Generally speaking I find that January is a terrible time to start anything afresh, apart from a new diary. It’s cold and gloomy, with little on the horizon, and as a result most of the attempts I’ve made at resolutions over the years have lasted approximately ten days. September seems a much better month in which to embrace change. Sitting at the end of summer and at the doorway to autumn it is the perfect transitional space, a palette cleanser between the summer holidays and the cosy comforts of the final few months of the year. And so I am having a Simple September, clearing out the clutter from my body, mind and spirit and making space for my soul to breathe. I think one of the reasons the Christmas season has become such an indulgent time in our culture is that we are already starting from a place of plenty and then using it as an excuse to add layer upon layer of more until we quickly arrive at excess. What if I reined things in a little now, lived more simply, exercised more restraint – would how I live normally start to feel like a treat, a celebration?
There are many of my appetites which can, when indulged on a daily basis, get out of control. Social media is one example. I have come to realise that it is like silt in my soul, slowly and silently filling in every gap of time and space, clogging up my mind and spirit, creating clutter and noise. I need my attention to be fixed only on the One who holds my true identity, for His voice to be the one which speaks most clearly into my world, and for my attention to be drawn more towards what really matters. Most of our lives are already full of things clamouring for our attention, so when we choose to add more voices to the crowd is it any wonder that we sometimes struggle to quieten ourselves and be truly still?
And so throughout this coming month I shall, among other things, be fasting from all social media. Even as I type this my fingers are beginning to twitch nervously and my mind is creating a list of all the reasons why this is a terrible idea – all of which only goes to prove how necessary it is. Maybe social media isn’t your thing and you’re rolling your eyes at how very pathetic that makes me sound – believe me, I feel the same. But is there something else which crowds out your life and from which you could do with taking a break? Does your body, mind or spirit need some de-cluttering? Does the idea of a Simple September, whatever that might mean for you, fill you with joyful anticipation, almost excitement? If so then can I encourage you to pay attention to whatever your spirit is nudging you towards, and urge you to take some action? We are our own soul keepers, charged with tending to their health and well-being, and sometimes that requires a time of decisive action.
This is mine. What might yours be?
My hope for this month is that I will read more, listen better, pay attention more closely. That there will be further changes I want to make because of what I learn. That come October, I won’t just dive back into everything I’ve missed and gorge myself like a starved glutton. That in the stillness and quiet I will allow my Maker to hit the reset button.
I’ll see you on the other side.