Tag: Minimalism

It is Possible to Live TOO Small

If you have read many of my blog posts, you may already know that I really like the idea of minimalism and its benefits. I believe in living small, and I try to keep my life relatively simple. However, the last five years have taught me that it is possible to live TOO small. Sometimes, less is NOT more.

I’ve been pretty introverted around here. Despite the MANY blessings and exciting events in the last year, I really struggled with anxiety and depression. I’m not a stranger to those things, but I think they got the best of me, because I thought I had grown beyond their clutches. True to my nature, I withdrew from writing, because I want to be a source of encouragement, and I just wasn’t a wellspring of positivity. I considered being vulnerable and talking about the ways I was hurting, but the words just wouldn’t come. I was stuck. And then I felt guilty and like a failure. It was a spiral, but I’m not sure I was even fully aware of it.

When we moved into our new home in April, I felt a very sudden loosening of those chains. Our new house, which I believe was an absolute gift being held for us by God, is a lot more airy and open. The four years prior, we’d lived intentionally very small so that we could pay off some of our debts and pursue the life we wanted for our kids and us. We learned and relearned that we really do need a lot less than we think. But those small spaces became even smaller when we added another sweet baby to the family. Her person and her belongings tipped the scales of what could comfortably fit in the space that we’d chosen. Daily, I was overwhelmed and even completely overcome by the clutter around me. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t purge and organize enough to really make it work. I’ll never forget tripping over laundry baskets to cook dinner and wash dishes. Just the basic functions of a stay-at-home-mama were extremely tedious.

Living small wasn’t serving us, so its very purpose was defeated.

Our new home, with the same amount of possessions as our apartment, now gives us the space we need to breathe. SPACE is a good thing. We still live small, but we can stretch out and live more fully. I can be hospitable in ways I never could before. I can live and work in close proximity to my children and not feel smothered. The possessions that enrich our lives have their own places and can be stored out of site, which creates an environment that is less visually stimulating. In short, this home is peaceful, and for that, I thank God continually.

We were able to host both sides of our family for Hosanna’s first birthday! 

More than necessary cabinet space is great for little explorers to play and hide!

We have time and space for blanket forts!

These quiet moments with my babies make life so sweet.

A yard of our own means we get to own pets. Meet Harold “Harry” Super Cat Dummel!

I realize that moving into a larger space isn’t always an option (it wasn’t for us for many years), but our situation is indicative of our need for space in many ways. We need space to think, to breathe, to grow. That doesn’t always mean physical space. We need to keep space in our schedules for Sabbath rest, for connection with the people in our lives, for communion with God. Are we tripping over the laundry baskets of life on our way to eating spiritual and emotional food? Laundry and serving and paying bills are all necessary parts of life, but when they begin to crowd out the peaceful moments that keep us going, we are bound to shut down.

Whether it’s my upbringing by two very hard workers or my type A personality, I’m a person obsessed with productivity. Learning to juggle two kids and a house that refused to stay clean got the very best of me in every way. I worked constantly and forgot to take time to breathe and fill up in my own unique ways. I pushed away my husband and kids in the name of cleaning and seeking spatial peace that wasn’t to be found. Thankfully, hard lessons can be learned, and I’m beginning to once again care for my family and myself the way that I should, which means a whole lot more than physical work. The depression and anxiety are mostly at bay. Intentional time spent building my relationship with my husband, my babies, and my Savior are all keys to emotional strength and well-being.

If your life is so busy that you don’t have space to breathe deeply, please take a Sabbath rest. It is possible to live TOO small. You can live with too little physical AND emotional space for a healthy lifestyle. Moving into a larger, more open home was extremely helpful to me, but depression and anxiety are imminent if I don’t follow God’s way, which includes hard, meaningful work, but also deliberate rest.

Goals for May 2015

Recap of April Goals

1. Continue making Bible study a higher priority < This is still a work in progress. Quite frankly, my schedule is entirely too full. It’s not an excuse, but it is proof that you can be too busy.

2. Pray and commune with God like it’s not a chore

3. Less screen time for Josiah

4. Visit a “Senior Saint” at least twice

5. Look through and organize home decorations, and get rid of anything we don’t intend to use (If I keep listing it, it’ll happen eventually, right?) < That’s hilarious.

6. Continue to improve the look and usability of millybecomingwilder.com < I’m still working on it, but for someone who doesn’t do coding, nor has the funds to pay someone to do coding, I think/hope it’s coming along.

7. Work diligently on Income Tax and Excel classes. < With the support of my wonderful husband, mother, family, coworkers, and friends, I got certified in Microsoft Excel, and I’m almost finished with Income Tax. That’s something to celebrate!!!

Goals for May 2015

Honestly, I hadn’t even looked back at my April goals until this evening. What a crazy month. I wasn’t too disappointed, though. Despite the chaos, I managed to do some good things. Here are my goals for May…

1.  Finish Income Tax class on a positive note.

2.  Continue to grow in Spiritual Disciplines.

3.  Slow my life back down after my classes are over.

4. Go to MANY garage sales, because they make me insanely happy. So many unique finds! Side note: I picked out a cuter outfit for going to garage sales tomorrow than I wore to work today. I might have a problem.

5. Celebrate Cinco De Mayo with my guys. We love Mexican food and festivities, even though we are the whitest people on the block.

6. Play “The Minimalist Game”…This is a challenge for me and anyone reading to cut down on the excess material possessions that steal our space and our peace. Want to know more? Read this!

I met “The Minimalists” last year at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati. They are not Christians, but what they’ve learned and are now teaching others is so full of truth and in line with Christ’s teachings on money and materialism. Luke 12:15 says, “Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'” I shared that verse with them and thanked them for their message. I hope they accept Christ as their Savior some day. Their joy is contagious, they are full of love, and they speak their message boldly…they’d make amazing ministers!

The Minimalists and Me

7. Celebrate 7 years of marriage! We will also be celebrating a successful year of marriage after separation, which is beautiful and blessed and totally the handiwork of God. Praise Him!

Dustin and Me

May 2015 is a pretty exciting time for us. Our marriage is growing stronger everyday, and as of May 31, I will be working part-time, so I can spend more time loving on my family. If someone would have told me my life could be this beautiful 18 months ago, I would have turned around and walked away. Never in my dreams, or even in my prayers, could I have imagined what God would do with our family. The glory is all His. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).