Finding Freedom Through Living Contently Part 3

Posted by admin on July 30, 2015

After the last two posts, you're probably wondering, "So, How the heck do you begin living more contently?"  I have to admit, I don't have it all figured out.  As I was sitting the other day, contemplating this very thing, I spotted two Hummingbirds chasing each other-perfectly happy and content, and the verse about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field began to go through my head...

Well, I looked it up.  Here it is:

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your lifee ?

28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:25-34

After counting our blessings, and evaluating where we are going with our lives, I think it is important to begin to simplify things.  The verse above doesn't just talk about material things, I also believe it refers to adding more time to our day for a reason.  We spend a lot of our time on things that don't matter, and if we really want to live the life we feel we feel we are meant to live, I believe we have to simplify our schedules along with the physical things too.

Well, I can't tell you what to do, but I can share with you some ways that I am working to simplify things in my life, and perhaps it will spur some ideas for you:

Time: 

Time is our most important commodity.  We can replenish other things again, but we will never gain our time back.  I have been working hard to not waste time.

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One of my worst habits is letting myself get sucked into social media.  To help this, I am going to start treating my phone more like a "house" phone.  I'm going to leave the volume on with it plugged into its charger, but that means it will be in my bedroom, so I will actually have to get up to get it, and if I can't get to it at that moment, people can leave me a message just like they used to (back in the olden days, lol).

Not having it by me all the time should keep me from being tempted me to check it constantly.  Then, at the allotted times, I will go check it and not feel guilty about it.  I'll even play a game if I want to.  When it's not that time though, plugged in it will remain.

Learning to say "no" is also really important.  I've heard it said many times: Saying "yes" to something unimportant today, might make you have to say "no" to SOMEONE important tomorrow.  Be careful what you commit yourself to.  You don't have to feel obligated to do what everyone else wants you to do.  Sometimes you might want to take time to pray/meditate about the decision, and make sure it lines up with what you and your family are trying to accomplish before just saying "yes."

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Also I am trying to make sure that I am planning things like: Spiritual time, and exercise.  I know we're talking about not having enough time, so this can seem counterintuitive, but I find making the time for these things makes the rest of my day go much smoother.

With that-Exercise:

One way I have done this is to start riding my bike everywhere that I can.  My kids and I have ridden to different movie theaters in town, and I even rode my bike downtown everyday while I was on jury duty-it was actually quite convenient and refreshing.

We also started thinking of our workout time as a family activity.  We have now done a couple of "fun" runs together.  We may not always get to workout/train for those at the same time, but we do "Fun Fitness" events and look forward to doing them as a team.

As if that wasn't enough-where does the madness end?  Haha.  My hubby has recently become obsessed with running, and I've come to a place where I've realized spending time with him in this way is just as good, or I suppose better than sitting on the couch with him would be.  So, I am trying to get my lazy booty up more often and go with him.

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Physical Items:  

I have started decluttering like crazy.  I am tired of having a borage of stuff that keeps me from being able to see all the things I do love, use, or actually need around.  It's very hard to begin living contently when you have too much stuff around you.  There are a few ways I am doing this:

  • Bid & Win Groups: These groups are like a local Ebay, and are different than craigslist.  I post things with a minimum bid price, people bid on it, and then-the thing I love the most about this group is-everyone meets at a set time on specific day of the week at a local place, such as a movie theater.  This has been an awesome way to get rid of stuff.
  • If it doesn't sell there, I donate it, find someone who wants it, or throw it away if it's not reusable.

A podcast that I'm loving for getting motivated to clear the clutter is: Organize 365 Whole House 40 Day Challenge.  I don't even necessarily organize the exact thing she is organizing, but sometimes just listening to her talk about organizing gets me motivated to do something.

Clothing:  

I am definitely trying to get to a place of needing less clothing.  Now, don't hear me wrong here.  I love clothing and fashion.  But here's the thing: If my closet is a huge mess of clothing all squished together, whether it's hanging or overly stuffed in my baskets, I DO NOT get inspired.  I get the, "I have nothing to wear" syndrome, when it's clear that that is NOT true. The real problem is that I have a bunch of junk that I picked up that I don't love.

