I recently read an article suggesting that many affluent English children today are experiencing the same types of mental health challenges that children in refugee camps in Jakarta had experienced. Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting, concludes that children who deal with “too much” can be suspect to being pushed into the realm of disorder. He conducted a study of children dealing with attention deficit disorder in which he simplified their lives for a period of time.
Within four months, the children had shown exceptional improvement in their functionality as well as their clinical and cognitive aptitude. Payne suggests there are four aspects in which we have too much excess: in our possessions, in the choices we expect our children to make, too much information to process, and going through life too quickly. This leads me to wonder if we, as adults, are also experiencing large amounts of stress due to “too much.”
Streamlining our lives will help to bring a sense of order and balance to our lives. Melissa Michaels, author of Dwelling: Simple Ways to Nourish Your Home, Body & Soul, writes that “...when we prune down what is truly valuable to our well-being, we finally appreciate and benefit from what remains.”
We need to be courageous as individuals and parents to create a simplified life in order to be present in our reality. Just because “everybody is doing it” does not mean it brings the results everyone is looking for. It’s time to take back our lives and live in the moment. Michaels suggests, “its okay to say no, or not today, or not in this season.”
As I think of the ways we’ve streamlined our family life, I am thankful for the outcome of a stronger family unit. As I’ve streamlined our home, I’m thankful I can find important documents when needed or be free to have company over or leave home on a moment’s notice without cringing about the mess I’m leaving behind. “A lifestyle of well-being becomes effective when we take care of ourselves (and our homes) on a continuous not momentary basis.” (Melissa Michaels)
To streamline is to simplify your process and priorities. Setting priorities is pivotal in streamlining your life. Joyce Zook, a military wife and mother, says, “Time management isn’t enough when your priorities are out of line.” Setting priorities such as maintaining a clean home, serving wholesome meals, spending time with spouse and family, taking time to be in the Word and fellowshipping with other believers, and cultivating close friendships with peers and mentors are all matters of great importance in our lives. It is a freeing sensation when things are in order in our home and our schedule is streamlined in order to accomplish the priorities we have set as a couple and family.
The Word of God suggests we live an orderly life, too. “...teach the younger women to ...be self-controlled and pure, taking care of the household and being devoted to their husbands.” Paul addressing those in leadership, encourages us to do “...all things in a beautiful and orderly way.” God is not the author of confusion.
Be encouraged to live a lifestyle of well-being; simplifying your process and priorities and begin to enjoy the benefits of streamlined living.
Scripture references: Titus 2:3-5, 1 Corinthians 14:40