Everything’s OK


I think in a lot of ways, we’ve all been over-complicating things a little bit.

We look at the mess with despair.  We break up another fight and we wonder why they’re not GETTING IT.  We infrequently get to have a real conversation with our spouse and we feel that distance.  We want to spend more time with all the people we like, but logistically, it’s just problematic with schedules, naps, tantrums, and dinner to make.  Are your kids happy?  Are they going to get into a good college?  How in the world will you pay for that?  How in the world will you pay for it if your van breaks down or your water heater craps out?  How could you possibly cram another kid into the mix and potty train the one who is so obviously ready?

Can I encourage you for one wee little minute?

Everything is going to be OK.

You’re nailing it.  You’re crushing it.  Don’t worry about the pile of laundry.  Start a load when you finish reading this.  Your kids are happy.  They’re fed.  They’re learning social skills because you’re teaching them.  Text your friend that you’ve been thinking about her, that you miss her.  Unload the dishwasher.  Realize that things ARE NOT going to be perfect and that’s OK.  You’re not perfect.  Anyone who expects that is ridiculous.  God made you and sustains your literal breath all day long and he knows you’re not perfect and that you’re struggling.  That’s why he sent Jesus.  So look at your kid.  Smile at her.  Tell her you love her.  Figure out what you’re going to have for lunch.  Do your day the best you can.  Pray for help in the midst of hard moments.  (A simple “Help!” under your breath is more than sufficient.  Then thank God for his grace in that moment that you recognize you need help and go from there.  What does a grace-filled response look like in that moment?  Clean up the urine or the milk.  Hug the crying kid.  Respond sweetly like you’d need if you forgot to do that thing that someone really needed.)

We all need perspective.

It feels hard.  That’s OK.  Just because we don’t have to walk 3 miles every day to get water for our family doesn’t mean it’s not hard when someone cries through every single meal for a week straight.  Yes, it’s a first-world problem, but it’s still a problem.  Work to fix it.  Train through it.  Take a breath.  Most of us don’t worry about being sex-trafficked or watching our child perish from a curable disease or being under constant threat of war.  We don’t worry about IF we’ll have food, but what combo will cause the fewest fits.  And then we worry that our kids are growing up too entitled and we lob a comment at them about other kids not having enough food EVER.  This world is wrecked.  But Jesus is also making it new, so all is not lost.  Be the change in your day.  If you’ve been in a funk today, in your brain list 5 things you’re grateful for.  Then hug your kids until they wriggle away.  Cover their faces in kisses until you’re both giggling.

We don’t get to decide all the things that happen, but we do get to decide how we respond to them.  Make sure you’re not making it worse for yourself and the people you love.

Keep your priorities straight.  Put away your phone.  Read a stack of books to your kid.  Do you know why old people keep telling you it’s going to go by fast?  Because it is.  And they wish they got to be around little kids more.  So we need the constant reminder to savor our littles.  But sometimes we need breaks from them.  Because little kids get clingy and needy and annoying.  Usually at the worst times.  I make dinner multiple nights each week while someone cries.

Keep doing the things that are working for you.  Think about the things that are a hot mess and see if you can come up with a better way.  I’m awesome at practical solutions.  Comment about what’s not working and we’ll work on it together.  Use the internet to make your life better.  I wasn’t planning on doing this, but I want to help you because there are some ways I can and I often need help, too, so here are some free tools:

  • Disheroo.com is a free meal planning site that I built and run.  It has a standard plan, but you can customize it however you want.  Adding your own meals is a snap.
  • OneLineWord.com is a free Bible reading tool that I also built and run.  I built it to make reading your Bible convenient while working out, but it works just as well while eating a bagel and drinking coffee.

Minimalism and the Gospel

I have too much stuff.  Most people I know have too much stuff.  A few years ago, I read Jen Hatmaker’s “Seven” and was inspired to get rid of all our unnecessary stuff and disgusted by our materialistic culture.  That led me to start exporing minimalism in a more real way.  Reading blog posts, searching Pinterest for wardrobe capsules, learning about the best and worst ways to declutter.  After about a year of trying some things and still feeling unsuccessful (largely because I’m only 1/6 of this family), I started trying to persuade my husband of its benefits.

How does the gospel apply to minimalism?

Missional living (living every aspect of life on mission to grow relationships and share the gospel of who Jesus is and what he’s done) has been at the forefront of our lives for a while now.  SInce we believe applying the gospel to every aspect of every day is critical, it wasn’t surprising when during one of these conversations about the merits of minimalism, my husband said, knowing me, “Write up a short paper on how the gospel applies to minimalism, include links to your favorite articles or blog posts, and I’ll read it.”

And I did.  Here it is.  You might notice that it lack a lot of transitions.  I didn’t write an intro or a conclusion for it.  I felt the content was fairly self-explanatory.  How very minimalistic of me!

30ish Minutes to Minimalism

1 min – This one should do it for you!
A Spiritual Journey

4 min
Why Minimalism Should Not Be Entered Into Lightly

3 min
Minimalism Benefits

5 min
Finding Minimalism

Quote to entice you:
6. Are you frugal?

