We’re roughly 2.5 months into our simplicity journey, and I’m really starting to see the ways these changes are impacting me. The more I talk with friends about this simplicity journey, the more I’m able to process what we’re doing and the interal changes taking place.
One of the biggest changes so far is that my desire to buy things has been greatly reduced. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of times I see a beautiful shirt or an artistic mantle display, especially when I’m scrolling through Instagram, and I have a strong urge to shop. It isn’t the same urge that I had three months ago, though. I don’t feel like I’m missing trends or that my simply decorated mantle needs something more. Yesterday I was at Target for groceries and a couple household odds-and-ends, and I realized I didn’t have the desire to buy much else. It’s sinking in that I already have plenty. I don’t need another little bowl, even though it is incredible cute and I would love to eat yogurt out of it in the mornings. Nor do I need another kitchen towel, even one that has sweet little red polka dots, because I have four towels in my drawer and that number is absolutely sufficient. My Target trip was pretty short, fairly inexpensive (we do need to eat, after all), and then I headed home to play with my Sammy baby. This is a change I’m happy to see in myself.
Simplifying my clothes stash is a difficult task for me, as I imagine is the case for a lot of us. I’ve never been one to have a wild amount of clothes, but I’ve certainly always had more than I actually wear. One tricky point right now is that I am working hard to get back into my pre-Sammy shape. I’m not there right now, though, which means I’m sort of between sizes. I have five or six outfits that I wear on a regular basis that make me feel cute and comfortable. I’ve decided for now that I don’t need more than that. Do my friends mind if they see me in the same few outfits every time we hang out? I’m fairly positive they don’t. I like wearing everything I have and knowing exactly what’s in my closet. I did recently need to buy a new pair of jeans as my size changed a bit (yay!) but I stuck with my previous set ‘rules’ and bought them second-hand. I do plan to keep my clothes stash fairly small until we leave for Kenya next year.
My last post mentioned a little break from social media. I realized I was spending so much time, especially in the morning, hovering over my phone. I was excited to see what some of my favorite people posted and what friends would say about my ‘this is Sammy in the morning’ pictures. But then I realized, multiple days in a row, that as the clock hit noon, I felt I hadn’t really accomplished anything all morning. That’s when I felt God leading me toward a break. I didn’t blog or look at Facebook and I deleted Instagram from my phone. A week came and went, and in the end, I found it quite refreshing. I wasn’t thinking during that time about taking just the right photos or writing a great caption, and I didn’t spend any time at all reading random, odd articles posted by friends. It was nice. It was so nice, in fact, that I’ve decided to continue with regular breaks. I’ll be on social media Friday afternoon through Sunday night but not at all during the week. Such boundaries tend to work well for me, since I find it difficult to simply limit my media time each day. And I don’t want to cut it out altogether, especially Instagram. I love my little Instagram family! I’m simplifying my technology use and praying about what I can do to simplify further. I know there are all kinds of ways to do it, but I want to make sure each thing I do is meaningful and what God has for me. Otherwise, I might grow to really dislike simplifying, and right now, I thoroughly enjoy it.
Even though I’ve mostly been enjoying this simplicity journey so far, I don’t want to give the impression that every decision is super easy and that I don’t sometimes struggle with it. Two weeks ago, I was really, really missing having my nails done. This might seem silly, but having my nails done is one of the ways I treat myself away from the kids. After Pete finished residency and we started getting real paychecks, I celebrated by getting my nails done. I had never had beautiful, strong, artificial nails before that. For our wedding, I did the inexpensive Target press-ons, which looked pretty fantastic, but they didn’t last long at all. Anyway, I made it a regular treat, going to the nail salon about twice a month. It was a dream, especially since I’ve always been pretty self-conscience of my itty-bitty, super soft nails. Of course, I stopped having my nails done back in January when we tightened our budget. A pretty easy place to cut costs. I was missing having finished nails so much that, one afternoon, I drove to Ulta and bought a bottle of red, sparkly OPI polish and gave myself a manicure. I have a history of giving myself terrible manis, but I actually did a very lovely paint job! This little bottle of polish has been the only item I’ve purchased outside of necessity since January 12. At first I felt bad about it, but then, after talking to Pete and, yes, praying about my wee purchase of nail polish, I remembered that the whole point of this six-month journey is to learn. And I am surely learning.
I am learning that God does care about my little daily choices. (He cares about all our details!) I’m learning to listen for his guidance on those choices. And I’m seeing the emotional and spiritual outcomes of obeying his leading and being open to more of what he has. He continues to slowly reveal areas where we can simplify and how we can do it. I know He is the one who put the social media break in front of me, and I feel more freedom because of it. I have been reading far more (while walking laps in my hallway to keep on top of my fitness goals), and I’ve begun journaling again, both activities that I feel build me up rather than leave me feeling a bit blah after too much Facebook time. One step at a time, I hope to continue to grow in this journey and to take what I’m learning far beyond the end of our six-month timeline.
Is God urging you to make any small changes in your daily life? Go after it! Obeying in even the smallest of things can open the door to tremendous freedom. If you’re not sure if he’s trying to point anything out to you, take just a couple minutes and ask him. It doesn’t have to be anything formal and proper. Simply say something like, “Jesus, is there anything I can change in my daily life that would bring more freedom?” And then wait quietly for a few moments. If anything comes to mind, ask if that’s him showing you. If you’re not sure, try it out! Maybe it has something to do with the time you’re watching TV or the amount of money you spend at Target each week. God really does care about little details and he wants to to show us how to live more joy-filled lives. I don’t know about you, but I’m always up for more joy in my life!