Yearning For Less

Estimated reading time: 5 minute(s)

“I wish I had more time!”

I am saying that far too often these days. And, it sure seems true when I think it and/or utter it.

I am finding that I wake up tired most days, and often go to bed later than I thought I would. And understandably, have much to do in the middle of each day.

We are a family of eight, after all. And two of the eight are two and three years old. They need plenty of assistance, and beyond that they seem to have the most … aggressive? personalities of all eight of us! So, of course, there will be long day. Maybe most.

But it feels like more than that.

Last fall, Jen got to travel to California for about a week to visit with friends, and meet new ones. (She also attend a workshop called HeartChange that she really loved! We highly recommend, if you’re on the west coast.) Just before that we had a family vacation where the couple different places we stayed were so stark in their decor that it was truly one of the refreshing pieces of our down time. While in California, the simplicity of environment—and simplicity of daily schedule—came up in conversation and Jen became even more convinced that she really wanted a much simpler life. Even if only for a season, schedule and stuff needed de-cluttering.

Unbeknownst to her, I had made plans with my parents to do a pretty big kitchen transformation project! Not only did that involve ripping out the carpet that was in there and replacing it with a nice laminate flooring, it also involved a hefty amount of getting rid of things! I knew Jen had been thinking of that, so we took the first step.

New Kitchen

The Great Kitchen Transformation of 2011!

It was not just well-received, she loved it! She had been hoping to do a little rearranging upon her return, and this major “rearrangement” was the catalyst for much more!

We set to work in the girls’ bedroom. We had some great success in there getting rid of several large bags and/or boxes of things. (The thrift stores like us… I think?) And then we made some progress in a few other rooms (though there’s more to go there, to be sure!) … slowly, but surely we are thinning out. Trying to live a bit simpler.

It actually seems to be a sentiment that several people we know are echoing. Life is too full, too busy. Time to simplify. A friend wrote about living simply on her site recently, too.

So why do we want simple? Why do we feel so over-stimulated?

Partly it’s that we just have too many options. Whether it’s entertainment options, or activity options, or social options, home schooling options, or even work-related options (maybe that applies even more to me being self-employed?) and then throw in there family “options” (like One Kid Nights and date nights and just regular family activities…)

Goodness! There’s a lot to do!

Just thinking of the things I leave undone every day, there are so many books I am currently reading (and many more I want to read … have you seen my list?!) then there are a good many shows in my Netflix queue (including tons of documentaries that I’d love to watch … sometime?). That’s all after the work I need to get done each day, and—as I’m sure you’ve noticed—I’ve made writing a priority again, too.

So where do we breathe? When do we rest? Where is the quiet? The silence where we sit with our Father and learn from him, enjoy being his kids?

I really don’t know.

It could be that we are avoiding just that. But I don’t think so. Sometimes we do busy ourselves to ignore painful things, or things we in some way dread. That does work for a while, and in the end, will produce the same, tiring results.

I think it’s even more pervasive that that, if possible.

There’s some restlessness embedded in our culture that must have a full schedule, that must have a full cupboard, that must have all the things we need and might need.

At some level, it’s rooted in our level of trust in God to take care of us.

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

But is it only that? Perhaps. Is it bad to have stuff? Not inherently. But have you noticed how the more stuff you have, the more you need to have (like even, parts and accessories for your stuff), then the more you need to repair your stuff, then the more you need to buy things to keep your stuff in…

And the more events you do, the more people you meet, the more things you’re invited to do…

Which leads to needing more money to do more things, and to have more stuff…

More, more… MORE.

And thus, the yearning for simplicity.

Somehow, Jesus managed to live his life in skin as a homeless vagabond that never lacked for companionship (until the final days of his life) and he also managed to live arguably the most impactful life ever lived. Perhaps a full schedule or the most things don’t really lead to a better life?

“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

I’m not sure if we Campbells are being asked (by God) to sell our possessions. I mean, it clearly says that in that verse from Luke, but so far that conviction is not in my heart, nor Jen’s. But maybe this hunger (however large or small) for simpler will eventually lead there? We’ll see.

For now, I do know that there is a deep longing in my heart for simpler. Less stuff. Less options. More rest. The phrase “less is more” comes to mind.

The tricky part is how do we get there. That’s the next part of our adventure I think.

I’m curious to see how Jesus unfolds that in our life. (Some “busyness” currently seems “necessary”.)

Further thoughts will be shared on these pages, of course. And if you are so inclined, would love for you to join the conversation below!

But only if you have the time. 😉

Scripture quotes from Luke 12, from the New Living Translation.

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