Living Simply: Intro
When I was a child, I received the greatest of all furniture pieces for my bedroom: my very own desk. I was thrilled to organize my school and office supplies in the built-in drawer and cubbies. I stashed pens and markers where they belonged and I stacked looseleaf paper in a bin. A new level of order entered my world and brought with it sheer delight.
If you have a memory similar to mine, you can bet that you share in some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder tendencies. Organization is my game and freaking out over neatness brings no shame. In fact, doing what I do simply by nature, I figure I can help others create order in their homes. You don’t have an OCD reflex? Not a problem. I’ve been thinking this one through and I have an approach to get you systematically creating order and a new sense of calm in each room of your house. Are you ready?
I’ll never forget the first time I did a talk at a Mothers of Preschoolers group. I was asked to share on this very topic. I focused on just a few tips for maintaining order in the home, thinking it was nice information, but probably nothing these dear women hadn’t already thought of. That’s when my eyes were opened to the fact that not everyone naturally creates order. It really is a gift. One of the moms saw me the next week and emphatically said the information I shared changed her life. I was dumbfounded. I wish I had stopped whatever I was doing at that time and published a manual for living simply. But let’s be honest, I was probably too busy keeping a house in order to write about it.
Now, always before I teach a how-to I like to explain a why. I hope you don’t mind a bit of philosophy… I promise to move expediently into the nitty gritty. But I think this part is important, so I shouldn’t skip it. That “O” in OCD stands for obsessive, a trait that can be quite bothersome to self and to others with whom you live. There’s a productive angle that produces perseverance, but there’s a destructive one as well: not finding contentment in the now. If I only can have _______, then I will be happy. You know the mindset, and so do I. Not only is it counter-productive, but it’s ugly.
Apply discontentment with our home environment, and we can become some irritable women. Let’s face it, whether it’s one unfinished project or a whole slew of them, postponing satisfaction until certain things are checked off quickly becomes a dangerous path to travel. But if we instead aim for daily gratitude, we can avoid the I’ll-never-be-happy-because-my-home-as-it-exists-is-not-enough-rut.
How do you intentionally dwell in a spirit of gratitude? If that happens to be a natural gift of yours, consider writing a manual of your own to help others! What you know and practice is needed information! But, for the rest of us, let’s really think about a technique we use to redirect our minds away from a critical attitude and toward a grateful heart. It’s called disciplining the thought-life, and no one can do that for us. The burden rests on each one of us to take thoughts captive and make them obedient to truth. Here’s what I know: we are a blessed people. We have so much more than we ever have deserved. And when we start becoming grateful for what already has come into our lives, more pleasures seem to find us without our even striving to attain them. I believe this is the first place to begin a quest for peace in our homes. It starts within…
LIVING SIMPLY WORKBOOK
What three ways can you intentionally filter your thoughts about your home through the lens of gratitude?