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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Simple is Beautiful.

  As we rang in 2012, resolutions have (obviously) been a hot topic. We all want to improve, get better, have goals. A fresh start is wonderful, isn't it? And yes, I too have a whole list written out in my idea/inspiration notebook. Things like "workout every day", "read through the Bible in a year", finish this, start that. And while resolutions are motivational and inspiring, all these little goals? They can be overwhelming. I've decided to pursue these but to let my main focus be on just a few things. I'm going to strive most wholeheartedly to love God and love others. And after that, what is my new goal for 2012?

To simplify my life. To embrace the simple things and find beauty in them. To be content.


It is the sweet, simple things of life
         which are the real ones after all.

-Laura Ingalls Wilder

...and who can argue with that little doll from "Little House on the Prairie"?
 (actually, this quote was said when she was an older, wiser woman)

Finding beauty in simplicity is enthralling to me lately.
Being content with what I do have is on my heart.


"But godliness with contentment
is great gain."
-1 Timothy 6:6 
  As hard as it may be to believe this
(in our always-need-more culture) 

 Contentment is a gem

 But honestly, it's something I've always struggled with - from day 1 of my walk with the Lord...when I was just 7 years old. At that time, it was the newest American Girl doll. Remember those? Oh, I just had to have one. Her gorgeous blonde hair and that cute blue dress she wore? Almost too much to bear! I hung a poster on my wall from the catalog and daily wished for one, imagining what it would be like to add her to my little "family of dolls". A few years later, lo and behold -she was my birthday present! And as ecstatic as I was, I soon moved onto some new toy or thing I wanted. And the cycle continued.

  I've always looked ahead, not enjoying what gifts I do have, while sighing and moping around for what I don't have, what I want. I do it to this day. No, it's certainly not an American Girl doll anymore...(oh if only it were that simple!) It's bigger things, life things. Like relationships, money, material items, you name it. I find myself doing it all the time - looking past the blessings I do have and wishing I had something more. Thinking I would be truly happy if I just had this relationship, that car, this job. When all the time, the God of the Universe has seen fit to give me everything I need, everything He knows I need for this time in my life. Who am I to whine and complain? Yet I do.




  Maybe a gorgeous new 50-inch flatscreen would be nicer, but perhaps I should be content with my smaller, older TV. Maybe a new wardrobe from J.Crew would be perfect for the spring season, yet perhaps the closet full of lovely clothes I already own is enough. Maybe it would be nice to have a better paying job, but the one you have is exactly where the Lord has you. Perhaps being married to an amazing man would be wonderful, but you are single now for a reason. Maybe having a baby soon would be a dream come true, but the Lord has a bigger plan.

It's a hard lesson to learn. One I must daily work on. Something I have to pray through and fight. Contentment is something much talked about in Christian circles, specifically Christian women's circles, right? (I would know, spending 4 years of my life in an only-girls major at a Christian college!) I remember in some of our class prayer times, a weekly request from almost every girl was "Pray I am content in _______." I know it's a real struggle, something so easy to slip into... and I'm not trying to just say, "be content, girls - then you are godly." No, I understand it is so hard. But I believe God is our biggest cheerleader in contentment. He longs to reach down and quiet our hearts. Sometimes, in anxious moments when I am discontent, when I'm wishing things in my life were different, He reminds me:

"Be still and know that I AM GOD."

-Psalm 46:10


  It is one step at a time. Growing and learning contentment. And I am learning, it is as simple as taking each thing in every day, and enjoying it. Being present. Being thankful.

  Enjoying the smaller simple things, like this homemade cappuccino with whipped cream and the fresh, cool spring-like breeze blowing through my white cotton curtains. (I love California in the winter!) The sweet family you can laugh with. A new pair of $2 Forever 21 earrings that make your eyes sparkle. A song you have on replay because it makes you smile. The little joys and blessings. And most of all, let Him be our joy. Our ultimate satisfaction. Our greatest dream come true.


"For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless."

-Psalm 84:11



Knowing He will withhold NO GOOD THING from us when we trust Him.
 He is our Father, knowing what is best.

As one of my childhood mentors sang in a song to the Lord...over and over in a chorus,

"Nobody else but You,
oh Lord...
nobody else will do for me."


There is hope in this, girlfriends.

There is strength.

Knowing and trusting that if I don't have something today it must not be good for me.

And knowing, anything can happen tomorrow. I can smile in His sunshine today.

Smile with me, and trust?


XO

Erin

26 comments:

  1. You are gorgeous and these pictures are awesome. Oh the challenge of contentment! I struggle with this one...especially when things in my life have flipped upside down recently...I am trying to fix my life...trying to keep busy and distracted...to keep looking to the future in hopes of gaining more hope...but I need to remember that God has this...and knowing that....I can be content in the moment. :) Love this!

