Today's post is written by Rachel of Our Yellow Door. I'm introducing you to some of my online favorites while I take a bit of a maternity leave. I love Rachel's simple style in encouraging others in the simple journey. Enjoy!
Hey there, ya’ll! My name is Rachel, and I blog over at Our Yellow Door. I write about Jesus, marriage, inspired living, and simplicity. Trina and I connected a few months ago through the #simplicity hashtag on Instagram, and her blog has inspired me a ton! I love her honest and organic thoughts about minimalism and living simplistically, especially with a family. Trina was kind enough to ask me to guest post about my own journey towards simplicity, and I was thrilled to say yes!
At the beginning of 2014, my husband (Hans) and I felt like God was really laying the theme of simplicity on our hearts. We had only been married for a few months, but already our home was cluttered with “stuff”. We were feeling pressure to jump back into ministry and fill our schedule with meetings and events. Our finances were manageable, but tight. As 2014 began, the LORD was whispering to us, “Hey. You two. There’s a better way.”
Ya’ll. It IS so much better. Our western culture emphasizes having more, better, bigger, shinier, fancier (and often, debt-inducing) things and busier, more chaotic schedules. But my husband and I never found satisfaction or peace with that mindset. In fact, we felt like it was pulling us away from being focused on Christ. As we started to get into the rhythms of simple living, the breathing room of clear rooms and clear days, we found a lot more room for Jesus, and each other.
We started pretty practically – possessions. Our home is for us, not our stuff! Hans and I started ruthlessly investigating every item we owned, weighing whether or not we really needed it and loved it. As the pile in our garage grew, so did the level of peace in our home. Less “things” means less to clean and maintain, less to see (anyone else hate clutter?!) and less to distract us from each other, our friends and family, and the LORD. We have only kept things that we find both useful and beautiful.
Sidenote: Eventually, Hans and I would like to build our own Tiny Home. We’re trying to pare down our possessions into just what would fit in less than 200 square feet!
At the beginning of our marriage, Hans and I made the conscious decision to “take a year off”. Previously, we’d been serving in all sorts of capacities with ministry, which meant a lot of busy evenings and a lot of burn out. As newlyweds (and I’ll be honest, very stubborn newlyweds...!) we decided that a busy schedule might not be good for us. As we finish up our “year off”, we decided on one ministry to serve in, and that’s it. Busyness does not equal holiness, and we’d rather have time to eat dinner together, cuddle in on Saturday mornings, and pursue our passions!
We spend money on what we need, save up for what we want, and eliminate costs that aren’t necessary. This means we don’t have cable, we don’t buy a lot of clothes or home décor items, and we don’t use credit cards. I had to take a big step back from the Target clearance aisles, too! With owning fewer possessions and spending less, though, we are able to buy higher quality things...and that’s pretty nice! It also means that we have money to support charities and missionaries, too.
Some practical ways that we’ve simplified...
- keeping only the books we really love
- eliminating duplicates of items (kitchen utensils, blankets, etc.)
- purging clothes we hadn’t worn in the last year
- getting rid of extraneous sentimental items
- choosing few schedule commitments
- gardening some of our own produce
- making our own cleaning supplies
- saving up for big purchases instead of using credit
- buying higher quality items that will last longer
We’re so ridiculously far from perfect simplifiers! I still have a handful of tops I can’t seem to let go of. Hans does landscaping, so he’s constantly adding lawn tools to his arsenal. And we totally splurged on unnecessary pizza last week. We’re never going to have it perfect. That (along with so many other things!) makes me stupid crazy grateful for God’s grace. Looking at simplicity (or any other area of life, for that matter) through legalistic lenses doesn’t leave much room for that grace.
I’m so thankful that Jesus doesn’t demand anything of us other, but He wants us to be joyfully obedient to His leading. And it’s ok if we stumble a little along the way! It’s ok to be a beginner.
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