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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Homemaking » Simple Doesn’t Mean Effortless

Simple Doesn’t Mean Effortless

 There is an interesting response from time to time when people come to visit us.  It seems that the idea of our more simple life – more simple than the modern lifestyle – means that we don’t have as much to do.  They seem almost disappointed that we are not just sitting around counting leaves or something.

 The plain lifestyle is a simple lifestyle for sure, but it is not an effortless way to live at all.  We feel that our effort is spent more on simple endeavors. Let me explain.

 In the modern, up-to-date family both parents work outside of the home.  All the children attend a school of some sort.  The family reconvenes in the home (hopefully) in the evening for a little while, spending most of their time in separate rooms, to watch television, do homework, straighten the house and then go to bed. The children have numerous after-school activities.

Parents seldom have quiet one-on-one time with each other and even that time is spent discussing; the bills, the kids’ problems, or work. The heart-to-heart talks just really don’t ever happen.

 Hopefully the same family finds time once a year to go on a vacation somewhere. When they get to the destination, it has been so long since they have spent any time together that they feel uncomfortable with each other.  Therefore, they plan hour-by-hour activities so that they aren’t faced with the dreadful silence that is borne of unfamiliarity.  Activities are a mask for lack of communication. Sound familiar?

 Yet our modern society and the above mentioned family has probably every modern convenience devised.  They lack no labor saving device or entertainment available.  Families generally have, telephones and televisions in every room, a family computer as well as computers for the kids, cell phones, pagers and other electronic tracking devices. 

If they don’t have the newest electronics they are sure to be planning when they can get it.  Even infants now have their own televisions and VCR/DVD players, DVD music system, and televisions in the car to keep them entertained while their parents take them to yet another activity. I am exhausted just writing about it.

 The point is that with all these “conveniences” why are people so busy, angry, exhausted and mentally at their wits’ end?  As a society we have bought into a lie.  The lie that work is bad and “stuff” is good.  Is it not blatantly clear that prosperity has not brought peace?  And yet we work – some folks work so long that they are at work more than they are at home. Then when they are at home they don’t even want to take out the garbage or make a bed.  Something is terribly wrong.

 We have discovered that work is not bad but the type of work we do is what is the problem.  The type of work to gain more money to gain more stuff is not of God.  This is a lie straight from the pit of hell.  The labor the Lord would have us to do is not for the purpose of gaining material possessions.  The scripture says that we should work so that we can earn in order to give.  I think this is concerning a wage-paying job, but what about working for the home and family.

 Living simply is just that, doing the simple things that address well-being and survival.  During the blizzard we had here in 1993, everyone in this area spent all their time working to survive:  provide warmth, food and basic comfort for their family.  I wonder how a “modern” family would be able to function for a week without their microwave, electric lights and central heat and air.  Would they become so stressed and uncomfortable that they would begin arguing and fighting with each other?

During the above-mentioned blizzard, many folks who had put in those cute little gas fireplaces nearly froze because there was no heat.  How sad!

 Simple living is the type of living where you get back to the most basic needs and try to supply them as simply as possible.  A friend of mine relayed to me something that his great grandmother used to say, When a man can have light or heat without a fire, or can eat without a garden, then folks will forget that there is a God.  It is the little prayers, such as asking for a breeze while hoeing on a hot summer day, or for rain for the garden, that makes him know and recognize us for who we are.”  This is the wisdom brought about by living a long life. 

 I can hear your thoughts!  Be specific!  There are many things that you can do to simplify – but remember work is not bad.

Let’s look at cooking for example.  It is very simple and easy to open a box and pour the contents in boiling water, drain it and spoon it onto plates. Or better yet, microwave it.  Yes, zap the food with the microwave for a couple of minutes and eat it right out of the serving dish you bought it in.  That way one person can have a turkey dinner and one person can have steak and the other can have tacos.  We have had this convenience for more than 20 years now.  Has our society become much happier now that dinner can be created in a matter of seconds? 

 Gardening, canning, baking are all very strenuous activities that take a great deal of time and energy.  And of course you can go to any local grocery store and purchase foods from every corner of the earth and from laboratories as well. J  Why bake your own bread when you can run to the bakery and get a fabulous loaf?  Why go through gardening, harvesting, cooking and canning all that food when we can make a quick trip to Food World – 5 cans for $2.00.  I admit – that is the easiest way to get your food and I can present you with all the reasons why, in the long run, it is not economical, safe nor healthy.  The question is do you want the truth?  In the former days, ladies wore large hats and clothing that covered their bodies as they worked in the gardens and grew every vegetable that they served their family.  They fed animals good grain and cared for them daily in order to provide quality meat for the table.  Now husbands have to work long hours and struggle to be climbing that ladder of success so that she can buy that loaf of bread instead of making it herself.

