And just like that, it’s June.

Winter has arrived and whilst we’re reeling from the change in weather, I’m sure most of you, like me, are also wondering where the year has gone. More importantly, what have I done with my year so far?

June tends to bring out the reflective side in me as we bunker down for the winter and pause for a moment to ponder on the months that have passed and those pesky New Year’s resolutions we made when the year was young and we felt as though anything was possible. 

Picnic

FINDING SPACE: Living a life of sustainable demands means stepping out of the fast pace we exist in, says Neri Morris. PICTURE: Arthur Poulin/Unsplash

 

"Living a life of sustainable demand is all about balance. Life is demanding. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just the truth. But our lives don’t need to be about meeting every demand placed on us."

Whether or not this year so far has been a good one, an average one, a crazy one or one you are looking forward to passing on into the past, the reality is that there is still a full six months or so of year to be lived. A full six months that has not had one up or down, one tragedy or loss, one joyous moment nor one average moment. It is as clean as forest air and as full of hope and anticipation as a fresh page in your journal.

Which begs the question – what will the rest of your year look like?

If you’re anything like me, your 2018 so far has been a busy one and I find myself constantly saying “is it (insert any month) already!?” This year has flown by, often getting lost in the demands of family, work, friends, social life, adulting (which is so hard!) and any number of challenges that get thrown my way. These things aren’t wrong or bad, but it is very easy to loose yourself in meeting the demands of life rather than living a life of sustainable demands.

Living a life of sustainable demand is all about balance. Life is demanding. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just the truth. But our lives don’t need to be about meeting every demand placed on us.

My background is in sustainable fashion, so this idea of “what is sustainable?” is something I grapple with every day. Recently the Holy Spirit has been challenging me on how sustainability overflows into our lives. After much thought and prayer, I’ve broken it down into six key areas that I feel lead to living a life of sustainable demands.

1. Less “Yes” more “No” - without the guilt: saying “no” is a good thing. Saying “no” and not being pummelled with guilt afterwards is even better. When we learn to listen to our body, our minds and more importantly, the Spirit, we learn to operate out of self-care so that we can care for others.

2. Less freedom, more boundaries: I realise this sounds a little strange but the reality is that you can’t be everything to everyone. Listen to the Holy Spirit and allow His guiding hands to help you put healthy boundaries in place. Boundaries are good and a necessary part of maintaining a sustainable life.

3. Less me, more others: We are inherently self-centred beings, so serving others provides perspective. The easiest way to do this is in every day life- stop and give way to that car, help that person with their shopping bags, lift the pram for that young mum, have that 10 minute conversation with the old man who just sat next to you, smile at that person in the lift. Spread kindness around like confetti, you never know whose day you’ll make with the simplest of gestures.

4. Less fast, more slow: Living a life of sustainable demands means stepping out of the fast pace we exist in. This means taking the foot off the accelerator and getting back to some basics. For example, if you get a small tear in your garment, take five minutes and repair it. Not only does this task require you to stop but the sense of satisfaction afterwards is so rewarding. Start a small herb garden or put the clothes out on the line rather than the dryer. All these things bring a sense of pace and control to your life.

5. Less crowd, more space: Your relationships aren’t a task to complete. Relationships need space to flourish and grow. Create space in your day for your family, work, spouse, etcetera, and when you’re in that space, be fully present. This means phone down or off. Keep your spaces separate and by doing this you’ll keep them sacred.

6. Less doing, more being: To truly live a life of sustainable demand requires us to be connected to the one Who sustains us. The rest of the list simply won’t work unless you’re plugged into the ultimate Life Source. We can often get caught in the habit of doing for Jesus rather than being with Jesus. Instead of focusing on doing, try simply being for a while, it’s amazing how clearly we can hear the Lord speak to us when we stop doing and start being.

The second part of 2018 doesn’t have to be a repeat of the craziness from the beginning of 2018. It can be a season where “No” becomes a good word, boundaries are found, your service to others becomes second nature, you learn to slow down, create sacred spaces and ultimately learn to live a life of sustainable demand through strength found in the one Who sustains us.

Neri Morris is director of Thread Harvest, an ethical online fashion marketplace, and a writer/speaker.