Friday, May 5, 2017

Less is More

 In an age where we are constantly inundated with the need for more and more things, our homes can become overloaded in a hurry.  The constant quest for bigger and better or newest and best can be exhausting and in the long run doesn’t actually benefit our families.  The rat race runs at breakneck speed and if we aren’t careful, we can become so entrenched in this mindset that we lose track of the hours, days and months that fly by.  In an effort to provide a better life for our children than the one we had, we often overload not only our schedules but our lives with too much stuff.

It even goes beyond just our stuff though – this mindset invades other aspects of our lives.  Our schedules can become frenetic by overscheduling activities. Sports teams, camps, music lessons, art class, and more can make us as families run from one activity to the next.  This is unfortunate because any of these instructors/coaches/teachers will tell you it’s important to practice in between. Without actual application of the skills taught during the lesson/practice there is no growth and frankly if there is no growth what is the point?

Our attention spans are short, and our time, even shorter, so we try to fit in a verse or two and a well written blog and ask Jesus to bless it.  Prayers are no longer than asking a blessing on our food that we ran through the drive thru to get and we see no growth in our spiritual walk either. And please don't think I'm preaching at you - this is my mess too and one I've had to made a conscious decision to change.

My heart today is that we will all take a moment to stop and assess.  This is a great time of year to decide what it is that is important to your family.  It is a great time to:
  • Get honest about the financial pressure that is inherent in having too much stuff and too many activities.  Our families are breaking under the pressure of the financial burdens that acquiring all this stuff puts on us.
  • Get honest about the impact too much stuff has on our children.  Let’s face it, the reason so many young adults are staying home and are not goal setting or hustling toward meeting goals is that we’ve made them a little too comfortable.  By meeting all of their needs and wants, they have nothing to strive for.  When we provide all these things, we prohibit their growth and why would they ever leave to pursue getting what they want?  I sure wouldn’t.  
  • Get honest about the fact that our families need time together around a dinner table at least a couple nights a week.  This means limiting activities.  This is HARD.  We have three children in our family, and our goal was always to limit them to only one activity at a time. But this is still three activities a week!  Include church involvement with youth or children’s programs and before you know it there is no time for dinner.  This time together is important and we have to place a high priority on it.  We communicate our values, work through problems and difficulties and learn to care for each other.
While these changes won’t happen overnight, but taking the time to evaluate your situation will benefit you and your whole family in the long run.  Here are some action steps:

  • Spend time praying alone and together with your spouse, if possible, asking the Lord to show you areas where “less is more” could apply in your home. Schedule a consistent time in your schedule to make your daily quiet time a priority.
  • Make a list of your priorities. 
    • Do you want to make eating at home together twice a week a priority – put it at the top of your list. 
    • Maybe you want to have family devotions once a week? Write it down.  
    • Is helping little Johnnie do better in school by giving him more time at home each night to do his homework a priority? Then drop one or more of his after school activities to give him time.
  • Declutter excess stuff.  Challenging though it may be, it seems there are two types of people – those who love to throw stuff out and those who are afraid they might need it after it’s gone.  Families usually consist of both kinds. There are a lot of great methods out there of ways to control or eliminate clutter, there is no reason for me to reinvent the wheel here.  Mostly it just requires some action.  If you think you might use something later and are afraid to get rid of it – pack it up in a box and store it for 3-6 months.  If you don’t need it in that time frame – toss it, donate it, etc.  For example our kid’s rooms and their toys!  You could probably pack up half of they have right now and let them play with those few things, and then in a month, switch out all the items.  They’ll have “new” toys and it won’t cost you a dime. The really huge benefit to decluttering is that you will spend less time cleaning and straightening up stuff.  The added time can become family time, Bible time, friend time, etc.
Regularly assess your schedules/progress.  I know I talked about assessing our spiritual growth last week, but it’s super important.  You have to plan to look at what you’ve done and see what is working and what isn’t so that you can improve it.  It is a huge boost of encouragement to see what you’ve accomplished.  I think this is why setting 90 day goals can be so valuable.  A successful person regularly sets goals and assesses their progress.  It doesn’t matter if we are discussing goal setting in a business setting or not.  This is how things are accomplished.

I hope you are encouraged today.  Less is definitely more and our families are worth a bit of time and introspection on our part on this topic.  I pray you’ll find some ways to create more space for your family to flourish.
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Ephesians 5:15-17 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.



  1. YES! I recently saw a quote, something to the effect of 'things work better after being unplugged for a little bit, even you.'

    1. That's a great quote! absolutely agree with it!


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