As you can see from the pictures here on our website, we dress a bit differently from the rest.  Years ago I taught my daughters to dress and look their very best at all times.  Hairstyles, make-up, nails, pretty jewelry, clothes that emphasized our assets (so to speak) were not only part of our lives they were important.  We actually spent time selecting clothing to match our complexion and then had coordinating jewelry and make-up.  Hours and lots of money were spent fixing our hair, face, and making sure we looked good from every angle.  There were mornings when one or another member of this family ended up either crying or very stressed over not having anything to wear or their hair not “working”. Now, after searching the scriptures for God’s plan we realize that clothing was created to cover our bodies – not to decorate us.  Hair was given for our husband’s glory not our own.  And jewelry was what adorned harlots not Godly women.  Now I know that many will get angry over that last one – please don’t get angry with me – it is God’s Word that says it.

 We wake up in the morning, brush our hair, put on a headcovering, wash our faces, open the closet and choose a dress – any dress, put it on and then slip into our shoes and we are ready for the day.  Paul doesn’t have to work overtime to buy us new fall fashions and we do not have to stress over whether our outfit is in style.  It isn’t!  Style is a worldly concept and people of God should have no part of it.  Simple.  Simple clothing, simple living.  

 Planning your day is another struggle for many women:  house chores, children’s activities, church activities, “time for ME” activities and perhaps if he’s lucky a few minutes for the husband.  The complicated life of the modern woman is incredible.

One of the greatest disruptions is by far the telephone and now instead of just having to deal with it at home – we now take it with us.  Some folks have even put a phone in their bathroom!!!  Incredible!!!!!!!! 

I used to be the lady who let her child stay up half the night so that I could have time to myself in the morning.  Why is it that we never think to teach the child to entertain themselves with intelligent activities, therefore we could stand to have them awake?  Now that there is so much available on DVD we just prop them in front of a TV or give them a new gameboy and voila – problem solved.  No, precious sister, problem made worse.  This seemingly simple solution has only made your problem deepen because that same child will never be able to sit and think their own thoughts without something there to entertain them, even into adulthood.  And do you not realize that this child that you have “quietened” with electronic numbness will come back to you when they are unable to function as a wife or husband because their mate isn’t keeping them entertained and excited all the time.  This is also the parent who will not have closeness with their child because they can only relate to people on a surface level.  I will not even get into the ramifications for that child’s children – the cycle is vicious and will not end until someone stops it. 

 The point is we seem to not be willing to exert the energy it would take to make life different.  We work to exhaustion on meaningless tasks that only present the illusion of happiness instead of getting down to the meat of the issue and sweating and toiling to bring about change.  The fruit of our lives is in the eternal.  For Paul and I, it is our children.  Much time is spent in ministry to other people but our children are our eternal fruit. Every moment we show them the path to God is time well spent.  Each chore that we do should be to teach them the Godly characteristics.  If we gain the whole world and lose our own babies what have we gained?  I encourage you to take a look at your daily activities, daily tasks and decide if the amount of time and energy you are spending on those things will bring you eternal reward. 



Written by

"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him." Lamentations 3:22-24

Filed under: Homemaking

5 Responses to "Simple Doesn’t Mean Effortless"

  1. Mona says:

    What’s a woman to do? Here I sit at college, working on a degree for Educational Assistant(para-professional). I’m 52 and I lost my “office” job and cannot support myself on minimum wage. I am no longer married( it’s been 14 years since the divorce). All this talk of being a stay-at-home wife/mom/woman is depressing when that option simply isn’t available. I’m a Christian, but it seems there are few options for a woman. Either be a “plain” woman or do the regular church thing. I’ve been to a Mennonite Church and it was wonderful. However, as a divorced lady, I felt at a loss when all the women visited and talked about “homemaking”. What home? My son is 31 and on his own and the cat & I don’t create much to deal with. Anyway, I truly enjoy your website and reading about those who could live the Christian, plain lifestyle.
    Thanks for letting me unload,
    Mona N.

    1. Angelia Angelia says:

      Dear Sister – I can understand your heart – truly I can. There is much to share on this and I will be praying about that. I wanted to make sure I responded to your post quickly so you know that I am listening and praying. Until I can add more – know that there is a plan and it is perfect. God has it all worked out. Stay strong and we will talk more!

  2. Mona says:

    Thank you! I do know that prayer uplifts and upholds. 🙂
    God Bless You!!

  3. Misty says:

    Dearest Angelina,
    I have just come across your blog and am thouroughly amazed. I am always reading books about the Amish and the plain life and am so amazed by the closeness of the family and the love. My husband and I are christian and so are our children. We have gone through not having all the electric and amenities that the modern family have. We really loved it even our children liked it, they felt we were closer aa a family. But now were are the modern family again and I can tell the difference. I feel we should all be plain for the simple fact is the family was closer to God and each other. Thank you for the inspiration, may God continue to Bless you and your family in your ministry.
    Misty and Pets.

    1. Angelia Angelia says:

      Hi Misty – thanks for writing – good to hear from you. I do believe that the plain life definitely creates stronger families! We do have electricity and many modern comforts but the key is separation in the aspects as the Lord leads.

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