I spent all my waking hours tethered to my smartphone. My work boundaries were nonexistent, and often a last-minute tech check-in before bed would yield a fitful night of sleep. Finishing his PhD left my husband euphoric but limping, too. The road had been a long one. He scrolled through PhD job boards, updating his resume and obsessing over his chances of landing the perfect gig.
Papers to grade, endless dishes to do, over-committed calendars. Our lives were cluttered.
So . . . we stopped.
Not everything, and not all at once, but much of it. Most of it.
We had hard conversations and spent lots of time on our knees. We fought with God and sometimes each other, because giving up things is hard. We cancelled media subscriptions and pared down our mail. We stopped allowing ourselves to be consumed by the twenty-four-hour news cycle. We cleaned out our garage, our closets, our cabinets, our drawers.
We said no a lot. No, thank you. No, really. No, not today, not tomorrow, not now, not ever. We simplified our meals and wardrobes and schedules. We gave ourselves only ten minutes of mindless internet surfing a day, and then five. We deleted apps from our phones. First every social media app, and then almost everything else (more on that later).
Little by little the most amazing thing started to happen. We began to learn what was truly essential and what wasn’t, and with each nonessential thing we let go of, our hearts grew calmer, quieter, more open, and more joyful. Our souls grew lighter. Our relationships grew deeper. And each and every time God pried our hands off of the things we clung to, He filled them anew with more of Himself.
Our goal was to find simplicity—not only because of its deep roots in Scripture, but because we wanted to find ourselves again. It turns out that God created and formed each of us for lives of generous simplicity; we only need to invite Him in to help us make sense of our mess. Over time, the question for us changed from “How can we survive?” to “How can we let God arrange our lives, so we become the kind of people God created us to be?”
The answer became Uncluttered.