Jewelry is a great example of this for me.  I owned a $5 accessories, direct sales business for a little bit that actually did pretty well for me.  However, through a few circumstances, I decided it wasn't the thing for me.  Well, in the end, not only did I end up with all the jewelry I had decided to keep, but I also ended up with a TON of jewelry that I didn't even want to look at any more, and I LOVE JEWELRY.  I ended up not wearing any for about a year because all I could see when I looked in my amazing IKEA closet, pull-out jewelry organizer was a bunch of jewelry I hadn't taken the time to go through yet.  Let me tell you, when I finally did, it was SO liberating!

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There is a great lady that I subscribed to for a few years called Missussmartypants, and she taught me that if I can't think of 3 outfits that I can wear with an item , it doesn't belong in my closet.  Also, she really helped me to figure out what colors look best on me, as well as the styles that look best on my body shape. She taught me that it doesn't matter where I buy something-Goodwill, JCPenneys, or Macy's, or how much I pay for it. If it doesn't work with my wardrobe, look good on me, I don't wear the item or like it, it is not a good buy.  Even if it seems like it's a bargain!  Also, she has a great  article on purging your closet that you can read here.

I use the same methods to get rid of clothing as I mentioned above, except to add, that with clothing sometimes I sell to consignment shops too.  Keep what you use and love, get rid of the rest.

Don't forget that you can also always borrow something if you need to too.  You just don't have to keep everything.  I feel like getting rid of stuff has truly been FREEING my brain!  I'm getting to a place where

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It's still a work in progress though, believe me.

Finances: 

And then there's the finances.  I'm not going to go crazy here.  I feel like this deserves an entire series in itself.  Let me just tell you, that my hubby and I worked hard for two years, and on 1.11.11 we were debt free!  We used Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.  This has simplified our lives in ways that I never could have imagined!  We don't worry any more about HOW we're going to pay certain bills; we don't have the long, hard money discussions as much any more-they do still happen from time to time when we have to use the emergency fund; BUT we actually HAVE  an emergency fund-talk about living contently.  All these things allow for such an amazing peace, and if you are in a place of not knowing where to start right now with your finances, I would point you in this direction-Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps.

THE POINT

So, what is all this simplifying for?  There has to be a purpose, right?  I think about a junk drawer.  If I go to the drawer to get a paperclip, and my junk drawer is a super big mess, a few things are going to happen:

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1)  I'm going to immediately get distracted

2) I'm going to forget what I was looking for in the first place

3) I might start trying to declutter the drawer but then get distracted by something else as I am putting an item away, in a different spot

4) I will close the junk drawer when I walk back by later, because now the paper clip is way out of my radar

5) Probably start the process over again, if I get back to whatever task sent me looking for "said" paperclip in the first place.

Yuck.  Okay, funny story, but I must share with you, that this happens with everyday stuff in my life if I have too much going on.  We don't want our lives to be like the junk drawer.  We want it to be more like the silverware drawer-where we have those nice liners to put each type of eating utensil in its place.  In fact, we know where that stuff is, sometimes we don't even have to look when grabbing, right?

And hey, it's not perfect-no, we still have that miscellaneous part of the liner where who knows what's supposed to go in there, and it ends up with a little bit of everything.  That's ok.  There has to be some room for spontaneity too.

The point is to find a balance that will help us to NOT live in a reactionary way all the time, in complete chaos.  To slow down a little, declutter our spaces, time, and our brains to actually move in the direction we want to go in life.

Living contently definitely requires some simplifying.  Learning to love and appreciate the people around us, the things we already have and the things we get to do in our life does require some intention.  I would highly suggest taking a good look at the areas in your life that just have too much going on, and finding ways you can cut back.  I could go on and on.  So here are my questions for you in this final post about Living Contently:

  1. What areas of your life do you want to dedicate more time to?
  2. What areas do you need to do some simplifying/decluttering in?
  3. Where can you Find more Freedom in you Everyday Life?
  • Finances
  • Schedule
  • Social time
  • Material Items
  • Family: immediate and extended
  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual
  • Career

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I hope that these posts have started something in you.  Remember that I am on this journey with you.  Everything I posted is for me too.  I will be coming back and referring to these posts myself to remind me of what I need to do.  So, if you have any questions, comments, or would like to share what you're doing to simplify, please feel free to share in the comments, at my Facebook page, or on Twitter.

TTFN

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