If your life feels complicated, stressed and out of control. . .you may need to simplify your lifestyle.
I realize that the word simplify is not in the King James Version of the Bible but we’re definitely directed to live a life free of complications, confusion, stress and anxiety.
Simplify means: “Remove anything that complicates your life and preventing you from freely pursuing your purpose for living. . .while enjoying the journey.”
When we were in the process of selling our home once. . .my fine wife Bev had done an excellent in “feng shuing” (Chinese term) the house. . .which means removing the clutter and simplifying the look. . .so the room has an energy. . .thus allowingg potential buyers to see themselves living there. Bev calls her process Holy Ghost "shuing" it because the Holy Spirit helped her make the decisions thus empowering the appearance of the room.
Here are seven ways to simplify your life.
1. Remove spiritual clutter which causes confusion
According to dictionary.com clutter is defined as:
“to fill or litter with things in a disorderly manner; a disorderly heap; a state or condition of confusion.”
God would never do anything or for that matter. . .want you to do anything which would create confusion or clutter in your life.
1 Corinthians 14:33 in the Easy-To-Read Version says:
“God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace. . .”
Confusion and evil are roommates on a road trip to find anyone who’ll give them a place to stay.
James 3:16 in the Easy-To-Read Version says:
“Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there will be confusion and every kind of evil.”
When you bring order into your environment. . .you eliminate clutter and remove confusion.
Removing clutter from your life includes but is not limited to. . .your desk, dresser, closet, night stand, bathroom reading rack, medicine cabinet, garage, attic, your car, your workspace or station at the office and. . .well, everything else. Smiling.
It’s also important to remove clutter from the three “C’s” of your life (calendar, conversations and cronies.)
The best way to remove clutter from your calendar is to learn to say no. You don’t need to be on every committee at church. . .you don’t need to volunteer for every assignment at the office.
You need to ask the Holy Spirit what your involvement should be. Set priorities and boundaries for your time. Remember, your time is your life.
The best way to remove clutter from your conversations is two-fold.
First, don’t engage in meaningless chatter. Ask yourself. . .is this conversation worth me exchanging part of my life for it?
Second, set limits for your conversations. Everybody has a friend who through either need or loneliness will continue to talk and talk and talk and talk. Listen but set a limit!
The best way to remove clutter from your cronies is by spending time with folks that where you are both encouraged, exhorted or edified in the process. Friendship is a two way street.
Without a doubt, you will have friends who need your Godly wisdom and counsel. Those who respond to your advice will find their lives changing. . .those who don’t will remain needy. . .regardless of how much time you give them.
Removing the clutter from your life. . .will allow you to remove things that have been holding you back from leading a more productive and thus, successful life.
Hebrews 12:1-2 in the Amplified Bible says:
“…let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,
2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
If you’re running a race. . .you don’t need to be encumbered.
Establishing order will eliminate clutter and confusion and make things simpler.
Job 30:13 in the Amplified Bible says:
“They break up and clutter my path [embarrassing my plans]; they urge on my calamity, even though they have no helper [and are themselves helpless].”
2. Stop living by the tyranny of the urgent
If your desire is to sincerely simplify your life. . .then you must take control of your time.
Two keys to this particular point are. . .stop living by the tyranny of the urgent. A little prior proper planning will prevent the stress of something being needed NOW.
If you plan tomorrow today. . .not only will you achieve your desired results. . .but you will become the master of your own time.
Remember, your time is your life.
Without question. . .someone will ALWAYS be putting demand on your time.
Even if you live alone. . .someone is always desiring your time. . .whether it’s the advertisers on television, the latest Internet deal or some friend who has nothing better to do than spend time in meaningless chatter with you on the phone.
By planning your day. . .you eliminate unnecessary time leaks. . .thus simplifying your life.
And by the way, Jesus guarded His life against time leaks.
John 9:4 in The Living Bible says:
“All of us must quickly carry out the task assigned us by the one who sent me for there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end.”
Prior proper planning maximizes our time while simplifying our lives.
Let’s go a little further.
There will never be a CONVENIENT time to take a break or enjoy a day off.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 in The Living Bible says:
“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”
Here’s the Herring paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 11:4.
“If you wait for the right time to take a day off. . .it will never come.”
