Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price…
1 Cor 6:19-20a
Being a steward of something simply means that I’ve been entrusted with managing something that belongs to someone else. As the verse above notes, I am no longer my own; I belong to God. When I consider managing my time, my resources and myself, I must draw the lines of ownership correctly. I am the steward. God is entrusting me with time, resources. . . life.
As I alluded yesterday, my husband and I are embarking upon a total change in our thinking about life. The change boils down to holistic stewardship. In the past, when I have considered this topic of stewardship, money comes to mind first. Talents take a close second. But otherwise, I don’t really consider myself a steward of other areas. But as I’ve been thinking and reading (and reading and reading) lately, I’ve come to see what a poor steward I am of many areas of my life. I’ve been busy patting myself on the back for being a faithful tithe-giver, but I’ve neglected areas like my body and my time.
Challenged by our friend Ted’s simplicity project, (and a new favorite blog to read: Bye bye Buy) we set out to write our own list of ways we could try simplifying our lives. We determined we would brainstorm, categorize and then pick a category to try each month. If it worked well or was beneficial, we might extend the idea into the following months. As we discussed things we could do, we realized that many of the items on our list were not “try for a month” ideas. They were changes that truly just ought to be made. As we re-read the list out loud, we also realized that our overall theme was not just simplifying – it was becoming better stewards of every area of our lives.
Here’s a list of how we’re getting started. I’m sure the list will evolve as time passes, but we are so excited about embarking upon this adventure.
Finances (these are our only month-long challenges)
*Not buy anything non-essential, which basically boils down to no restaurants, no movies and no clothes or toys for M. We hope to make some changes in our spending habits long term, but for now, we’re taking this a month at a time.
*Not spend more than $5 per week on activities to do with M. We have memberships to the zoo and Science Museum, and can schedule plenty of play dates or trips to the park and library.
*Spend no more than an hour per day watching TV. Some days that will be easier than others.
*Spend at least 2 days per week, at home, as a family. That doesn’t mean we can’t invite people over to share a meal with us. But it does mean making intentional choices about how we spend our time away from each other.
*Complete a deep clean-out of the house. We’re going for an area or two per month until it’s done. Then we’ll work hard not to buy a lot of extra stuff we don’t end up using. That kind of goes with the change in spending habits.
*Be intentional about water and energy consumption. As I’ve been thinking more about stewardship, my awareness has been heightened to ways in which I am not a good steward. This is one of them. I leave the refrigerator door open and the faucets running unnecessarily all the time!
*Continue composting and work to reduce trash. Yes, that means I will consider using cloth diapers with any subsequent children.
*Make more homemade things. I’m inspired by LL and all she does. I’ve been talking about making my own bread and pasta forever, I just need to carve out time to do it.
*Grow what we can. I have a tomato plant growing out of my compost bin, spontaneously. So far, I’ve picked about 7-8 tomatoes from it and at least 10 more are on the vine. I’m determined to plant a vegetable garden now.
*Personally, I want to do a better job of caring for my house. That means, keeping it clean and tidy and doing the projects that need to be completed that I keep putting off. This will be easier once we complete the purge!
*Take better care of myself physically. I joined a gym and am determined to go. My friend Michelle is posting her weight each week. I am not that brave, but I am going to post the number of pounds I’ve lost each week in my sidebar.
*Eat better. I want to teach my daughter healthy eating habits, which requires us to eat better. It stinks that eating fresh food (not processed) is so time consuming and expensive! But we’ll do it.
*Get more sleep. My friends know I don’t sleep much (heck, you can tell by the time of this post!). We will be trying to go to bed at an earlier, more consistent time.
*Inviting people into our home for a meal. This is an area where we have been very intentional, but I want to stay focused on continuing to build those relationships. I’ve gotten a little lax in the summer with everyone’s busy schedules, but I need to get back on it.
*Building relationships with our neighbors. Again, I’ve talked about this before. But I’m determined to figure out how to do this.
I shared many of these items with a friend today, and she remarked at how it was hard to do some of those things at her stage of life. My reply was that I know this list will change as we move into different stages of life, but what the real change for us is is our mindset. As I’ve been thinking about stewardship more, I’ve naturally realized the things that need to change. I think that will happen no matter what phase of life we’re in.
So there you go. I’m really excited about this. I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions!