Can a Simple Life Be a Fulfilling Life?
You can easily find videos online of those who have chosen a simpler, slower life. Some of these individuals show how they wake up early, exercise in the morning, work a 9-5 job, and then come home to make dinner and spend time with their pets. There’s nothing glamorous about that- it’s simple and yet a beautiful routine.
Other videos online show how a homeschool family has chosen to live off one income so that the mom can stay home with the kids. The family has simplified their life and made several sacrifices and cutbacks to make that happen, but they are happy and content with their simpler lifestyle.
Surprisingly, or not, some of the comments for these videos slander this way of living as they claim, It’s not really living or Boring. But why is that? Reality shows and social media platforms glamorize a wealthy, adventurous, busy lifestyle so much so that people feel their life is boring if they are not living that same way.
But the people who shared these videos about their simpler lives have chosen to prioritize something other than what society projects at us. Does simple automatically translate to being lazy or having a less-fulfilling life? Certainly not, but for many, there’s a fear that simpler means less. Within our Western society, we value busyness and having access to almost anything within seconds, minutes, or hours the same day.
We value constantly being on the move by signing your kid up for that next club sport, working more hours to buy that new vehicle, volunteering, and planning vacations and weekend events so that you feel you are living a full life. Even my childhood was filled with busyness, as I went from morning swim practice to school, then back to practice, and then back home for dinner, homework, and bed. Weekends were filled with swim meets or travel, and it left little time at home.
It’s not that these activities are bad, but when our lives are constantly busy, we quickly begin taking our eyes off what’s actually important. And busyness soon becomes an idol. That idol can mutate our thinking and get us to believe our value is based on what we do, what we have, or what we produce rather than who we are in Christ.
There’s beauty in simplicity, routine, and rest. And that simplicity can bring much joy and fulfillment because it constantly reminds us of what is most important in life and Who we are living for. It is humbling to live a simple life either by choice or by life’s circumstances.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.Timothy 6:6-8
Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil.Proverbs 15:16
Not too long ago, my husband and I met with some friends for dinner. Throughout the evening, each couple described the lavish vacations and adventures they had experienced in the last year. My husband and I were excited to hear about each one and asked a lot of questions about each trip. We were happy for our friends and the opportunities they had in the last year. When it came our turn to describe what our year had been like, we described some smaller projects we were working on at home, how we went on a couple of weekends camping trips with the kids over the summer, and how we made the tough decision to put our dog down after his long-suffering health issues. Our year didn’t seem as glamorous as everyone else’s nor did it bring about inquiring questions, but it was our year. And we were content with how our year had gone- all the ups and downs that came with it.
As my husband and I drove home, I chuckled and commented, “I bet other people think our life is boring”. He looked at me and commented back, “I love our life, don’t you?” and thankfully, I agreed with him; I do love our life.
2023 was a year where God taught us a lot. He showed us the value of slowing down and enjoying what’s right in front of us. As we are well into 2024, our family had some unexpected financial setbacks, but I know God is doing more work in our lives during these uncertain times. We make more meals at home which is healthier. I’ve slowed down and started to take better care of my body by cutting back on caffeine and remembering to eat breakfast. And we’ve spent more time reading with our kids and going outside which has been fun!
Living a simple lifestyle is humbling, and ultimately, it guides us to put our full trust in our Heavenly Father rather than in ourselves, possessions, or money for peace and comfort. And it’s a wonderful opportunity to teach our children that true fulfillment doesn’t come from what we do, how much we have, or what we produce.
A fulfilling life comes from seeking Christ in all circumstances.
I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.Psalm 7:17