Sunday 7 April 2013

Do I want the simple life?

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When we went down to my husband’s new workplace a short while back I bought a book to read.  The title literally popped out and said ‘buy me’, it’s called Let. It. Go. and the strap line is ‘How to stop running the show and start walking in faith’.  First thought –‘I need a healthy dose of that’ and second ‘ekk, this could be a nightmare having a Christian bookshop in my garden!’.
If you asked me ten years ago if I was a control freak I’d tell you yes and be pretty proud of that fact but over time I’ve been learning to let it go and to relax a bit more. Life nowadays is stressful enough without me adding to it. When you think about it, it is funny how technology and advancement has added to our stress instead of taking it away. Go back a hundred years and our relatives would have been washing by hand, cooking everything from scratch and walking miles to the shop while singing to themselves for entertainment. Children looked after children as their parents were so busy, either working to provide for the ever expanding family or running the house which was a full time job.
Nowadays we can buy meals in minutes, drive to any shop our heart desires and pop a load of washing, drying and dishes on simultaneously and still we are not happy with life. There is not enough time we cry to ourselves or in my case I used to often find myself frustrated and thinking ‘for F***’s sake, I have not got time for this’.  Yes I really did need a strong word with myself to look at that attitude and realise that I did indeed have time for whatever ‘it’ was, as long as I dumped some of the meaningless stuff that had taken over my time.
Meaningless stuff like how my house is decorated or cleaned, whether the kid’s clothes matched perfectly, if my garden looked immaculate and the fact that the car was a mess. So what? All of these are niceties, none of them make a bit of difference as to whether we are all well looked after and cared for (practically and spiritually).  Most are about show and what others think.  Don’t get me wrong I do not find it easy to be able to let go of this small stuff but I realise that I must.
In a few months we will move to another county and a new home and this is mega exciting and also very daunting but some of the things niggling away at me are just stupid.  Things like we need new furniture and how will we afford to buy quality stuff? Then I stop and think surely Ikea will do, we need it to be practical and that has to be more important that the vanity aspect of having a beautiful looking home. I’m moving to a Christian centre, surely those people will not be judging my family on whether our soft furnishings perfectly match, they will be looking at how content our kids are and what it feels like to be a guest in our house.  Is it warm, do they feel welcome and relaxed? Those are the things I want to focus on, the big stuff - the children we raise, the home we build and the hospitality we offer. I think Christ would prioritise those things.
When I stand in a supermarket and see ten varieties of jam, I don’t want to have to feel stressed about which will be the best buy.  I’ll buy one and it will do the job and I’ll forget the rest, I’d like to say I’ll make my own but I expect I am quite a few years off that level of domestic bliss just yet.  I need to keep things simple and in perspective, my recent trips abroad to Ethiopia and Belarus have been super for helping me get my priorities straight and knowing that I need to let go and let God. He is here to be relied on and He wants me to be in constant communication with him.
It seems so apt that the first session I went to at Spring Harvest told me that we have a God who at the core wants to communicate – ‘in the beginning there was the word’ (John 1:1). I don’t know what challenges and changes the next few months will hold but I do know that I am very excited (and yes of course nervous too) about not working and having more time with my children, husband and God. I need to be being obedient and listening to what God wishes to tell me, that is how I will be a good disciple and be able to model that to others.
Being in control is not all it is cracked up to be. What do you need to let go of?

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