In this issue:
Is your schedule crammed? Your space full of too much stuff? Your soul overwhelmed with too much of everything? Author Courtney Ellis makes a guest appearance to talk about a simpler life based on the idea that less is more. Courtney is funny and witty and so honest about her own struggles in a way that encourages us to believe we can find the same freedom she has.
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Inspired Life: It's Too Much
In this episode, I interviewed Courtney Ellis, author of Uncluttered: Free Your Space, Free Your Schedule, Free Your Soul. Courtney is a co-pastor of a church with her husband, a writer, and mom of three young children. She says that as co-ministry partners, she and her husband have a deal that whoever was home with the kids that day had the harder day.
"No one pooped on the floor at your meeting," she says when describing how they arrived at this arrangement.
Where did the concept for Uncluttered come from? Courtney described how she arrived at a point where she needed to make a change. She says we come to change from having a point of pain. Her point of pain was feeling overwhelmed in every area of her life. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
For Courtney, it was too much stuff, too much technology, too many yeses, too many activities.
She said she told her small group that it was too much. Seeking clarification, a friend in the group asked her, "What is too much?"
"Everything. It's all too much," she said.
Have you been there too?
One of the hardest things for her was learning to say no. She tells a story in this episode about when it was their family's turn to take the preschool bird home. The only slot was the week of her due date. Because, why not be responsible for a bird when you're going to give birth? When she told her husband, Daryl, about the arrangement he said, "You didn't make the preschool get a bird. Why do we have to take it home?"
Isn't that true sometimes? We have "obligations" because of someone else's choices.
Be sure to listen to the podcast to hear Courtney's bird story and also about how she has simplified her wardrobe by eliminating color from her closet (really!) and how she eased off on technology.
Life, Repurposed: Soul Satisfaction
One of Courtney's and Daryl's marital values is hospitality. She realized that a cluttered guest room doesn't send the message she wanted. "Here's our guest room. Let us move the exercise equipment, and the classic Nintendo, and the bin of Christmas decorations...no, really, we're so happy you're here," she says when she explains the difference between their values and their reality before decluttering. "That little room said, 'You're kind of in the way'... When we were able to get rid of those things, we're ready for guests whenever."
Another area that was part of uncluttering was her schedule. Courtney says, just like the Israelites in the wilderness who had to trust God for daily bread, she had to learn to trust him with every area of her life. Signing off social media for a season was terrifying, but she committed to that for a while. Now it's part of her weekly sabbath rest to be off her social media and tuned in to family.
Courtney says sabbath is everything. It's the regular repeat of it that makes a difference. They have made sabbath time a habit. They have a no-screen rule for most of the day and make it a celebration.
At the end of their day off, the house is a mess, but Courtney says, "Remember the work will never be finished...just trust God with the next day." Consistency is what makes the difference in practicing how to unplug and refresh.
I talked about sabbath more in episode 18, so be sure to check it out!
In her book, Courtney says, "Like all things this side of heaven, uncluttering is not an end in itself, but a means for moving forward as worshipers of God...it's about placing God our rock at our center" (p 240).
I will be sharing more about Courtney's other book in an upcoming episode, but for today, I want to feature Uncluttered: Free Your Space, Free Your Schedule, Free Your Soul.
I have enjoyed the book so much! She is in the thick of real life, but Courtney has found a way to live for what matters. Is she perfect? No. That's what I love! I feel like she's a friend who won't judge me if she came over and my house was cluttered. She's about helping people discover something better, but not about judging.
Too much stuff. Too many activities. Too much exhaustion. Too much stress. How can we sift through the busyness, the mess, and the stress to uncover the abundant life God offers? In Uncluttered, one woman shares her journey from a life of stress, stuff, and burnout to one of peace, space, and fulfillment. You'll learn tips for paring down your possessions, simplifying your schedule, and practicing the ancient art of Sabbath.
Uncluttered is not a formula about what "stuff" you need to give up. It's about slowing down long enough for God to remind you of his truth and what it means to be his child.
With humor, wit, and wisdom, Courtney Ellis covers topics like:
- Stuff: Why more is not always better
- Technology: How to 'turn off'
- Schedule: How to say no
- The Secret of Simplicity
- Sabbath: Receiving the gift of rest
- Uncluttered Kids: Simple, soulful parenting
Uncluttered ushers you towards a lifestyle of holiness and joy in the Lord... Find out what happens when you simply put God first.
I love that the book is a refreshing read - it's...wait for it...uncluttered. It is! She doesn't waste space on content you don't need. Instead, she inspires with her own experience and challenges the reader to give it a try in their own lives.
Coming in November, I'll be featuring: Almost Holy Mama: Life-Giving Spiritual Practices for Weary Parents both by Courtney Ellis
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(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book. ) *This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.
Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.
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This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.