Do you dream of leading a simpler life? Are you worn out, frustrated, or unhappy with where you live or what you do? I've talked about living in paradise before, but I wanted to share a few more thoughts on the subject.
There isn't anything wrong with having a "paradise dream" (dreams are encouraged!), but if we live our lives waiting until we can move on to greener pastures, we'll miss out on what life has to offer right now.
We all have ideas on what we think a simpler life means. Some of us think retiring and moving to the woods is the ticket. Others want to move to somewhere tropical. Most of the time retiring and moving are key components for what we think is a happier, stress-reduced life.
Oh, the error of our ways...
The thing is, simplifying life doesn't have to mean moving to the middle of nowhere. Oftentimes, doing just that actually complicates things a bit. Just think about all the things you have to do to survive if you take off and move into the woods. If you don't have electricity, you have to get firewood (even if you live in the south - doesn't it get chilly there, too?). If you don't have a job or a ton of money in savings, you can't just buy the wood. That means you have to gather and cut the wood yourself. What it takes to live off the land and survive is a lot more than one would expect. And in many cases, it's a full-time job.
Our ideas of a simpler life aren't always accurate. We think if we can just move into the woods, life will be simpler. Or we think if we can just quit our jobs, life will be simpler. Sometimes it really is simpler, especially if there is drama in the workplace, but what are we going to do after that? How are we going to pay the bills?
Even if we live off the grid and grow our own food, we still have expenses. Whether we like it or not, we still need an income or a major reserve of funds to get by. It isn't as easy as one might think.
Also, in our world today, we have become spoiled with technology. We can whip out our smartphones and find out just about any information we need or want. We can order products, even food, online and have it delivered to our front door. We can watch movies online and dial a phone number simply by speaking a few words into the phone.
Many of us aren't ready to say goodbye to the internet. And if we want high-speed internet (trust me, satellite internet doesn't cut it), well, we'll need to be in a location where the service is available.
See, we have these grand ideas that if we take off into the woods, life will get easier. But the issue comes when our true calling doesn't actually support our dreams of living in the woods. In that case, moving to the woods makes our lives much harder. Internet will be slower, if it works at all, and getting supplies will take longer.
What I'm trying to get across is this: it doesn't matter where we live. We can still find ways to simplify our lives without taking off and saying goodbye to the world.
Many of us think if we just move to somewhere tropical, life will be easy. But does it align with our calling? If it does, great! If not, moving to that paradise location will make our lives miserable. We can have the best view in the world, but if it makes doing our work more difficult, we may find ourselves frustrated.
So, what are some ways we can make the most of where we are right now?
- Remember our goals.
- Remember our purpose (we weren't meant to be hermits).
- Work toward our dreams.
- Focus on positive things and limit the complaints.
- Recognize the blessings.
- Learn from all experiences.
- Remember that life is a journey.
- Find an activity to enjoy.
- Believe that paradise can be achieved right now.
- Listen to the things that God is placing on our hearts.
The grass on our side can be just as green as it appears on the other side. It just takes a little work to see things clearly. It isn't about the location or the work; it's about the journey and what we can learn each step of the way.