Thursday, December 31, 2009

Simplicity

"God made man simple; man's complex problems are of his own devising." Ecclesiastes 7:30 JB

As we come to the end of a year and begin a new one, people always begin to think about a resolution. What will they resolve to do this year, what will they really do this year that they weren't able to see through to the finish last year, what changes do they need to make this year in lives, lifestyle, thinking, vocation, or families?

I have decided that I don't want to make a resolution this year. They are so easy to break, we usually forget them by the time February comes around, and we feel guilty the day after Christmas when we realize that we haven't done anything on our list. I want a word to live by. I did this last year (my word was declutter- I don't think it's a real word) and found myself thinking back and acting on that word many times throughout the year. As I began to think about the word I wanted to dwell on during 2010, the word simple or simplify kept coming to mind. In some ways to simplify and declutter work hand in hand so maybe I am just building on the thought from last year.

As I was talking to GrandTiti on the phone a month ago (before our recent visit), I had mentioned that I wanted to simplify things in my everyday life that we can somtimes make so complicated. She mentioned that she had a book at her house (Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster) that I could read and look through that talked about simplifying. After reading the chapter on "The Discipline of Simplicity", I thought I would share the major points with you and also see how I can work this into my own life this year.

So many times we think that by getting rid of things we will make our lives more simple, however, simplicity begins in the heart and is evidenced by outward actions. Christ was not complicated at all. He said come as you are, not come with all you have. If we come as we are, we will stand before him with nothing in our hands. So many times we carry around physical, emotional, and even spiritual baggage that weighs us down and keeps us from living a restful, stress-free life. When we realize that He is all we need to truly be satisfied, that is when we have reached what true simplicity is all about.

As part of an upcoming series on this blog, I will be taking the following ten points from the chapter and delving into them in greater depth. I will also be applying these principles to my life and noting the changes that come from choosing the discipline of simplicity.
  1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.
  2. Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
  3. Develop a habit of giving things away.
  4. Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
  5. Learn to enjoy things without owning them. (parks, libraries, beaches)
  6. Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation.
  7. Look with healthy skepticism at all "buy now, pay later" schemes.
  8. Obey Jesus' instructions about plain, honest speech.
  9. Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others.
  10. Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God.

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