Monday, April 29, 2013

Discipline of Simplicity


It has become somewhat of a buzz word for many of us in the bloggisphere the last few years. I think it's largely because we all love the idea of making things more simple, I think we all crave a little more simplicity in our lives.

This blog was largely due to my desire to embrace a form of simplicity all those years ago. My bible study, Everything You Need (currently out to publishers, fingers crossed!) was really inspired by a desire for the more simple life. So, I felt like when I started reading Foster's take on simplicity in Celebration of Discipline I shouldn't have been surprised by what I found there. I was a bit more surprised and challenged than I thought I would be.

I have considered simplicity to be something that I did purposefully to make room for the things that should be the most important in my life. It includes getting rid of things, organizing my home and schedule, learning to say no to things and creating a hard line of priorities that I direct my daily tasks. I think it is those things, still.

Foster, however puts a God-spin on the concept when he challenges that godly simplicity is to seek God first.  Seek God more than stuff, more than acquiring wealth, more than reputation, more than a job, more than a nice car, more than an image, more than security, more than ...anything.

To seek God and his Kingdom first means that we weigh everything on a scale of worthiness. Is our pursuit of wealth, achievement and more stuff worthy of the Kingdom of God? Do we have the time, money, energy or desire to do what the Kingdom of God asks of us?

I know for me as I learn to incorporate these spiritual disciplines into my life my biggest struggle is finding the time to do it. I want to practice mediation, study and prayer but I struggle with finding the energy, motivation and resources to make it happen. A lifestyle of simplicity allows us the resources to make it happen.

If we were to, for example, look at our schedules be brutally honest about which things are helping to advance God's Kingdom and which are not, I wonder what we would find? What if we asked ourselves how God would have us spend our money, or be entertained? If we are seeking God first, and we were willing to take another step what things would we let go of?

Would our schedules change? Would our spending shift from more for ourselves to giving to others? Would we consider more carefully what we were entertained by, what we studied on a day in and day basis through that entertainment?

We can just think of simplicity as just organizing and decluttering, or we can look at those things as ways to free up resources for the life God has for us. The implications are eternal, but the rewards are very much for the here and now.

What kind of changes would you be willing to make in order to live a life of simplicity for his sake?

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