The Courage to Live Simply

Several months ago, I read a book I never thought I would read. Now I love to read, but I had never heard of this author and well, I wasn't sure I was really all that interested in her topic.  Erin Loechner is a blogger and her book was Chasing Slow

I don't know about you but my life looks like anything but chasing slow. But something about the cover spoke to me. Or was it the tag line which contained the word "courage".  You know I'm a sucker for that courage thing. 

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So I picked up a book that was laid out more like a magazine and I started to read. And the more I read - the more I needed to read. I blogged about what I learned from her book in The Courage to Slow Down.  And I had a lot to learn.  How to embrace my moments and not live for success or the appearance that I have it all together. 

The Benefits of Living Simply

I return to it today because I'm preparing for my latest group coaching workshop: Cultivating Simplicity. A little word about my group coaching workshop topics. The choosing of the topics is not as scientific as you would think. So here I sit preparing for simplicity and realizing I need a refresher in the courage to live slow. 

I'm pretty sure that you're a lot like me. You long to live a simpler life in our fast paced world. But things get in the way. Things like work and volunteer commitments. Things like baseball and soccer schedules and church meetings.  Things like to-do lists and exercise plans. And before you know it, your life is anything but simple. 

What are the benefits to living simply?  They are things like a slower pace and more margin to spend time with the people you love doing the things you love. It's finally finding grace to be exactly who God made you to be. Living simply helps you slow down long enough to enjoy the moment you are experiencing instead of planning the next one. 

If you and I are going to live simply, it's not just going to magically happen. We need to cultivate it. We need to intentionally build it into our lives. So just how do we do that, you may be asking? 

Resting in our God-given identity

I almost put this last on the list.  You know, do some things and then rest in who God says you are. Except this needs to be our foundation if we intend to live simply. 

The truth is that our world will continue to encourage us to rush and get there and do it perfectly. There will always be more sports for our kids, obligations at work and expectations from others. We will always want a bigger house or better cars or a bigger blog. Ahem...

Only God will encourage us to be still and know that He is God. Only God will remind us that we have value and worth apart from our performance. When we rest in our identity, we can choose to live with the idea that busier does not mean better. It's okay to let go and well just have nothing to do. 

Pay attention to what has heart and meaning

Back in coaching school, my trainers focused on what they called the Committed Ways of Being. Basically, these ways are just attitudes we show up in the world with. And one of my favorites was choosing to pay attention to what has heart and meaning. 

To be honest, I don't think we do this enough. We can fly through life and forget to pay attention to what we value or what has meaning to us. The secret to the living simply is not only paying attention to what has heart and meaning - but choosing to live that out in small ways everyday. 

Does playing with your kids energize you? Does reading a book on your deck? Does going for a run? Whatever it is that has heart and meaning and joy for you - intentionally plan those things into your day.

The kicker may be that you'll disappoint others' expectations in the process. You may need to say no to the PTA or the 5th volunteer thing you do or taking over the carpool for your friend down the street. Instead, you'll make space for the things you love and that bring meaning and heart to your life. 

Need help with this?  Check out my Love Your Day Everyday Resource Guide

Letting Go Of Perfect

I tend to lean toward perfectionism.  I want things done right. I want to look like I have it all together. No typos. I always know the next step. I've got this. 

But, the truth is that I don't. I don't have this. I hardly ever know the next step. There are always typos. I still sneak gluten because it tastes do good. And rarely do I feel like I have it all together. 

Where does this affect me? In living simply. You see this drive to do things right leaves me little room for margin or just enough or space to breathe. I'm always on the treadmill of doing more and not disappointing anyone. 

Last summer, I read a little book called Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I loved her book because it spoke to my heart. We are not called to never disappoint - but to live present. To be aware of the moments. To choose to live simply by enjoying the moments and people God has gifted us with. 

We can't always do that when we're striving for better and to look like we have it all together or never disappointing someone. The reality is that living simply takes courage because it means we will disappoint. You and I will need to say no to what's good to embrace what's best. You and I will need to choose to say a messy house is enough. One sport for my kiddo is enough. One volunteer role is enough. We don't need to outdo. We need to rest in our identity and choose to live simply right where we are. 

Are you craving a little more hands on discussion when it comes to cultivating your own way to live simply? Check out my group coaching workshop this Saturday and walk away with action plans to start living simply right where you are.