“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
The voices of culture are ramping up. The ideals espoused by countless tell us what to do, what to read, how to spend our money, how to educate our children and the chaos created from the frenzy of trying to do it all is killing the souls of mamas.
Perhaps we need to live more like "Mary" and who has chosen the good part, instead of Martha who tried to carry so much and live in constant activity.
When I was a young mom, without the internet, cell phones, facebook, and twitter, I had so much more undistracted time. My life was still busy, but I lived by my own ideals and followed the wisdom I held in my heart. I was not as tempted to look to the right and to the left to see what others were doing. I was the pioneer, the standard for my own family.
Often, people who know our children, want to know, "How did your child score a perfect score on a Harvard entrance exam?" "How did Joel become composer of the year at Berklee when he entered without even reading music?" "How did Nathan produce a movie at 24 years of age and write the script himself?" "How did Joy get a debate scholarship when she only competed in speech for 3 months?"
I am realizing more that I do need to begin speaking more on these issues again, just as a stewardship of what God has taught me. Of course, it has been the grace of God that they are all doing well, as well as a lot of hard work and diligence. But, I tried to focus on what was of the most value--to go for the gold, so to speak. My idealism led me to seek that which was the most excellent, and also the most simple and time tested.
I used to come home from conventions with swag bags full of stuff that promised to be amazing. It usually cluttered up my shelves, floor, and I rarely ever used even a portion of what I brought home. I was reflecting this morning about how the clutter of other voices usually brought confusion or comparison of myself to others--and that rarely produced good fruit in my life.
Simplicity brings order. Simplicity brings peace and rest. The more we focus on the "one thing" or at least the few things that really matter in our lives, the more we will see great fruit in our lives and the lives of our children.
A favorite quote from a sweet southern friend who had a real Texas twang was, "We do not want to create children that are a mile wide and an inch deep."
Perhaps the goal is to create souls that are a mile deep, even if focussed on an inch of width of their calling, so that they might be best in their field. The point is, focus and intention in cultivating what really matters will produce sure results.
Even when you observe the life of Jesus, He did not go to the leaders, and seek after the "influencers" of His day. He deeply impacted a few, he traveled less than 50 miles from home, he served the local, simply, every day, and yet the strength of His words, the purity of His kingdom message turned the world upside down. Judas wanted a country-wide revolution. Jesus created a heart revolution.
So it is with education, moral strength, leadership. Excellence is built on the elegance of wisdom, and not on the slippery, overwhelming, loud proclamations of the world. Peer pressure has rarely brought about brilliance or distinction.
I see so many women spending lots of money on activities, curriculum, classes for their children and I also observe they are exhausted, burned out, unhappy and spent--these are great, wonderful hearted women. But, flurry and busyness does not always mean forward motion. Sometimes our insecurity drives us to engage in activities out of the thought that we are not capable of accomplishing something by ourselves.
Yet, home is enough, simple tried and true literature still inspires, and children are less tempted by the things of the world and the peer pressures that come with so much activity if their lives are simpler and more focussed.
Join Sarah, my daughter, and me, next Monday night for 2 hours of discussion where we will speak about the things of elegant simplicity, the pursuing of the "gold" things of life, the ways I worked in my home, to reach the minds and hearts and vision of 4 such different children. I hope we can encourage you to take a deep breath, to cut back, and to enjoy your life that God has given you.
I hope you will join us for a night of focus and an evening of inspiration about what really matters.
May He bless you with strength, wisdom and encouragement today. He is the source of your strength as you go forward.