Those that know me would tell you I’m a bit of an organizer freak. My favorite household tool is a label maker. In my world everything has a place and every place has a label! You have no idea the lengths I’ve gone to to organize my life.
I’m quite certain that I picked up the hobby of scrapbooking just to be able to organize all of the little embellishments that came along with the habit. I would spend an hour just getting ready to do something. I don’t scrapbook any longer.
A few years ago I hit my pinnacle when I joined an online web-group to help me organize my home. I was a new mom and new wife and who in that situation can’t use a little help. They helped me make lists. And I had a list for everything! What day to clean the living room, what day to clean the bedroom, what I was making for dinner every day, what I was going to wear every day…just kidding…not really but it’s just getting embarrassing. I really did have a list of morning chores and a list of evening chores, both of which included “Brush Teeth,” just in case I forgot I guess.
I had books, magazines, watched TV shows, you name it. If it was about getting my life in order I was going to order it! My plan was foolproof! Except of course for the fool that that looked me in the mirror every day.
Every one of these things were meant to make my life easier, more streamlined, and running like a well oiled machine, all for the sake of Simplicity. But the problem was I had no idea what simplicity was. I saw the life that they sold on the front of the magazines and in the books and on the shows and I bought it, hook line and sinker.
But as Richard Foster stated in his book Celebration of Discipline (great book by the way) “Our aim is the freedom, not the discipline.”
Over the next few years (yes I’m a slow learner) I would learn that simplicity is not learning to “streamline” the already chaotic life I had, it was to change the chaos to clam. I was not going to find simplicity in making never-ending lists; it would only be found by taking the things off that list that did not matter. No amount of technology on our computers, blackberries or iPhones will help us find simplicity. It will be found when we put down our devices and pick up silence. When we choose wisely where we spend our time, money and gifts intentionally and when we truly seek first the kingdom of God.
I believe that we as Christians are called to a life of simplicity. A simple life (or as the scripture called it in the last blog – plain path) is one that has margin. Margin is freedom. When we have margin in our time we have freedom. When we have margin in our budgets, we have freedom. When we have margin in our homes (free of clutter, aka “stuff”), we have freedom. And the list goes on…
This is only my second blog and I can see that I’m losing some of you already. You’re rolling your eyes and thinking “Oh, great, she’s just going to tell us to get rid of some stuff, to stop doing so much, and blah, blah, blah….” You’re right! I am, because there is just no other way. In fact we’ll go a step beyond that and we’ll talk about solitude, what I believe is the heart of simplicity and in which you’ll find an abundance of freedom.
I’m not all that far down the road of the plain path but I can tell you that the scenery is already changing and it’s glorious…It feels free.
Is there anything in your life right now you are doing for the sake of simplicity but in all honesty it’s just keeping you bound and stealing your freedom? Pray over it this week and consider with God your course of action.
For those of you who have felt the freedom of letting go I’d love to hear from you and I’m sure the others on the blog would benefit from your ideas.
What is your enemy today? Is it possible that your only enemy today is busyness? Do you have more to do than this day will allow? Or are you quite the opposite; your path today is “plain” and that is your enemy? Do you know that given no unusual circumstances, today is no extraordinary day, the list of chores that no one will notice seems daunting and boring.
I believe that most of us run from Simplicity because we equate it with boring. We can’t see how we can have a simple life and a fulfilling life all at the same time. We have no vision of how an exciting life full of fulfilling moments can package itself in a simple life.
Do we fear that the quiet time we have when life becomes simple leaves us too much time to be taunted by the demons we are running from in our busyness. Or is our busyness born from our desire for things that require us to run to a life filled with an endless list of “to do’s”?
This simple life goes against all our culture is trying to breed in us. It’s against the grain of our fast paced, me centered, stuff worshipping, want it all yesterday lifestyle. Our world does not sell us on “less is more,” the only thing that is more, is MORE. More things, more debt, more house, more education at any expense, more, more, more. “More” promises us happiness but the only thing we really receive is more stress, more divorce, more kids without parents, more debt, more medications, more lives out of control.
You say “I want a simple life, I just don’t know how to get there”…You are not alone. I am still working through this and plan to for the rest of my life. But I would love to have some company on my journey.
“Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.”Psalm 27:11