I’ve been chasing rabbits… and goats and dogs for 2 years. I've been chasing other things too- entrepreneurship, photography, an oily business, an etsy business, home projects, farm projects, crafts and ideas (lots and lots of ideas). Chasing them all has been exhausting.
A couple months ago, when God impressed upon my heart to downsize, it wasn’t a suggestion. I came back from Oregon with a spirit of frustration. We had lost our new baby goat while I awaited my flight. I was over it, as tears streamed down my face for not being capable of being everything to everyone, and not being able to hold Bruce Wayne as he took his last breaths. I got home to overgrown flower beds and a heart that was just overwhelmed. What was once a blessing had become a burden. I had a spirit and need for adventure and real life community (not just virtual). I had been stuck in helper mode for 8 years between being a full time caretaker and homesteader, and it didn’t even dawn on me the number of things I was allowing to fill my plate- to a point it was toppling over with stuff, responsibilities, and unending an “yes” to add more.
I decided to stop the madness. Not all at once, but gradually. Downsizing became my focus. Two by two the animals left, just like Noah's Ark. Then the downsizing trickled over to the craft supplies, the home decor I purchased for 3 houses ago, the inventory I hoarded for “one day” projects, and the clothes I had kept since the 8th grade- for those of you who don't know that's 19 year old clothing.
Why? Why was I refusing to let go?
I don’t know about you, but I struggle with permanency. I have since I was a 12 year old girl and my parents decided to go their separate ways. I lived out of a suitcase until I was 21. Week by week, I’d pack that suitcase with all my belongings and travel to my “other home”. My heart longed for permanency and stability. And I didn’t have that physically or emotionally even though my parents gave me their best- the instability was inevitable.
Nothing was certain.
It followed me to college as I commuted back and forth on the weekends. And after college, I moved 5 more times in 3 years time, until we got to Jacksonville. I wasn’t living out of a suitcase, but life was anything but stable. I made the best of the life we were given and made our house a home- with all the stuff. And, when I moved to the farm, I brought it all with me- all the things. And then I added more. I added animals too- I think we had 70 at one time and then I stopped counting. It sounds idiotic now that I think about it all.
If you've ever been to my home, I hid it well. My home is beautiful, filled with memories, and gorgeous decor and things placed to make you feel welcomed. It seems anything but cluttered. My gift is hospitality and I practice it well. But when you have so many things, you heart feels overwhelmed and you become Martha instead of Mary, constantly worried about all the things instead of being present.
Downsizing became my new coping mechanism to a transition I didn't anticipate would come- moving. It became the thing I needed to help me realize I was a hoarder- of animals, of things, of roles and responsibilities, of distractions. As I began my journey, it began slowly and then became a domino effect quickly. I realized that the more space I made in my life and the less cluttered my closest and drawers and cabinets, the more I felt free in my mind. I didn't do it all at once. And, I still have a ways to go, but we are moving to a smaller place, with less responsibility.
The goal is less!!! Less things, less responsibility, less rabbits to chase, less of the things we don't need will prepare us for more, for an abundance of time, energy and freedom invested in things that matter rather than cleaning up a cluttered mess of unnecessary things.
So, all that to say, I only have one rabbit now. I've named him Henry. He is the last of our babies. He is free range and he is staying here on the farm with the new owners. But, I've also realized that sometimes, all you need is a single rabbit to chase- because more than one will send you on a wild rabbit chase full of distractions.
Last night, in a night owl leadership training, my boyfriend shared about his dream, which he describes like a rabbit at a dog race. I don't explain it as well as him, but he was talking about how they let a rabbit loose on the track and the dogs run with everything in them to chase that single rabbit. Can you for a minute imagine 6 rabbits on a dog track and the chaos that would ensue? This makes me laugh, because that's a full picture of what it felt like to live my life. That resonated with me so well, because I have chased a lot of rabbits on the farm. I want to be so committed to my purpose for life that I give it all to that ONE rabbit- all my focus, all my energy, all my effort, all my talent to the one thing God has purposed me for instead of chasing all the things. I don't want to be double minded (or let's be real quadruple minded). I want to be laser focused on the things God wants me to pursue which encompasses the things I was put on this earth to do to bring Him glory.
I've been sharing my decluttering tips on my stories in hopes that it will help you! I hope to share them on the blog with you soon as we are gearing up for this BIG downsize!
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