Minimalism, at its core, is the removal of anything that distracts us from what matters most in life. I live this out in my own life keeping my house clutter-free and maybe you do too. But what about our spiritual life? Shouldn’t we be removing anything that distracts us from God? What is the point of decluttering our closets if we’re filling our lives with spiritual clutter? These thoughts ran through my mind this week as I put together a 5-day devotional for women who want to simplify life with me.
Here’s how this works. I recommend starting this devotional on a Sunday or Monday because it’ll flow more naturally. It’s also one you can revisit monthly to keep on track. I know I will be!
For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God. (2 Corinthians 1:12)
Devotional For Women Who Want to Simplify Life
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DAY 1: Simplify Your To-Do List
Every Sunday night or Monday morning I take out my planner and sketch out my week.
1. First, I double-check if I have any upcoming doctor’s/dentist/pediatrician appointments and then start filling in individual days.
2. Second, I fill in my cleaning schedule. Check out my simple cleaning routine that helps me keep my home tidier in 15-20 minutes each day.
3. Third, I choose two to three major goals I want to accomplish each day and fill that it. Fewer goals mean I’ll have a better chance of actually accomplishing them rather than feeling like a failure at the end of the week. Here’s more on why I create a daily to-do list.
4. Fourth, I try to fill in what meals I’ll cook each day to make sure I have the right ingredients on hand. (I say “try” because my meal planning skills are dire and come Friday I’m usually throwing peanut butter sandwiches and carrots at everyone and yelling ‘Bon appetite!’! Send recipes, please.)
But you know what’s more important than making sure I clean my house, workout, or meal plan? That I PRAY over my to-do list. As soon as I wake up in the morning I try to pray over my agenda for the day. Since I follow a daily routine I usually already know what it is.
I can’t tell you how much better my day goes when I pray over it. Not because God makes everything easier for me, but because I go into the day with the right mindset – God’s agenda, not mine.
BIBLE VERSE TO MEMORIZE: Psalm 143:8 (NIV)
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go
for to you I entrust my life.”
PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, thank you for this day. I give it to you. Today I plan on ___, ____, and _____ but please remove anything on my to-do list that doesn’t bring you glory and instead fill it with what does. Help me to remain flexible and look for more opportunities to love like Christ instead of crossing things off my list. Amen.”
DAY 2: Simplify Our Needs & Wants
“The art of making do” is a phrase I recently came across and I love it. We’re a consumer-driven society–and that is great for the economy! But it’s not so great for our heart. Christians are not immune to “keeping up with the Jones” and we want the latest phone, Facebook Portal, miracle skincare product (guilty), and #OOTD as the rest of them.
But Jesus didn’t even have a home during his times of ministry let alone material stuff. He wasn’t driving around in an RV collecting “things” to take with Him to heaven. The Bible warns us to, “Take care, be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
I’m preaching to myself here because I love home decor, skincare, and books! They are blessings to be enjoyed, but not tools to let the devil control us: the more we get the more we often want.
So, I’ve started praying over my purchases. But don’t be legalistic. Yes, it’s OK to buy stuff sometimes! But for me, if it’s an expensive or impulsive purchase I like to ask God about it first.
That’s why decluttering can be dangerous sometimes. We clean out our closets and haul it away to Goodwill but this new “space” often makes us feel uncomfortable. And soon we’re filling up our Amazon carts or running to Target to fill the void.
Fill the void with God’s Word. Enjoy the space. Learn to be content and take care of what you have right now.
BIBLE VERSE TO MEMORIZE: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 (NIV)
PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, thank you so much for what you have already blessed with me! Thank you for ____, _____, and _____. Help me to be content with what I have and not let my wandering heart seek out the latest and greatest, especially _______. Please guide my purchases and give me wisdom on when it’s OK to spend a little money, and maybe when I should hold off. But more importantly, create in me a clean heart that is more and more content with You and less with my “stuff.”
DAY 3: Simplify Our Goals
This one is tough for me. While I tabled my dreams to work in politics when I became a mom, I often find my worth in what I accomplish each day instead of God. I told you I love to-do lists! And I’ve always been good at managing my time. But when we can only go to bed feeling good about ourselves when we accomplish X,Y, and Z then there’s a problem.
Having goals is a good thing. But since we’re human we’re unable to do everything on our wish list. And sometime’s we’re so wrapped up in our own life goals (career, marriage, financial) that we neglect God’s goals for our life.
As my favorite author and former missionary once wrote, “…real satisfaction and joy come in response to acceptance of the will of God and nowhere else.”
I’m going to be reflecting on that this week.
BIBLE VERSE TO MEMORIZE: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, thank you for my goals. Thank you for allowing me to succeed in some and learn lessons when I fail in others. Help me to work hard toward worthy goals. But above all, fill me with YOUR goals for my life and help me not to be distracted by what the world tells me I should be succeeding in. Help me to be content knowing I am in Your will. In Jesus’ name.
DAY 4: Simplify Our Stuff
Did you think I wasn’t going to talk about our “stuff?” Of course, I already addressed it above but if you’re anything like me, you often have closets overflowing and you’re sick of kicking stuff around in your living room. We have too much stuff.
Many of us are blessed with more than we need. Wouldn’t it be nice to give to others out of our abundance? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a home free of junk, but also filled with joy?
I am a Marie Kondo fan, so if you haven’t read her book yet you should. If you don’t need it or love it – get rid of it! Better yet, give it directly to someone who does need it or would love it. I wrote a whole post on “Are you Holding Onto Stuff Others Could Use?” if you need a starting point.
Just be careful not to rush out and fill that void after. 😉
BIBLE VERSE TO MEMORIZE: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6
PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, thank you for all you have blessed me with! Please open my eyes to all your blessings if I have become blind by my selfish desires or discontentment. Also, please show me where I have excess that I may give to others out of my abundance. You are such a generous Father and please help me to create a generous heart toward others as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
DAY 5: Simplify Our Expectations
In the show Modern Family, the dad Phil says one of my favorite quotes of all time, “The key to a good birthday? Low expectations!”
It’s not only the key to good birthdays but everything. Often time we are disappointed in our marriages, our friendships, our careers, and our homes because we had different expectations about how life should have gone.
How much better could our relationships be if we expect less from others but want to deliver more? I’m super convicted about this myself. I know the times I’ve gotten my “feelings hurt” or felt like I didn’t get what “I deserved” because I had put unattainable expectations on people. Now, I want more grace and fewer expectations.
BIBLE VERSE TO MEMORIZE: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for creating Hope and allowing us to hold onto it! You know I’ve been waiting for _____for so long and I will continue to pray for it until I hear a yes or no from you. But until then, please show me how to be content right where I’m at. Show me how to lower my expectations on how others and life should treat me while expanding my love for others! Help me to go above and beyond where I am able to show Your love to others. Help me to both hope for the future but be content where I am today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
That’s it for the 5-day devotional for women who want to simplify life. Although this is not from the Bible I leave you with this wise quote from the one and only Albert Einstein.
“Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.”
And amen to that!
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15
If you liked this, you’ll also enjoy, “What does minimalism have to do with my faith?”