November 17, 2009

The Struggle For Simplicity

Struggling for simplicity is something I've done a lot of lately. Perhaps you can relate. It almost seems that:

"Life is one long struggle to disinter oneself, to keep one's head above the accumulations, the ever deepening layers of objects which attempt to cover one over, steadily, almost irresistibly, like falling snow."- Rose Macaulay

In retrospect I often experience something that is much more like the sensation of an "avalanche" in my life. Yet I can't help but wonder if a struggle of such magnitude is meant to continue all of life's days? Somehow I don't believe it is.

It seems so cruel to me that life would be so smothering; not unlike a huge snowdrift from which we can never shovel out. Just because someone has said it--doesn't mean it's Gospel truth.

God created us as simple being. The Bible says that we were made with the purpose of glorifying Him. That doesn't sound overwhelming, in and of itself, to me when I read it.

Walking it out--well that seem to be an entirely different "beast." But should it be? Since He is forever the same it seems that we've shifted or changed in such a way as to make things more complex than they should ever be.

"God made man simple, but how he changed and got complicated is hard to say."- Johann von Goethe

The problem is not with God it's with us. We've bought the lies that bigger is better and more is meaningful. In truth it is quite the opposite.
 
"Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.- Anonymous"
 
So how do we lighten the load? What do we do with all of the extra baggage we've accumulated over the years physically, emotionally, & spiritually?

Those are questions for which I don't have all the answers but I do know the One Who does. He is willing to share them, at no charge to us, if only we'll ask with ears ready to listen and a heart to receive truth.
 
"If you need wisdom ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking." James 1:5

One of the things that I love about Abba Father is that as many times as we a questions He never rebukes us for asking another one. Unlike us He is not quickly frazzled or easily annoyed. He understands our humanity. Our frailties. Our inability to comprehend  and or retain truth. But He keeps on working with us.

"The trouble about man is twofold. He cannot learn truths which are too complicated; he forgets truths which are too simple."- Dame Rebecca West

How grateful I am to know that I'm a work in progress. God is very patient with me as at times I am a slow learner. Even simple truths at times are hard for me to grasp.

During my quest for simplicity, which remains ongoing, God has sent answers to me. One came in the form of a book that I read and reviewed recently for NavePress. It was "a simply profound study of what it means to live a God-paced life." How perfect that it landed right in my hands since I'm all for SIMPLE these days.

Here's more from my review on the book:

"Best selling author Cynthia Heald’s newest book “Becoming a Woman of Simplicity” seeks to answer questions that often plague the human mind. “Can life in this multitasking, instantaneous, technologically driven age be tamed? Is it possible to live unpretentiously in a world that clamours for constant conversation? In other words is it possible to live simply?”

To all of these questions Heald resoundingly answers “yes.” With the grace of a seasoned learner she goes on to “unpack”, over the course of 11 chapters/lessons, how to become more simplistic. She explains that true simplicity comes from within.

We cannot change the pace of this world but we can change the way in which we respond to it. Instead of continuing to multi-task Heald explains the importance of becoming single-minded. When we become wholly focused on Christ and develop a God-paced life we often find essentials that are missing from our driven world. Things like: gentleness, quietness, rest, contentment, and peace.

Using quotes from powerful voices of the past and present, personal experience, and practical application each chapter of this book brings the reader further toward their quest for peace and rest.

The insights shared in the form of “thoughts from an older woman” drip with wisdom from the heart of someone who has already made the journey.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is perfect for individual or small group study. Those who choose to follow it closely may very well find it to be one of the most transformational books of their lives."

"Any intelligent fool can invent further complications, but it takes a genius to retain, or recapture, simplicity." E.F. Schumacher
 
In my opinion Cynthia Heald's takes a genius approach to the subject of simplicity. With the holidays just around the corner do yourself a little far. Buy yourself a copy of this book along with one for a friend. Plan a study at the beginning of 2010. You won't regret it. It may be a great start to a year that is simply life-changing.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Melinda, I'm so glad you found your way to Heart Choices. I couldn't sleep so I was posting my Wednesday post when your comment came up. I found myself nodding in agreement with this post. I too crave simplicity. Maybe it's our age as I too have been married to my Greg for 25 years. But I loved this sentence especially: "We cannot change the pace of this world but we can change the way in which we respond to it." That's something I stress on Heart Choices often.

So glad I "met you".

Blessings,
Debbie

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