If I had a syllabus of required reading, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry would be on it for sure!
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry tackles the problem of our busyness in the 21st century. And not even the fullness of our schedules, but how we let noise crowd our hearts and keep us from regularly hearing from the Father. If you have not read it, get it on your Christmas list!! I’m not exaggerating when I say that is has created the most beautiful shift in my life, and through these practices and more that I’m sure we’ll come as seasons change, it will continue to shape our family culture.
As John Mark talks about in the last few chapters of his book, there are many ways to cut out the mental clutter in your life. It will not be a one time transformation, but a constant editing of what’s working and what’s not working. A reevaluation of what must be done, what is stirring your affections for Jesus, and what is taking your thoughts further from the Kingdom.
Here is my current working list of how I am cutting out the clutter so that God’s voice is louder in my life:
Daily time with God.
Jesus Himself withdrew from His activity to regularly pray. If Jesus did this, who are we to think we can live a fruitful life without those same actions? My time in the Word is the goal that is always first for my day, because everything in my life flows from my communion with the Father.
As an art school student, it’s not a question of whether I am making things. More than I am asked to study, I am asked to create. While this is a great gift and I love my schooling, I have grown in the past four years to feel like a machine. Instead of feeling like I’m exploring God’s creation through my own creating, I began to feel weighed down from the expectations of my peers and my professor who would put a letter grade on something I had poured hours into. Something that combats this creative weariness is creating for fun!
Lately, I’m being doing that through decorating, knitting, and painting. What I love about these activities is that they require both of your hands! You can’t actively knit and also pen something on your calendar. You can’t be hanging something on the wall and looking at your phone at the same time. However, you can paint, decorate, and knit while praying, listening to a podcast, or even paying attention in class. They require very little occupation of your mind, but total requirement of your hands!
My friend Lauren Kinney sent me a year long set of Powersheets a few months ago. It was something I had on my Christmas list for several years. Powersheets are a goal setting tool and planner to help you truly cultivate what matters in your life – with clear vision and lots of grace! There are 9 goals you choose for one year and they give you all the tools to break down those things monthly, weekly, and daily. In a culture that tells me that I can do everything, I am reminded daily that I cannot do everything well – but I can steward my life intentionally to reap the best reward.
Instagram time limit every day.
What would life be like if God touched my mind as frequently as I touch my phone? — John Ortberg
I use Instagram for ministry. For my part-time hustle. For friends. But my flesh also uses Instagram for identity and applause – so it needs healthy boundaries so that my experience with media can be an overflow of God’s truth in my life, not a way for me to fill up my mind. Pro tip: if you have an iPhone, you can set a daily time on Instagram so that it kicks you out after whatever time limit you choose! Additionally, you can set any unnecessary apps to turn off each evening. I have mine to turn off from 9PM – 10AM. There are times where I have to “remind me in 15 minutes”, but overall it has been so freeing and such a tangible way to control my screen time.
If God rested on the seventh day, we must trust His heart enough to know that His ways are better than ours. He is in control, we are not. So on Sunday afternoon, you’ll catch me here watching something that makes me laugh, sleeping, and cuddling with my little family. If you cannot Sabbath on Sunday (sometimes we switch our sabbath to Saturday!), I encourage you to still tithe your time to God. He knew best when He set that example of sabbath to us and it is LIFE GIVING.
Cleaning out my closet, slowly but surely.
Speaking of Powersheets, something I wrote down for each week in September was to sell something from my closet. I have lots of clothes that don’t fit or that I don’t use, as many Americans, and I want to declutter my home regularly. I will be continue this practice off and on over the coming months to bless others and keep clutter from filling my mind. Hoarding extra things can be wise OR a lack of trust in God. Ask yourself when you don’t want to get rid of something that you don’t use: Will what He has given us be enough? Are we willing to give away or sell for practically nothing from our own closets?
My family deleted Netflix.
For us, we could not in good conscience keep our money going into Netflix specifically after the events of this year. While we still have several streaming services and, yes, I still watch Friends everyday… Instead of being disappointed about this lack of entertainment, it has been FREEING to have less options which leads to better quality time.
This is the hardest one for me to accomplish during this time of doing all my schooling from home. Even if it’s only a walk with Usher around the block over my lunch hour, it’s so valuable to get out of your bubble and see others! God designed His creation down to every color to bless us, calm us, and inspire us. Get your soul some regular vitamin D.
What is working for you in this season? The possibilities are endless! What’s not working? Tell me in the comments.