Letting go of unnecessary expectations is one area where minimalism has benefited me greatly. Whether those expectations were internal (wanting to have all the hobbies) or external (being asked to help with or attend all the events), I started recognizing that I was stressed almost all of my waking hours. I had no time for the hobbies that I actually wanted to do because I was spending so much time coordinating or organizing my time sot that I could fit everything in.
Instead of always saying yes (because deep down I did WANT to do all of these things), I learned how to say, “Let me think about it.” Then I would actually take the time to think about what purpose it served both in my life and in the general benefit of those around me.
A few months after James passed away I was asked to help with a church activity by being a part of a very small play that was supposed to inspire others to better fulfill their callings. I agreed to do it but once I looked over the script, I had second thoughts. It was longer than I had imagined and the message had a tone that I felt would make people feel more guilty than inspired. I didn’t want to do it.
I sat on that script for two weeks finally calling the leader in charge to let her know that I couldn’t do it. It felt IMPOSSIBLE to do but she was so gracious and understanding. It also helped her to look for herself at the script (which she hadn’t read through either) and realize that she also didn’t want it for the meeting. The meeting was simplified with people sharing personal experiences that ended up being incredibly inspiring.
Letting go of those expectations (especially after we feel we have made a commitment) always seems terrifying. What if we end up regretting it? What if we get bored!?!
Your time will still be filled but you will end up having greater choice over that time. Because we have already made one choice about it, we can be more inspired to fill it with things that matter most.
We often want to give our family, especially our children, all of the opportunities available. We want them to be in every sport, dance class, computer club, and art group available. Our kids have so many talents and we want to explore them and help be a part of the process of discovering their passion. In our efforts to do so, we often end up feeling over-scheduled and like a taxi driver. Family dinner becomes less frequent. Family time can be spent watching each other from a distance rather than interacting in a united purpose.
I am not proclaiming it is all bad, but rather the culmination of everything has us missing opportunities.
When we choose to be less scheduled we have more time to serve when asked.
We have more time for spontaneous trips to the mountains or lake.
We have more time for family moments.
When we think about how we are choosing to spend our time, is it serving the purpose we want? It is helping us to grow in meaningful, eternal ways? It is connecting and reaching out to those who really need it? It is strengthening our relationships with family and friends?
I have found so much joy in the simple moments at home; playing baseball in the backyard, messing up the table with art supplies, and building Duplo creations of epic proportions. It brings joy because we are doing it together and that is exactly how I want to spend my time.