“If you wait for perfect conditions to take a vacation. . .it will never happen.”
“If you wait for others to stop making demands on your time. . .it will never happen.”
“If you wait for things to slow down. . .they won’t. . .unless you do.”
If you’re married. . .schedule your date nights and quarterly or yearly getaways. Yes, you will need a flexibility in your schedule. . .but never change the date. . .without putting one in its place.
One final thing. . .you control your time. . .don’t allow anyone to squeeze you into their mold.
Romans 12:2 in the J. B. Phillips New Testament translation says:
“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.”
3. Don’t spend what you don’t have
1 Corinthians 6:12 says:
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
I will not be brought under the power of any.
Whether your credit card has a $3,000 or a $30,000 limit doesn’t mean you have to spend it. . .especially if you can’t pay the bill in full when the statement arrives.
Just remember this. . .whatever the credit limit is . . .it’s not YOUR money.
When you tap into what you can’t pay for. . .then you’re being brought under the power of the creditors.
1 Corinthians 6:12 in The Living Bible says:
“I can do anything I want to if Christ has not said no, but some of these things aren’t good for me. Even if I am allowed to do them, I’ll refuse to if I think they might get such a grip on me that I can’t easily stop when I want to.”
When you can’t pay your credit card bill in full. . .you’re putting yourself into a very dangerous position. . .a downward spiral of bondage to the lender.
If you continue tolerating and living in debt. . .your life isn’t being simplified but further complicated by your bondage to your creditors.
Learn to live by my shopping scripture.
Proverbs 4:25 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you.”
The Message Bible translation says: “. . .avoid sideshow distractions.”
Anything. . .any purchase you can’t pay in full. . .is a distraction to your desire to simplify your life.
The simplest way to live financially. . .is to owe no man but to love him.
4. Putting Family first simplifies your existence
I frequently quote Stephen Covey, the author of “7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” when he says “Learn to keep the main thing, the main thing.”
The main thing in your life should be your family.
Love your family with ‘who you are in Him’ . . .not with what you can buy for them.
I remember the third or fourth Christmas after Bev and I were married, I bought her a microwave. I just knew she’d be surprised and delighted by this gift. Believe it or not, I was wrong.
I’ll never forget her words when she opened the big box on Christmas morning. She looked at me and said, “Take it back.” I said, “Why?” Her response was simple but direct, “Because we can’t afford it.”
I said, “Baby, I wanted to get you something nice for Christmas.” She said, “All I really want for Christmas is more time with you.” She meant it and I realized that Christmas can be much more than expensive gifts.
Some of my favorite family memories of our children were those times where the spontaneous plays and outings we did. Some of our biggest laughs came while playing games or just being together.
When our youngest daughter, Alexandra, we call her Xan returned from graduate school, she and Bev drove a Penske moving truck from Fort Worth, Texas to southern California where Xan was going to live. Half way, they took a three hour out of the way detour so the two of them could visit the Grand Canyon.
From just three photos I saw. . . created memories that will last a lifetime.
A simplified life. . .will also allow more time for husbands and wives.
Create a date night once a week. . .doesn’t matter where it is. . .as long as you and your spouse are together unhindered by others.
There was a time in our lives when the children were in their teens that my fine wife, Bev, took advantage of spontaneous dates. We had laundry dates. . .even though the dry cleaner was less than five minutes away. . .it gave us time to be together. We also had Post Office adventures. . .or filling the car up with gas rendezvous’. . .grocery store get-aways. . .Blockbuster dates … that should tell you how long we’ve been married…bottom line. . .anytime we could be together. . .we were together.
It’s important that we maximize the moments. . .so we can honor the hours and distinguish between the days.
May every breath we take. . .every moment we live. . .every choice we make lead us to a simplified yet successful life.
5. Balance Brings Bouncy To Your Life
Have you ever been out on a boat and you see the channel marker bouncing with the waves? That poor channel marker doesn’t have a choice about what’s bouncing it along . . . but we sure do.
We have the power to not get so buying so many things in our lives that they are constantly needing attention or draining us of our time and attention to what’s really important.
Here are a couple well-worn sayings we heard along the way.
The greatest days in the life of owning a boat is the day you buy it and the day you get rid of it. Expensive purchases like boats, campers, vacation houses are great to look at but they can cost boatload of cash to protect, maintain and keep an eye on.
