Most people today are caught up in the hustle and bustle, but have you ever stopped to think about the toll that living a fast-paced life has on you and your family? Unfortunately, we’re part of a culture where families are apart more than they’re together. In the old days, families would do more activities together, like camping, having Sunday dinner, or cutting down the Christmas tree.

An NPR study found that 48 percent of families in the U.S. eat together. The same survey showed that in those families who eat dinner together, only 55 percent have children eating the same food at the same table. Not only are Americans spending less time around the table, but the average U.S. citizen uses one hour and eight minutes of their day eating. Suppose you eat three meals a day, 22 minutes per meal. Is that enough time to have a meaningful conversation with your loved ones and properly digest your food? If you recognize yourself or your family in these statistics, you may be ready for a change, but what do you want that change to look like?

First, you should ask yourself what do you want from your life and what does God want from your life? The only way to answer the second question is to ask Him. Matthew 6:33 tells us, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” So how do you go about living a simpler life and make time for what matters? Here are some tips.

Don’t focus on materialism.

What comes to your mind when you think of the word “minimalist?” Do you see a stark white house with nothing but a few plants? To some people, that’s minimalism. However, some see minimalism as the opposite of materialism. If materialism is defined as being caught up in our material possessions, then minimalism does not care so much about those possessions.

When you focus away from the material things, a few things start to happen. First, your home becomes less cluttered by what you think you need to have. Second, you spend less money because you’re not trying to keep up with the Joneses. Lastly, because you’re spending less, you’ll have more resources to devote to what you want and what God is asking you to do. Take some time to clear out the clutter in your home and mind. That way, you’ll have a fresh start, and you’ll be ready to start working your way through some more complicated things.

Take time to rest.

There will always be many things to do, especially if you have a family. The workload never stops. However, it doesn’t need to feel that way. To have time to rest, you’ll need to learn to be more intentional with your time. It would be best to get into the mindset that it’s okay to have a day of rest, an evening of rest, or even an hour of rest.

Rest doesn’t have to mean sitting around doing nothing, although sometimes it does. Sometimes, rest means setting the stressful work aside for a while to be present and take a breath. Life isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Still, you can make an effort to slow it down if you choose.

Create routines.

Do your family life and daily plans seem to be entirely up in the air? Are your children frustrated with you because plans frequently change that no one ever knows what direction they’re heading? It’s essential to plan and execute new routines in your home, so your days become smoother and flow together. Having patterns doesn’t mean needing to schedule and plan every minute of the day. Instead, it means having a natural flow of activities put together to make a specific task or time of day more productive.

Making time for what matters doesn’t mean having a boring life. It just means that you’re more intentional with your time. Routines and other planning will help you achieve this intentionality to fit the things you want to do in your day.

Make time for family and fellowship.

Spending time with your family and fellowship is vital for making time for what matters. In this context, fellowship means spending time with believers to encourage and build each other up. Do you feel like you’re struggling in your walk with God because you don’t have the support? If you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, look at your effort to build and maintain the relationship. Is it sufficient? You may be so caught up in your worries that you may not see that they’re plenty of people around you to connect with. You need to put in the effort for that to happen.

If you’re feeling lonely or the right people do not surround you, you should start thinking about how you can improve your relationships with family and friends. It may be best to consider writing your thoughts down in a journal. Think about the impact that having a solid group of believers to lean on and bettering your relationships with your family could have on your life.

Right now, it would be best to start with your hopes, aspirations, and wishes. What does your ideal week look like? What activities would you be doing? What would you like to do that you feel you can’t fit into your week right now? Take your time to think through these questions. After contemplating, pray, and then pray some more. If you haven’t already, ask God about the direction He would like you to take with everything that has been on your heart.

If you want, you could take it one step further. Ask others around you to pray for and with you. You don’t need to give them specifics if you don’t want to; tell them you’re considering slowing down some parts of your life and you want to be quiet enough to hear what God would like you to do.

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