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  2. YES.
    The Lord has been giving me the opportunity to begin to learn contentment. A lot has been taken away from me this past year. Job. A home of my own. Complete financial independence. It's been hard. It still is really hard.
    BUT. He has been giving me things that can never be taken away. Beautiful things. Treasures far beyond material goods. Humility. Contentment. Peace. Knowing people in a way I wouldn't otherwise. Much more still. And all of these I am just barely touching, like the very tip-top of an iceberg. Sometimes I definitely don't touch the iceberg at all. ;) Oh I am so grateful for these difficult circumstances (or I try to be!).
    On another note... dang, girl, you are beautiful! Where do you get all the amazing photographs of yourself?
    xo
    Alanna

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  3. SO glad you found my blog so I could find yours!! Beautiful post and looking forward to following your journey! Prayers and love to you!

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  4. SimPlicity has definitely been on my heart as well .thanks for writing this Erin !

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  5. Awesome, and yes I'd love to do blog button swapping!

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  6. You are such a beautiful person, it was lovely to read your words. And what amazing photos... lovely!!
    Thank you for stopping by my blog.
    Rachel
    x :D

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  7. Very nicely put. :)n And Beautuful photos! :)

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  8. Thank you so much for this post. I definitely needed that encouragement and reminder this morning. Contentment is a hard thing to learn!

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  9. beautiful !!!! love ur blog im ur new follower!!
    kisses
    hope u follow me bac :)
    www.fshn4us.blogspot.com

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  10. You are adorable....love the photos, and your thoughts! Some of the things you wrote about are on my "please Lord" list. Thanks for the reminder to be content with what I have. xo

    P.S. Sent you an email this week re: sponsorship - let me know if you got it!

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  11. These picture are GORGEOUS!! and look at that, we have the same resolutions! Be Me - Be Simple. :) Yay for finding happiness in the simple things! :) Thanks for the comment over on my blog. I always appreciate it!

    All The Love In The Universe
    Digger

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  12. thank you so much for your kind words! I love this post and it's a constant reminder that the worldly resolutions don't matter but to hold strong on who God is and to love like He does.

    ps. loved the American Girls!

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  13. Wow, you are beautiful! These photos are absolutely gorgeous. I think these are wonderful goals to work toward in 2012. I'm so happy to have you as a blog friend! Your button is officially on my page now. :)

    xo

    MacKensie

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  14. lovely pictures, I like your jeans! and haha ohhh Little House on the Prairie <3

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  15. Wonderful post! And I love that love pic!

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  16. Contentment is so hard, but I think we find such joy when we're content to surrender to His plan rather than insist upon our own. It's just about remembering our world is bigger than we are, and that our God is orchestrating the events of it all in a way we can't even begin to understand, because His ways are so far above ours.

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  17. Your hair is beautiful and so is your heart. I too struggle with contentment, but with Gods help, I know it's possible.

    I'm having a giveaway and would love for you to enter
    Southernpinky.blogspot.com

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  18. Thank you for this post. Amidst all that is going on around me...I'm smiling! Sending big smiles your way and trusting in faith to know that I can live contempt in the moment...and rest assured in knowing God's grace will carry me. Happy Weekend :D

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  19. Hello I'm a new follower! You are a wonderful lady after Gods own heart and it shows :-)
    I too am trying to focus on simpler things this year and contentment is deff a tough one.

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  20. I think contentment is one of the best goals to strive for. :) Hope your year is full of beautiful things. :) And coming from someone who is waiting for "the one" that God has in mind, who sometimes has doubts about that, and is often the "odd man out", i appreciate that there are others out there with my beliefs and values. :)

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  21. Content. Such a hard thing to do... He has the grandest plan. I have to remind myself.

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  22. I am new to your blog and I am so glad that i've found it. You're words really touch my heart and encourage me! "God is our biggest cheerleader in contentment." Man, I needed to hear that truth! Sometimes it is easy for me to be too hard on myself and forget that the Lord is on my side on this. He wants to HELP me, not condemn me! Thank you for this post!

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  23. such a beautiful post dear Erin...an important message illustrated with amazing photos...you are so very beautiful...inside and out. Thank you for the reminder!

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  24. Wow .. I love what you wrote and really took them to my heart. I am so excited to see so many young christians!! I am so glad our generation has people loving God in such an awesome way!! It is our time to spread his love and grace!! Lets continue praying for each other and our generation!!

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  25. I can so relate to this post. I am surrounded by dreamers and planners in my life. While dreaming about and planning for the future is not inherently bad, It is often associated with "something better" "something nicer" "something more" and essentially discontent. I get so caught up in the whole prince charming perfect wedding/house/baby/life/whatever, that I forget about the fact that God has complete control. He knows the plan he has set out for me, and his plan is so much better than mine will ever be. Thank you for your words of encouragement, and perspective. I am so excited to have found your blog. And to read more about your incredible journey and love for the Lord. xoxo

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  26. You are so gorgeous! I agree, sometimes the most simplest things are the most beautiful :)

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sweet friends, share your heart.

"kind words are like honey...sweet..and healing.." -proverbs 16:24.

xo.

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