I’m thrilled to have Maria from Our Heavenly Homestead today sharing a guest post on what simple living means to her.
Maria is a local Iowa mama with a gentle spirit and a heart filled in Christ’s love. I’ve always admired her gift of hospitality and her willing heart to share her experiences especially when it comes to homeschooling. (Thank you Maria!)
Make sure to visit Maria at her blog where she shares her fruitful experiences in living for the Lord, homeschooling, homesteading, and living a simple life.
Living Simply, by the Book
“Simple living” seems to be a popular phrase these days and means a little something different to each of us.
The words themselves are a bit misleading. There is nothing easy about living simply. It often involves hard work, a lot of prayer, and letting go of so many things. It often means going against popular culture and the consumerism driven society that slaps us in the face daily. It often means choosing to live a different life from everyone around you.
It usually means physically working hard to provide for your family in a way that is different from what you grew up learning. It may mean stepping out of your comfort zone to embrace a whole new way of thinking and letting go of the control that we so often think that we have over all of it, handing the reigns over to The One who made it all.
The good news is that even though it can be difficult we are not alone. Not only are more and more people appreciating and choosing this life every day, but we can open up our bible and find inspiration and instruction leading us to a simple life.
We have our very own simple living handbook.
When I dive into the bible I find verse after verse confirming that living a simple life is not only good, it is right, and it is exactly what God had in mind for us from the beginning of time. There are so many verses related to simple living that for the sake of blog space I will only pick a handful of my very favorites.
Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and decay destroys, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroy, nor thieves beak in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. Matthew 6:19-21
To me, this means letting go of unnecessary things. It means frequently de-cluttering my home and passing on things we don’t need to those who do. Knowing that in the end, none of it will go with us, we will live without it, so why not start now? When we take time to really think through a purchase or a want before acquiring it, we can usually find a way to do without it. Simplifying our physical space does wonders for simplifying our spiritual and emotional spaces!
It also means treasuring the most important things in life: spending time with friends and family, prioritizing, opening our home to those in need, sharing everything that we have been blessed with, and truly savoring the treasured time that we do get to spend here with our loved ones.
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth. Psalm 104:14
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Isaiah 55:2
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Eating good, real, God-given food from the earth is an important part of our simple living. Choosing fresh over processed, growing and preserving our own, knowing where it all comes from and how it gets to our table is important to us. God gave us everything we need to be healthy and to sustain ourselves. I believe that part of man’s sin has been destroying those good, natural things by turning them into things that we should not really even call food.
Food should sustain us, give us energy, keep us healthy, not cause disease and discomfort. If we take these verses seriously we must get back to the basics and treat our body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, glorifying Him in what we put in it and how we treat it.
And he said to them, “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Luke 12:15
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15
For me, this means not wanting more than we have and being very thankful for what we do have, shopping as little as possible and saying ‘no’ to consumerism. Sounds easy but can be very difficult, especially with children. We have to be firmly planted in our convictions and teach our children self-control while exercising it ourselves. We are constantly reminded of the many blessings we have been given and must try to praise God for those, even when we are tempted to give in to wanting something else.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. Matthew 6:31-34
This is something that I still pray for the grace to fully accept, every.single.day; putting my faith in Christ and knowing that He will provide exactly what we need, when we need it, even if it’s not what WE think we want/need. He knows what is BEST for us and He wants only that for us. Just like any really great parent knows what is best for their children and hopes that they will find. He will lead us to it, if we let Him, and put our faith in His provision.
Of course we need to bring in an income to provide food, clothing and supplies for our families. However, we have to have control over our money, breaking free of the control that our money often has over us. Living simply for us means striving to live debt-free and on a minimal amount of monthly income. There are many things we would love to do to our home and property but until we are debt-free again and have built up our savings in case of an emergency we will just have to wait.
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:7
For us to live simply, we must constantly choose to put God before all others. In our family that means praying together, homeschooling our children, spending time together getting to know each other, forming strong family bonds, and saying ‘no’ to things that threaten to take us away from God and each other.
Outside activities are kept to a minimum. We know that the devil likes nothing more than to tear families apart and we have to be on guard to fight him at all times. Spending quality family time together for us is way more than watching a movie together. While watching a movie can be fun and is something we do on a rare occasion, they often open the door for things to come into our home that are simply not welcome. Not to mention the fact that we’re not really learning anything about each other or growing our relationships when we are mindlessly being entertained by a movie.
I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:14-19
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12: 2
Of course, for our time on earth we will be in this world. However, as Christians we are being called to be IN it, but not OF it. Not being OF this world means not conforming to what society claims is best for us but instead discerning God’s will for our lives and striving to live by “what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
For me, living a simple life really comes down to that; pleasing God above all else. I want to seek Him first in everything. Live simply to please Him. And pray that when my time here is done I will see the magnificent face of Jesus and hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! ….Come and share your master’s happiness!”
Thank you for sharing what simple living means to you Maria.
So… do you have a post you’d like to share on simple living? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.