mantra of the simple-life-seekers.

I wonder.

I mean, I’ve embraced this whole simple life thing, but its like I’m a recovering addict without any steps or sponsor to help me. I slip sometimes. I forget. My intentions fail me, or I just get tired.

Because a simple life is not an easy life.

Here is what simple is not.

Simple is not pain-free or responsibility-free or work-free or challenge-free. It isn’t doing-what-I-want-all-of-the-time. It isn’t just about reduction, or learning to say no, or putting limits on activities. It’s not just about the cutting out.

Simplicity, I think, is a kind of discipline. Yes there is an aspect of letting go involved. Getting rid of the extra.

But simplicity is so much more.

It’s about making space for what really matters. Which means I first need to figure out what those things that matter are. Otherwise, this whole simplicity thing becomes just one more possible lifestyle in a culture bursting at the seams with lifestyle options.

Meaningless simplicity is, well, meaningless.

Here’s where I am on this journey.

Living simple, I think, is a holy thing. It’s a spiritual discipline – which is an uninspiring term for something that is supposed to bring me closer to God. Let’s work on thinking of a better one, shall we. Spiritual discipline just doesn’t cut it for me. Maybe holy practice, or something? Anyway …

Simplicity, to be meaningful (to me), must be a holy thing. Reduction for a purpose. Cutting out so something can be added in. Making space for the better thing.

Saying no so I can say yes.

Surrender.

I’m a stay-at-home homeschooling mom raising three boys in countrybumpkinville on the Saskatchewan prairie. My simple life is unique to me and my situation and my calling. You are who you are, living how you live, where you live. Your simple life mission, should you choose to accept it, will look different from mine. I can’t tell you the how of it. You will need to figure that out for yourself.

This is a good thing.

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This post is part of the My Dad and Me series that I share, of course, with my dad. He’s been writing a lot lately about spending time with elderly people, and I’ve found his stories very beautiful. Last week, while Dad and Mom were staying with us for a few days, we went to visit a friend in the hospital. He won’t be leaving. He used to be a big, strong farmer. Now he’s skinny and failing in health, and it was precious to spend a few minutes with him. Talk about reduction. Four walls and a bed. But when he sang for us that old song about love and the Red River, I was touched. And when he talked about his wife and the farm and the days now gone, I was blessed. And when we were leaving he quoted scripture and shared a few thoughts, and the time we’d spent together, simple though it was, was sanctified. Holy simplicity in a hospital room.

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