By: Kate Saffle
A few years ago when my husband and I bought our first house, we reveled in the freedom of home ownership and the idea of creating a nest for our family. What we failed to do at the time was remember three very crucial words:
Instead of hunkering down as a family and using the boundaries of those walls as a respite from the world, we immediately began to work on changing the house. And to add more work and church responsibilities. And enroll our daughter in a plethora of toddler-themed activities. We threw parties, increased the size of our garden, took vacations, and fixed old-house problems.
We were incredibly exhausted, and if we’re being totally honest here, struggling to fund everything financially.
Although we were fairly minimalist in our belongings, our lives and schedule were anything but. We had sold the white space, and with it, our freedom as a family. Once we realized what we were doing, we rerouted our course, sold our house and moved near the beach on Lake Michigan and to the same small town as the rest of my family.
This required two major moves:
Identify and prioritize what we value as a family
Reorient our lives to reflect those values
Like cleaning a foggy mirror, we could clearly see our family’s situation and the direction we needed to take after writing down our family’s values and creating a family philosophy. We’re still on the journey to creating the life we originally envisioned in those dreaming sessions years ago in Oklahoma City. But every step we take now is a purposeful movement toward uncomplicating our lives. We follow a very basic formula before making any major decisions, which helps keep us on track.
It’s a simple equation really, but one that we tend to ignore in our “go, go, go” and “bigger and better” society. The equation?
Do What Brings (Your Family) Joy + Cut Out All Distractions = Uncomplicated Life
If you’ve identified what your family values and designed your life and home to reflect that, you’re already on your way! But so many of us do that and still overfill our schedules and homes with activities and belongings that distract us from our life’s mission. Call it social pressure, keeping up with Joneses, or even simply wanting to “give our kids the best,” but overwhelming ourselves with activities and responsibilities is the norm for the modern family.
You cannot honor your family’s values and everyone else’s at the same time.
Uncomplicating your life is deeper than having clean surfaces and more closet space. Minimalism can be a tool to help you uncomplicate your life, but so often we confuse the tool with the destination. Instead, we uncomplicate our lives by leaving time in our family’s schedule for a spontaneous after dinner walk to get ice cream cones. We uncomplicate our lives by saying no to others’ requests for our free time and remembering that our time with family is the most precious resource we have in this life. And we uncomplicate our lives by keeping childhood sacred for our kiddos and leaving their days as unscheduled as possible.
We can always make more money, but we cannot make more time.
We’re all allotted the same 24 hours in a day. Do the ways in which you spend your hours reflect your family’s values? Do you feel at peace with the general direction of your life? Is your home a sanctuary and place of rest? If not, complete the first major moves mentioned above and steer your family’s ship in a new direction. And remember those three magic words:
Our goal at Cohesive Home is to support you on that journey and connect you with other families making radical choices to live a better story. If you haven’t already, check out the Cohesive Home Podcast (on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast listening apps), the resources and community stories on our website. And subscribe to our newsletter to receive encouragement to create your cohesive and joy-filled family home.