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100 Great Ideas to Simplify Your Life
By Candy Paull
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2011 GRQ, Inc.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWalk in Simple Faith
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Isaiah 26:3, NLT
Move beyond the worship of success and the values of consumerism to embrace a simpler life. Embrace a more mindful way of living that invites a sense of spirituality in all you do. From buying less to sharing more generously, simplifying your life is about wedding your spiritual values with your daily life.
Start with your schedule. Are you so busy you don't have time to breathe? If you don't have time for the important things in life, like being with loved ones or making time to be alone with God, something needs to change. Assess how you spend your money. One simple step could be to forgo a purchase and save money.
Does the way you live your life match your spiritual ideals? You don't have to make giant leaps of faith. Baby steps will do. One step leads to another, and each choice you make to simplify your life builds on the last. A simple faith in God leads you along gently, one step of faith at a time.
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Make one simple decision and see where it takes you. Ask for God's guidance. Be especially mindful of the small choices that can have a big impact over the long term.
Chapter TwoRedefine Success
Your success and happiness lie in you. External conditions are the accidents of life, its outer trappings. The great, enduring realities are love and service.
How do you define success? Money? Education? Good looks? Social standing? How you appear to others? If you've been feeling as if you don't measure up, maybe you need to redefine what success means to you. The simple life is lived with a different set of values.
Cultivate an image of success that presents a warmer, more human appearance. Success can be found in raising a healthy family, serving your community, creating a welcoming home, encouraging friends, or simply doing your best every day. Measure your life by a different standard, one that satisfies the heart. Sometimes that will include a plainer lifestyle, avoiding the conspicuous consumption the world demands.
Focus on God's priorities instead of the world's image of success. Do your best, and trust God with the rest. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for success. True success is a life well lived, in harmony with God, others, and yourself. Be assured that if you define success as seeking God first, you will never be a failure.
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Make a list of successes you would like to achieve. Pray about the list. Get together with friends and share stories of things that looked like failures but turned into unexpected blessings and success.
Chapter ThreeFix What's Broken
Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.
Proverbs 16:3, NKJV
Your car needs a tune-up. You have a stack of mending to do. You will expend less energy fixing the car and doing the mending than you will avoiding the work or beating yourself up for not doing what needs to be done. A door that moves easily on its hinges, a car that runs smoothly, and buttons sewed on properly make life not only simpler but also more pleasant.
You feel satisfied when everything works harmoniously, functioning in order and ease. You feel better about yourself as well. Fixing what is broken is a form of committing to your own good, which then frees you to put your energy into creating a happier and more meaningful life.
Sometimes relationships need patching up. Take the time and effort to rebuild those bridges you've burned. Listen to your heart's instinct for healing a wounded relationship. Ask God to show you the best way to heal the wounds. Right wrongs when you can, and forgive the rest. Trust that all things will be restored with divine timing and grace.
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Set aside some things that need mending. Reserve a quiet evening or weekend afternoon to tackle at least one of the items in the pile. Enjoy the satisfaction of creating order and harmony as you make something useful again.
Chapter FourPersevere in Tough Times
Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.
Hebrews 10:35-36, NKJV
Losses, layoffs, deaths, sudden changes—life takes its toll and you begin to be afraid that the road of life has turned into a dark and dangerous dead end. Unexpected detours happen. Tough times have their seasons. But the seasons change, and what you thought was the end of the road may turn out to be only a bend in the road.
Any worthwhile plan changes and evolves. Do the work. Realize that it may take longer than you had planned. Remember that every detour and delay can be an opportunity to examine your priorities and get clear on what is truly important to you. This could be a time to simplify your life by eliminating distractions that hold you back.
When you feel overwhelmed, take time to nurture your relationship with God. Persevere and trust that his strength sustains you through every trouble and trial, and through all the changes of a lifetime. Rely on this inner strength to help you deal with the challenges of daily life.
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Spend time with people who are hopeful, helpful, and encouraging. Reach out to a friend who is struggling. Tell each other stories of times when God was faithful, and pray together as you go through tough times now.
Chapter FiveCreate Heaven on Earth
Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil.
Proverbs 15:16, NIV
Be grateful for the blessings you enjoy—God has enriched your life with more than you need. Savor the simple things that make life worth living, and remember to share your surplus with others. This is one way to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth.
One particularly effective way to create a taste of heaven on earth is to clear your living space of clutter, creating an atmosphere of peaceful calm instead of chaos and disorder. As you clean and clear, decide what you want to keep and where you want to keep it. Just as comfortable and flattering clothing makes you feel your best, so beauty and order in your home will lift your spirits.
Clearing emotional clutter will also help you live life more freely from the heart. As you allow God to bring peace to your heart, you'll begin to experience more of the sweet serenity that comes through the fruit of the Spirit. Give thanks for the small joys of living simply in God's abundant and loving providence.
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Start with one room in your home: weed out the clutter and leave only those things that are meaningful, useful, or beautiful. Ask yourself: Is it beautiful? Can I use this? Do I need it?
Excerpted from 100 Great Ideas to Simplify Your Life by Candy Paull Copyright © 2011 by GRQ, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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