Keeping life simple and why you should care.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Keep It Simple Stupid.” But in this day and age, it seems almost impossible to find simplicity in life. We are continually being pulled in twenty different directions and couldn’t be further from living a simple life if we tried.

What is Simplicity?

Simplicity is the state, quality or condition of being easy to understand or do. Freedom from complexity.

Simplistic living doesn’t mean we can’t sign the kids up for soccer, join the PTO, take on additional assignments at work, regularly volunteer at church, or get more done around the house. Simplistic living boils down to asking yourself the following five questions and building rest and reflection into your weekly schedule.

  1. Who do I want to become?
  2. What obstacles are preventing me from becoming who I want to be?
  3. Is my current state of busyness temporary or long-term?
  4. What’s the best schedule for me?
  5. Are you remembering the 4th commandment by keeping the Sabbath?

If your goal is to go back to college and get a degree, to be a better parent, to climb the corporate ladder, or be a man after God’s own heart, your goal won’t materialize if you are chasing the wrong things. Your daily pursuits need to reflect what you want to become and be in balance with your other commitments. If your two-hour a day TV habit is preventing you from reading your textbooks, spending time with your children, or getting your work done then TV watching is an obstacle that needs to be managed.

As you go through the different phases of life, complications will surely follow. As they do, it is important to recognize whether it is a long-term or short-term situation. Often, knowing the difficulty may be going away soon, (for example meeting a deadline at work), can help reduce the stress. However, a more active approach may be required to either manage the obstacle or eliminate if it is going to be long-term.

Everyone has a different threshold of what they can and cannot do in a day or the amount of stress they can handle. It is essential to understand what your limit is and be able to manage your day-to-day operations, so you don’t skip over the fundamental things or let your stress get out of control. If you feel like life is over-complicated and you are missing out on what’s truly important, then I strongly encourage you to take a good look at where your time is going and if you are pursuing those things that are the most meaningful.

Building rest and reflection into your schedule will work wonders on keeping you focused and replenishing your energy. Spending time with God, rest, and reflection are typically the first things to go when our lives get too busy. They are the most important! Stand your ground and let go of the less critical to-dos.

The Dark Side of Simplicity

You can’t address making life simple without taking into account the dark-side. Proverbs has much to say about the subject; I am referring to being simple-minded, simplistic thinking, black and white thinking, or foolishness. Over the years, many of us old dogs don’t want to learn new tricks. We have an answer for everything, and our response is 99.9% of the time the right one. The problem with this is… we’re wrong, yep, wrong. We don’t have all the answers, and it is likely we never will. God does want us to be intelligent, and He wants us to balance our mind with our heart.

Our spiritual journey isn’t a quick fix. It is a long bumpy road with many ups and downs. I know in the past, I have over-complicated my relationships with others and with God. A huge part about simplifying our lives is to let GO! Let go of the pain, regret, pride, bitterness, hatred, guilt, etc. and accept the fact you aren’t perfect, no one is. Be patient with one another because we are all sinners, but we are all forgiven saints living a life of mystery filled with grace.

Take the opportunity to simplify your life by examining what truly is important to you. Simplify your relationship by loving as Christ loved and use Jesus as an example when dealing with other people. Be honest with yourself, focus on your spiritual journey, and don’t complicate matters with simplistic black and white thinking.