Monday, October 18, 2004

Simple Minded

Last night at life group we discussed the spiritual disciplines (prayer, Bible study, meditation, fasting, service, etc.). One of the disciplines that we talked about that we don't often think about is simplicity. To me, simplicity is about editing out the unnecessary things in life that take up time and energy that could be better used in other ways. In this case, ways that relate to drawing closer to God.

Lately I've put myself on a pretty strict budget. I have some long-term financial goals, so that requires me sacrificing some things now in order to save for the future. As I work on my budget, I find myself seeking things and services that I could do without in order to save some money. There's an added benefit to having less--the fewer things I possess, the fewer things I have to worry about. Let's face it, so many times our possessions end up "possessing" us.

Simplifying your life is more than just eliminating certain material things. It can involve cutting out activities as well. Several years ago, I was heavily involved in our then-active singles group, as well as a few other ministries at church. For a while, I had activities nearly every night of the week. I loved it, but eventually reached the burn-out stage and my relationship with God suffered because I substituted all these activities for spending one-on-one time with Him. I needed to simplify my time, so I made the decision to cut out some activities. While I occasionally still have weeks where I'm busy nearly every night, those times are much fewer and farther between, and I've learned to pace myself a lot more. By simplifying my activities, I am much more rested and have more energy to devote to those few activities and ministries with which I'm now involved.

I'm curious as to how others have simplified their lives in order to devote more time and energy to God. How have you done it? What's your key to living a simple life?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As many other women, I tend to be a bit of a multi-tasker. While this may be beneficial in my office, I often find myself at home juggling several different tasks at once without enjoying any of them. More times than I would like to admit, finishing a task becomes more important than the actual experience.

How many times has God whispered in my ear, but I was too focused on cleaning the kitchen? How often have I failed to see the pain and desperation in someone’s eyes as I distractedly contemplated the next task on my mental to do list? When my focus is on the small mundane details, I miss out on so many truly meaningful experiences.

God has called us to rest. Jesus repeatedly took time from His ministering to relax and commune with His Father. He knew the benefit of quiet reflection and stillness. I believe times of rest can refresh us spiritually and emotionally. I truly believe we will seek the closeness of our God and share Him with the people around us once we simplify our lives and arrange our priorities in line with God’s.