As the Christmas season comes to a close, I feel now is a perfect time to share what God has been teaching me this past year. It has been profound for me and yet the idea is very simple: choosing less.
We live in an awesome town. There are so many things to do here. From the aquarium, to museums, to beaches and parks – there is always something to do. That’s not even counting the numerous groups that you can sign your kids up for (play groups, mommy & me, preschool, swim classes, gymnastics, soccer, and the list goes on and on! And that’s just for a 2 year old!)
We came here from Twentynine Palms. For those of you who have been stationed there, I don’t have to explain how little there is to do in that small desert town. So when we first moved here, I felt almost obligated to do things. If I didn’t get out of the house with Olivia I felt guilty. All that changed when Cliff was born. Having two kids under two years old was all that I could handle. I could feed them and dress them (most days) and keep the house from falling down around my shoulders – but that was about it.
Then we moved across town (yes, our entire house – we were insane) when Cliff was 3 1/2 months old, and just two days after he had double hernia surgery. The next few weeks we spent unpacking and organizing our things into a much smaller space. I was just too busy setting up our home to get them out every day. However, we were totally enjoying our new house and the wonderful little plot of grass we had (hard to find in this crowded area of tiny lots).
Something surprising came out of this time at home. I realized it was okay to stay home and enjoy my littles in the confines of our own place. I didn’t have to go out and sign Olivia up for a bunch of activities. I could say no. If we did them all or maybe even just a few of them, I knew I would go crazy. I didn’t like running crazy – so I kept asking myself if it was necessary.
Through this time I was being reminded through scripture and books I was reading, to “be still and know” that He is God. I don’t want to teach my littles that we must always be running busy to be purposeful and productive and to have meaning. We needed to make time for quiet. Time for God and time just together as a family – not while running from activity to activity.
So it started out of necessity (for my sanity) but it turned into a wonderful learning experience for me. I’m thankful that God made me take the time to learn it now because I feel like having this mindset will bring so much more peace to our family as it grows. How about you? What ways do you choose less in your family? What benefits have you seen to saying ‘no’?
*photo credit: Elizabeth Intrater