We complicate our own lives! The more complicated our lives are, the more we have to do, look after, be responsible for etc. The complication that results is not a necessary part of life, but often it is we, ourselves who make it complicated.
As I am learning to rest, the Lord addressed “keeping it simple” in my own life. Ask God to show you where you lack simplicity in your life, and God will surely show you? What God impressed upon me was that much of my tiredness and exhaustion was from the bad habit of not keeping it simple in my life.
Here were some of my areas. Stuff! Stuff needs storage, sorting, categorizing. Then on top of that, we spend hours keeping track of our stuff, we pay insurance in case our stuff gets lost and then go to the shops to get more stuff. Paying for storage is one of the biggest trends in the new millennium and my cupboards are bursting.
I also see it in my activities. I want to have a party, but then make it complicated by setting a standard of “Pinterest worthy” for myself. Then a simple chocolate cake, has to be a decorated with twirls, we need fancy decor which now needs to be bought, then party gifts and welcome drinks. Soon it is not a party anymore, but the “event” of the year. No wonder we don’t want to entertain anymore, we make it complicated. Even a dinner is no longer meat and vegetables, it is now a three-course meal with six “Master Chef” cooking techniques used. Plus (read extra) a superbly decorated table and the right music to set the mood.
Even in business, we don’t aim for excellence in just one business, or one bank account, one credit card, one filing cabinet where all our documents are stored. We accumulate assets for the sake of accumulation and status, but don’t necessarily need it all. We just have it.
I had to ask myself if I kept it simple, would it reduce my stress? Our parents did not have complicated lives like ours, what is different?
Do we even realize how much energy goes into NOT keeping it simple?
The problem is that in the world of consumerism (buy one-get two) and feasting (up-size it), a little is never enough. We never actually feel what it feels like, to do with less, to be a little uncomfortable. There is so much available in every area of our lives, so many options, choices, that we never feel what it is like to make do with what you have.
In a world of abundance, simplicity is a rare thing.
In a world of abundance, how does one appreciate a feast, or a blessing.
Simplicity, frugality and contentment are becoming foreign concepts. Yet these three principles seem to be what Jesus, his disciples and the people of God shaped their lives on.
Jesus sending his disciples out to minister encouraged these three principles: (Luke 9:1-5 MSG)
“Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God’s kingdom and heal the sick. He said, “Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment. And no luxury inns—get a modest place and be content there until you leave. If you’re not welcomed, leave town. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and move on.””
Paul also encouraged the Corinthians in this: (1 Cor 7:29-31)
“I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple—in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.”
- How much of what is in your cupboards do you actually use and need? Is it possible that your “extra one” can be a blessing to someone else?
- How much of the assets you own do you actually need? Can you reduce your costs and stress by getting rid of it?
- In your activities, how much are you adding to a task that will not necessarily complete the task faster, more efficiently, more economically?
- When you do something for others, how much are you complicating the task for the sake of impressing, being well thought of, but it will not necessarily add that much to their experience?
- How often do you spend on extra, when you could actually do with less?
- How often do you buy more than you need, cook more than is necessary, try fit more into an hour than you can?
- Do you practice being content with what you have, rather than feeding desires for what you do not have?
- Do you spend on external change, in order to avoid internal change?
Both Paul and Peter practiced a simple way of life with an attitude of simplicity, frugality and contentment:
“Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” (Phil 4:11-13 MSG)
“So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
Keep it Simple, Pimple
Father help me to examine my life and my habits. Help me to develop greater simplicity in my life. Help me to get used to being content with less and having less in order to recognize a blessing. Help me to stick to a task without complicating it with my own personal desires and wants. Teach me to practice simplicity, frugality and contentment as a way of life.