As we went around the table at our Caring Circle monthly meeting, each woman in turn started the same way, “I’m so tired!” Young moms, grandmothers, working-outside-the-home moms, working-at-home moms. Our ages spanned four decades yet our stories were the same. I’m pooped! And I don’t like it!
I hear the same words repeated over and over: exhausted, overwhelmed, over scheduled, anxious, isolated, dissatisfied testifies Bill Hybels in Simplify. Hybels says he began talking about “simplifying” in response to meeting so many people all over the world who were facing burnout, stress and dissatisfaction.
Why is it that a full generation after learning there is no such thing as Superwoman (the dedicated employee, involved mother, sexpot spouse who never has a headache. She’s a gourmet cook, fashionably dressed, stylishly coiffed, gel nailed, completely accessorized dynamo with buns of steel who teaches weekly Bible studies and volunteers for her community association) women are still knocking themselves out trying to squeeze into that skimpy leotard with the Big S stretched across their bursting bosom?
Everybody is writing and talking about simplifying these days. Go to Amazon and key in “simplify” and you will have scores of resources to choose from. They span concepts like frugality, minimalism, decluttering, organizing, downsizing and more. But most of us are too tired and busy to read those books and we don’t need the stress of having to add one more thing to our lives even if that one-more-thing is “finding a way out of the mess I’m in!”
To most of us the word simplify means “get rid of.” It might mean I need to purge my closet of all the clothes I don’t fit, don’t like, and don’t wear so I can easily access what I do fit, do like and do wear. It might mean get rid of time-wasters, like watching Netflix so I can be more active…but what if I lose weight and have to bring all those skinny clothes back to my overstuffed closet? Oh rats! Two steps forward; one step back.
There are no shortcuts to simplified living, says Hybels. Untangling yourself from the overscheduled, overwhelming web of your current life is not for the faint of heart. It’s honest rigorous work…. Action is required. Hybels then outlines 10 practices to unclutter your soul. These practices deal with finances, time management, relationships, work, forgiveness, and energy to name a few. He concludes each chapter with action steps because reading the book alone will not simplify your life — taking action will. I’m already tired and Bill just told me I need to take action!?
Simplified living is about…being who God called us to be….If you crave a simpler life anchored by the priorities that matter most…you can stop doing the stuff that doesn’t matter and build your life on the stuff that does, Hybels says. Join me as I work my way through Hybels’ 10 practices in my next series of blogs. I will try to be as honest as I can about my “action plan” and how those actions are working — or not — to unclutter my soul. I invite your comments about your own efforts to simplify.