Instead of an investment house at the beach to the tune of $300,000, you might be able to go on a lot more adventures around the world for the same amount of investment.
There are a lot of ways to spend money … but a lot of ways to spend it wiser and enjoy it more too.
6. Overcome procrastination which complicates your life.
Procrastination wastes time. . .creates guilt. . .and keeps a person from accomplishing the thing they know they need to do.
One of the main reasons for procrastination is saying you don’t have everything you need to accomplish the specific task in front of you.
“I don’t have the right tools.” “My computer doesn’t have the software necessary.” “I don’t have a truck.” “I don’t have a car.”
If God has called you to do something. . .He will always make a way. God’s calling is His enabling.
God will never allow you to see something without giving you the ability to accomplish it. That statement doesn’t mean that work won’t be involved. You have to work to achieve everything in life
Procrastination is a hindrance to the achievement of your goals in life. On our website, haroldherring.com and hunt for:
30 Things To Eliminate Procrastination from Your Vocabulary
1. Get Started.
2. Create Assessment Of The Time Needed To Complete The Project.
3. Don’t Let Time Assessment Delay The Start Of Your Task.
4. Maximize Every Moment
5. Rearrange Other Assignments and Time Slots.
6. Start Somewhere
7. Tackle the most difficult part of the assignment first
8. Create Reasonable and Flexible Timelines.
9. Reward Your Success For Each Timeline Achieved
10. Do It Now. . .No Delays.
11. Is This The Easiest Way To Accomplish This Task
12. Continually Question Yourself to get better.
13. Pause Before You Start.
14. Properly Prepare Your Work Area.
15. Make Certain You Have the Proper Work Environment.
16. Use Your Timelines As Incentives
17. Announce Your Timeline Publicly.
18. Flow With Your Energy levels.
19. Plan A Function To Help Ensure Your Project Is Completed.
20. Establish Leisure Time
21. Utilize Unexpected Time Slots
22. Create A Realistic And Functioning “To Do” List.
23. Enlist The Support Of A Trusted Advisor And Friend
24. Plan For The Unexpected.
25. Don’t Put Your Foot On the Brake.
26. Achieve Or Refocus Your Timelines
28. Your Stress Level Is Reduced With Each Timeline Accomplished.
29. Secure Additional Resources.
30. Reward Yourself Over A Job Well Done.
Luke 9:62 in the Message Bible says:
“Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”
Seize the day and complete what you started. . .without further delay.
Hebrews 13:21 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah); to Whom be the glory forever and ever (to the ages of the ages). Amen (so be it).”
Ask God how to bring order into your environment. . .He will gladly reveal it to you.
Psalm 32:8 in the English Standard Version (ESV) says:
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
7. SMART Goals Simplify Your Life And Success
Simple---You should be able to write you goal in one or two sentences.
Matthew 5:37 in the New Living Translation says:
“Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.”
When it comes to setting your goals. . . it’s simple. . .yes, you will or no, you won’t.
The smart thing to do in setting goals is. . .keep it simple.
Measurable ---It’s important that you keep a written record of your progress.
Numbers 33:2 in the New Living Translation says:
“At the Lord’s direction, Moses kept a written record of their progress. These are the stages of their march, identified by the different places where they stopped along the way.”
Attainable---Don’t set your goals impossibly high. Your goals should cause you to stretch but always be attainable with prior proper planning.
Philippians 3:15-16 in the Message Bible says:
“So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.”
Realistic---Your goals should be reasonable. . .pragmatic. . .sensible.
You can’t save $1,000 a month when you only make $1,200.
You can’t lose 60 pounds in a month. . .without injuring your health or ultimately gaining the weight back because there wasn’t an off-setting lifestyle change.
James 3:17 in the Message Bible says:
“Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.”
Time Line---Regardless of whether your goals are either daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. . .you must have a time line to successfully achieve your goals.
Isaiah 28:10 in the New Living Translation says:
“He tells us everything over and over—one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!”
Once you’ve determined your goals. . .create a time line for their completion.
Start at the end. . .the date by which your goals must be completed and work backwards denoting key decision moments.
Child of God, the best way to simplify your life is for you to be SMART about your future.
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