Living more simply has benefits far beyond your bank account. There are practical everyday choices that can positively impact your family. Here are just a few lessons I’ve learned.

Simple Celebration

Yesterday was our 24th anniversary. Not quite silver, but it’s a respectable number.

Did we go out to dinner or spend a weekend at a bed & breakfast to celebrate? Nope. We kept it simple.

We exchanged cards and our daughter made us dinner and a cake. We spent some time on the porch drinking coffee while we watched the neighbors play with their kids. It was a rare sunny evening in Rochester, so we just sat and talked about life.

Lessons in Living More Simply

Would I have liked to do something more elaborate for our anniversary? Yes and no. I love to travel and eat gourmet meals. But my daughter’s thoughtfulness was special, and I appreciate her efforts.

We’re in a stage of life where time and money are stretched thin.  Like it or not, we’re being forced to live more simply, and we’re learning some lessons along the way.

1.  Living more simply strengthens relationships.

Our daughters are teenagers, so we don’t have that many years left before they will both be in college or out of the house. Maybe it sounds strange that we shared our anniversary dinner with our daughter. But she enjoyed the planning and preparation to make our night special. It gave her a sense of accomplishment and showed us how much she cares for us.

We might not have that many more opportunities for simple celebrations together like this. All the more reason to relish the time while we can.

2.  Living more simply sparks creativity.

Whether it’s celebrating a special day or planning what we will do this weekend, living more simply encourages creative thinking. We hardly ever go to the mall or head to the movie theater. Instead, we dream up inexpensive or free activities that are ultimately much more rewarding.

Our kids use their time to play instruments, paint, take walks and garden. The wonders of YouTube have “taught” them how to knit and crochet. (I don’t have any interest in doing either one of those things, so thank God for YouTube!)

3.  Living more simply restores souls.

The familiar words of Psalm 23 remind us that simple living — with radical trust in God — restores our souls.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.

The pastoral imagery of “green pastures” and “still waters” reminds us that God’s creation has healing properties.

The frugality of living simply means that we frequently look to nature for entertainment. Even in winter we take hikes in local parks and escape the cacophany of modern life. There is something very freeing about being away from electronics and focusing on the sounds of the forest or beach instead.

There are times when more elaborate celebrations and extravagance are warranted — that’s what makes them special. But Americans have a tendency to make everyday activities a cause for celebration and an excuse for overspending.

In the end, living more simply may actually provide us with the freedom we need to live richer and fuller lives.