06 February 2009

Embracing Simplicity

Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have; for He has said "I will never fail you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)

Being content with what you have can be a difficult thing to accomplish. Even those with abundance can lack contentment, especially if their identity depends on their material possessions. Right now I'm on the other end--I have just enough to survive and am learning to do what I can with what I have.

Having a tight budget makes me think twice before I buy something. It makes me more conscious of what food I get at the grocery store. It narrows the perception of needs and wants. But I am learning contentment.

Embracing simplicity is the best course of action during these challenging times. But I'm not just referring to limiting material possessions. To simplify means to cut away the excess and find the essentials. To rise above the noise and the clutter; to embrace what is pure.

Giving up all material possessions and living off the land will not necessarily simplify life. It could complicate things. What I'm recommending is a change in attitude and action. Encounter life more directly, immediately, and first-hand. If you are directly in touch with life, you will discover how little you actually need.

As you come to appreciate the wonders in the world that God made and the people He put in your life, you will discover that luxuries don't truly enhance your life, but can also complicate it. Wouldn't you rather have a life that is clearer, more direct, less pretentious, and less complicated?

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Simplification helps remove anxiety. I've found that I pray less and less for things and more for people and situations. In other words, my spiritual life is less cluttered. I spend more time thanking God for simple things like beautiful sunsets and new friends.

But I say, walk in the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

Our Lord admonished us to deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow Him. When the clutter and distractions are removed you will see what that cross is: the mission that only you can accomplish. Once we turn off the noise, we can hear that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit speak to us.

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