While becoming minimalist doesn’t mean that you have to spend less money, it certainly provides the opportunity. And because you are buying less things, you also have the option to make higher-quality purchases that last longer.

6 min

4 min

Fav Quotes:
I have lots of clutter in my house, and I hate it. I would love to actually have a place for everything, but in order to do that, I need to get rid of a lot of stuff.

I can’t count how many times that happened when my daughter was a baby. She had so many baby clothes, that I’d forget exactly what she had. Then I’d pull out an outfit, only to find that she had outgrown it already.

I really believe that having an overabundance of stuff breeds discontentment.


3 min

Minimalism Is Not a Radical Lifestyle

8 min

He showed me how the compulsion to own more is rooted in fear and actually dragging us all down.

In other words, anything I own that I’m not using rightly belongs to someone who could. One might say that I am hoarding other people’s possessions by holding onto things I don’t need.

Why Own Fewer Possessions? Jesus and the Minimalist Lifestyle

3 min (skim)

Christian Faith and Minimalism

dip a toe

7 Tiny Steps for the Beginner Minimalist

How Does Minimalism Jive with Gospel-Centered Living?
Minimalism isn’t just about less stuff–material possessions; it’s also about how you spend your time, energy, etc.

minimalism is anti-greed (have stuff you need, but not stuff you don’t)
minimalism encourages giving to those in need (give stuff to others, whether it’s your stuff or money which you now have from not spending it on stuff you don’t need)
minimalism roots out unhealthy attachments to material possessions

Celebration of Discipline quotes:
The Christian Discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style.
We are made to feel ashamed to wear clothes or drive cars until they are worn out.
Hoarding we call prudence.
The Bible challenges nearly every economic value of contemporary society.
Had Israel faithfully observed the Jubilee it would have dealt a death blow to the perennial problem of the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer.
He (Jesus) told the parable of the rich farmer whose life centered in hoarding—we would call him prudent; Jesus called him a fool.
He calls all who would follow him to a joyful life of carefree unconcern for possessions: “Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again.” Luke 6:30
Paul counsels the wealthy not to trust in their wealth, but in God, and to share generously with others. 1 tim 6:17-19
***Read 4 paragraphs from book, p 84 starting with first full paragraph
New focal point: seeking first the kingdom of God
Everything hunges upon maintaining the “first” thing as first.
Nothing must come before the kingdom of God, including the desire for a simple life-style.
Focus upon the kingdom produces the inward reality, and without the inward reality we will degenerate into legalistic trivia. Nothing else can be central. The desire to get out of the rat race cannot be central, the redistribution of the world’s wealth cannot be central, the concern for ecology cannot be central. Seeking first God’s kingdom and the righteousness, both personal and social, of that kingdom is the only thing that can be central in the Spiritual Discipline of simplicity. P87
And when the kingdom of God is genuinely placed first, ecological concerns, the poor, the equitable distribution of wealth, and many other things will be given their proper attention.
As Jesus made clear in our central passage, freedom from anxiety is one of the inward evidences of seeking first the kingdom of God.
The freedom and liberty experienced from simplicity comes from an inward spirit of trust. (paraphrase)

From the book:
Freedom from anxiety (3 attitudes)
If what we have we receive as a gift, and if what we have is to be cared for by God, and if what we have is available to others, then we will possess freedom from anxiety.
Just as God gives us the sun, air, water, he’s given us everything else. p 88
We can trust him to protect what he’s given us.
We must banish our anxieties about tomorrow and realize that God’s given us things to share.

Outward expressions of simplicity:
1) buy things for their usefulness
2) reject anything that is producing an addiction in you
3) develop a habit of giving things away
4) refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry
5) learn to enjoy things without owning them
6) develop a deeper appreciate for the creation
7) look with healthy skepticism at all “buy now, pay later” schemes (be super careful about debt)
8) obey Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech
9) reject anything that breeds the oppression of others
10) shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God

Gospel-reality: We don’t need people to see what awesome stuff we have because our worth comes from Jesus, not our stuff.
Gospel-reality: We don’t have to keep things we never use because of “what if?” God has met our greatest need in Jesus. He meets our needs with jobs, money, food. We have never not had something we really needed. And sometimes our “need” that we feel in a moment should be redefined more accurately as “discontentment.”
Gospel-reality: I’m afraid of losing my stuff and comfortable life-style. That’s because I erroneously believe that those things can and will make me happier than Jesus.

Practical Outworkings
In your mind, picture a space that causes you stress and frustration with its clutteredness or disorganization. It should be small (wallet) to medium (desk drawer or laundry basket) in size. Give yourself 10 minutes to go through it and remove any garbage or things that should be donated. Do it. Rinse. Repeat. Feel awesome.

As you go throughout your day, note in a text file, Reminders, or Wunderlist areas that you want to work on. They should NOT be huge, like “the basement.” Instead they should be doable (preferably in under 30 min) like “the island” or “your shoes” or “the box of cleaning items under the kitchen sink” or “the stairs.”