More vs Less.
MORE has always been viewed as good and worth pursuing. We always want more of anything and everything. We’re not satisfied with just enough.
LESS on the other hand, sounds condescending and like a dirty word. When we hear the word less regardless of the context, our natural response is to think that, it’s not good.
Like us, our kids have somehow caught the idea, that more is better. Just like the old saying, “The more, the merrier!” With three children who are 5 yo and under, I’m constantly bombarded with requests for MORE. More toys, playtime, activities, food and a never-ending list of wants.
It’s no surprise that our culture views attaining more as success. All around us, everyone seems to be striving for more. More possessions, achievements, accolades, wealth, power, social media followers, activities for our kids, commitments and so much more.
We live with the false perception that more is meaningful or that it brings happiness. So, it’s definitely uncommon to hear someone say that they want less.
If attaining more brought happiness, then why are some very successful people still unhappy?
In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon the wisest ruler that ever lived, makes a profound statement that is true even in our day and age. He had attained wisdom, knowledge, wealth, power, never denying himself of any pleasure and everything he wanted in life, but he says, “it was all meaningless.”
“What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 2:22-23
The Price We Pay for More.
Too much of anything is not good. This is true. Sometimes pursuing more of one thing can come at the cost of something else.
As a wife and mom, the pressure to attain more success by doing more, working more, stretching myself too thin to the point of complete exhaustion and burnout, almost cost my life, a failed marriage, a broken family and the things that were truly meaningful to me.
This was too high of a price to pay. And for the very first time, I realized that less was indeed better.
When our schedules are full of too many commitments. Our days are busy and hectic. And life is crazy and out of control, we are way beyond our capacity to function at our best.
We are depleted, empty and at our worst. We are on edge and vulnerable to making poor decisions without thinking about the long-term repercussions of making premature decisions under pressure. Which could potentially affect not only us, but our family and loved ones for the rest of our lives. Jeopardizing the very things that we value most.
When Less Means More.
When is enough really enough? When do we become content with what we have rather than unsatisfied? If happiness isn’t found in attaining more, then could it be found in less?
King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:26 says, “To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.”
In Psalm 127:2, he says, “It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.”
So, could less actually mean more? Less commitments, less work, less busyness, less rush, less activities, less noise.
Doing less takes off the pressure and stress from an overloaded schedule. And creates more room for us to truly enjoy the more meaningful things in our lives.
Doing less, gives us more bandwidth and the margin to think more clearly and creatively, be more productive, more efficient and function at our best capacity.
Settling for less could mean more quality time with loved ones. More time to invest in deep relationships, with God and others. To be content with what we have. To find joy in the simple things. To slow down, pause, rest and reflect. To take note of the meaningful in the mundane and savor the beautiful moments we have with the ones we love. This is what brings deep joy and true happiness.
Susan Egbe-Tanyi, MD is a board-certified family medicine physician. She is also the founder of Empowered Women Faith Club, where she writes to empower women to live confidently knowing who they are as daughters of God and encourages weary moms to find strength in God through the journey of motherhood. She is a wife, mother of three treasured kids, a passionate follower of Christ, lover of nature and a servant at heart. She practices medicine in North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and three children.