Wednesday 20 April 2016

On Cluttered Lives and Seeking Simplicity...

Life feels a little cluttered right now... my diary is constantly full, our home feels overwhelmed with stuff, my brain feels likes it constantly chasing after something I've forgotten. Sometimes I feel a little bit like I'm swimming some underwater race and get the odd chance to grab a quick breath of fresh, sweet air before ducking back under the waves again to power on. Anyone ever get that feeling?!

Don't get me wrong... I'm happy. I'm not feeling down about it, or feeling particularly weighed under. I just feel busy... and life feels a little relentless at the moment.


That's all.

There has always been a little piece of me that has ached for simplicity... perhaps thats why, as a child, I soaked myself in the imaginative world of Laura Ingalls Wilder and as a teen, while travelling around Amish Pennsylvania, commented to my Mum that I could move there at once.

Living off the earth, finding delight in the sweet simplicity of life without the daily treadmill of places I need to be and things I need to do... there's a huge bit inside me that longs for that.

Simplicity in my walk with the Lord. Making time daily to meditate on his word... commune with Him. Pray. Not just for stuff. Pray for his vision for the world. To be able to not be distracted by the clutter of life...

Simplicity in my family. Space for real conversation with my husband... to while away the hours solving the worlds problems... simplicity with my children; boundaries and the energy and consistency to follow through... simplicity in their education; soaking up good literature, delighting in their hunger for the world... simplicity in our meals; baking together, cooking together, picking from our own garden.

Simplicity in my friendships. Deep and meaningfuls... the capacity to really be there for my friends in the way I long to be... to seek their good and their joy above my own. To laugh together often till our sides hurt. To be real, and honest, and open and not judge each other. To pray together and be sisters to each other...

Simplicity in my home. To get rid of all the things we don't need... for home to be a haven of rest... a clutter free space to breathe. That everything would have its place... that the wonderful scent of homebaked goods would pervade... that every item in our home would have a purpose or a story... that people would walk in and feel home.

Simplicity in my work. Satisfaction and contentment without the need for approval and success. That I would do my work for an audience of one... always seeking to be honest and reliable and hardworking and gracious and loving, but not finding my identity in my success or failure...

Finding joy and delight in the relationships and gifts and responsibilities that God has given me...

And then, all of a sudden, I remember I'm the wrong side of heaven.

Because all the things above are how life should be... don't we all know that deep down? Know that? And long for that? And fail at it every single day.

Because life is cluttered. And always will be.

No matter how many times I seek to clear the diary, make space for friends, be present with my children, take delight in the little things... something will always get in the way - an illness, an emergency, an overload of washing, a sleepless night, discovery of another pile of junk that needs to be sorted through, or more often than not some sinful failure on my own part. Life is cyclical... we will never reach the end point... I will never be who I long to be, because I am incapable of making myself un-broken.

And so, in that moment of realisation, my heart begins to sink.

And then I look up.

I look up and remember that this dissatisfaction with this life is meant to make me long for another. One where there is no crying, or mourning, or pain. One where true satisfaction and contentment is not just achievable, but is the daily experience. One where my work will not be toil, but soul-delighting joy, one where I will be a real friend to those around me, one where I will not be distracted by the clutter and unnecessary stuff filling my home. One where my daily walk with the Lord will be sweet, and real, and tangible and soul-satisfying... and where my satisfaction and joy in him will lead to fulfilment in all aspects of my new, made perfect, redeemed life.

I cannot wait for the sweet simplicity, and unbelievably complex beauty, of heaven.

Thank you Jesus for preparing me a place...


  1. You have written the very words of my heart. Thank you!

  2. This is beautiful Claire and all so true. I think it does get easy and thus more simple as the kids get older. I get the time and space I need (mostly) to be with Him but I'm excited that the disgruntles I find in everyday life are getting me ready for the eternal beauty of being with Him. Mich x

  3. Yes indeed! I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you're sinking in the busyness and clutter and while I still think a little tidying of my home wouldn't go amiss, it's true that we can never really perfect an earthly life - not for long anyway!!

  4. Thank you for this thoughtful post. I, too, am struggling to simplify my busy life. But even with that as my goal I have just taken on 2 and possibly 3 new, large projects. They are all wonderful things that I want to make space for. Perhaps I need to streamline and simplify some other things to make space for the top priority items. So much prayer and grace is needed.

  5. Beautiful. I too have been feeling the relentlessness of life and am actually clearing some headspace for simpler pleasures. But this was an interesting read darling, thank you.


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