One-Dress Simplicity

Carolyn Rust is a mother of two amazing young adults, an accountant for a furniture manufacturer, and a child of God. She loves knitting and cooking. She is learning to dig into the Word more and is finding that more and more fascinating. Today she shares with us her journey toward simplicity in her life. We know you will be encouraged!

Simplicity is the process of leaving behind the chaos of this world and moving into calm and peace. So much time and energy is wasted on trivial things that it has become necessary for me to pursue simplicity as eagerly as Proverbs tells me to pursue wisdom.

God challenged me to live more simply through all of the normal trials we face and some that were unique to me. Racking up way too much debt when my kids were young was one of the most obvious ways that I was challenged to live simply. Setting a budget, breaking the budget, and starting again required me to learn what was really important. What I continually saw was the REALLY important stuff was usually right in front of me and was free — my kids and my Bible. The more energy I spent on these two things the more I was able to let go of many of the traps that had been set before me. Studying the Word of God made me question all of the stuff I used to escape my troubles. Studying the Word with people gave me practical tools to get out of debt and trust the Lord more. My desire to care for my kids well, to keep a good relationship with them, helped me live a life I wanted them to learn from. I let them see my failures and the way the Lord forgave me and helped me learn, so they could learn how to trust the Lord, too.

Not having to think about what I am going to wear everyday is one way I have simplified my life. I wear a simple dress every day. Just the one dress. When I made this change, I was faced with daily decisions that all of us face, but these daily decisions were taking so much energy. I was living in the home where I grew up with my mother. In caring for mom and her home, I was making decisions that were never up to her standards. I did not do things the way my dad did them or the way she wanted them done, and the constant scrutiny was debilitating. The simplest decisions were becoming too much for me. I accepted a challenge to wear one dress for 100 days and that one change removed one decision from my day. I always knew what I was going to wear when I got up. So, one less thing to fuss with.

The results were odd. Laundry decreased because I did not have 3 pairs of jeans and a load of t-shirts to wash each week. I did not feel the need to find new clothes because my dress was not wearing out. I was able to just get up and go every morning instead of rummaging for a shirt. I started looking for other things that could make life easier. Getting rid of clutter in my house started in earnest. Going through old stuff and disposing of junk and donating usable things became more routine. Sitting and watching a show with mom in the evening was no longer a burden because I did not care what we watched (in general). Even facing the challenge of her heart disease, hospice, and death were able to be approached in a calm and straight-forward manner.

I know the dress is not magical. It is just a tool the Lord used to remind me to use my energy toward lasting things. What I wear, what I have will not last. So why should my decisions for these trivial things be so important? “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

— Carolyn Rust