I’ve been thinking a lot about choices. Specifically when it comes to schedules. Designing and following a schedule has never been one of my favorite things. I’m kind of a go-with-the-flow kind of gal. Sometimes it works great. Sometimes the failure is absolutely devastating.
God is a god of order, though, and shouldn’t my life also be the same? Why is it so difficult for my modern mind to embrace a schedule? What a gift it was for our ancestors who had livestock and crops and weather to mold their schedules. When to get up?…when the cow needs milked. When to do laundry?…when the sun is shining. When to eat this or that?…when it is in season. They, too, were go-with-the-flow, for their lives, so intrinsically linked to the rhythm of nature, demanded that they bend to a greater order. If they didn’t, they literally died. Somehow, though, that is totally different than what I perceive my flexibility to be. For really, what I believe is modern freedom is really just modern slavery. I’m a slave to my passions when I let my life be led by my desires. When I follow my own plans… so shortsighted, and my own ideas…so limited and lacking, the last thing I am is free.
With our modern conveniences and modern choices we lose touch with God’s order. What looks like freedom to choose becomes choice overload. Too much to do. Too many places to go. Too many choices. Our souls are suffocated in layer upon layer of too much. Chaotic, overloaded, overindulged.
Since last year, I’ve been working on simplifying our lives. Our time. Our possessions. Our intentions. Right now, I’m focusing on scheduling. Trying to figure out the greater order to my life and molding myself around it rather than making yet another choice to do it my own way.
School is ending and normally, I would use this as an opportunity to embrace a lack of schedule. I’d resist any semblance of sameness or repetition. I’d put my feet up and let my responsibilities take second fiddle to the all-consuming “need” to relax, which is really just code for wasting my life in laziness. I’d let my vacation run on far too long and end up wallowing in my own selfish passions.
Instead, I’m spending my summer more regimented than I’ve ever lived in my life. I’m planning my day down to the minute. Limiting my choices. In activities. In food. In clothing. In everything I can think of. I’m taking a vacation…from myself.
I am amazed at what is already happening in the short time I’ve been doing this. I thought I had schedules before, since most of my activities were generally the same from day to day. We ate at generally the same time, did school at generally the same time, and so on, and so on. However, by taking it to that next level and eliminating many of my choices, I’ve glimpsed an awe-inspiring place. That place is called peace, which is exactly what I’m looking for.
I still have far to go, so I see the peace in just snatches and moments. Then, I let myself get carried away again, trapped in my own head. But the peace is out there, and that knowledge is a deep comfort.
I’ll be writing more about how I’m spending my little summer boot camp. How I’m identifying the areas in my life most filled with choices and then limiting them. I pray it will be a fruitful summer of learning.
I think you’re on to something. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.
I am often reminded of the difficulty in cutting off the will with regard to schedules and routines. Swinging too far in either direction quickly becomes a trap. On the one hand, we can be willful when we navigate our day by whim. On the other hand, we can become willful about keeping a schedule at all costs, ignoring the needs that arise and interrupt our plans. It’s difficult.
I think your identification of a lack of peace among many choices is true. We have far more choices than our ancestors and it’s overwhelming. Have you read Simplicity Parenting? I have it, read the first chapter or two and intend to finish it. I think the author writes from a similar perspective. Perhaps you would enjoy it.
Yes, there is a great need for balance, isn’t there? For me, though, I have little fear of going in the direction of being too much of a stickler for the schedule! I definitely will lean toward being too much into my own whims and desires.
I saw that you were reading Simplicity Parenting. I have it from the library right now! I searched my library catalog for everything with the keyword simplicity and have been requesting quite a few. I have to weed out the New Age slant sometimes, but I’m finding some good things.
Simplicity Parenting has quite a bit of good in it. His case study examples are very interesting, although he does tend to go on and on in places. I especially liked the chapters about rhythm and schedules. A lot of what he recommends I already do, and especially describes how I parented my older two when they were younger. I see, though, that I am not following through in areas that need it. Starting simple and ending up complicated is worse than complicated the whole way!
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