For whatever reason, life as a kid seemed so…well, simple. I grew up in the Midwest surrounded by a long-lineage of farmers. Some of my favorite childhood memories were planting potatoes and picking strawberries alongside my grandmother, mom, aunt, and cousins. From farm to table, we would cook down the berries, making our own jam. I could run off and play with the new-born kittens and endlessly pick dandelions from the lawn. The warmth of the sun quickly made my cheeks rosy, only to be cooled down by a gentle wind. Our weekends were not stuffed with sporting and school activities, but rather fulfilling untroubled by simplicity.
But somewhere along the way, my life has become packed to the brim. Frequently, I hear women saying, “I am so tired and weary. I wish my life would slow down.” And it makes me wonder…Why do we live life in such a frenzy? We pile our calendar with school duties, extra-curricular activities, social outings, and work commitments. Many of us end up living life in zombie mode, barely expressing any passion as we go. But in God’s Word, we are told that “He restoreth our souls” (Psalm 23:3). Are any of you in need of some restoring?
Our souls make up the innermost part of us. In Genesis 2:7, “the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature [or soul].” The word soul comes from the Hebrew word nephesh meaning life, desire, passion and emotion. Our souls will last for eternity and are the part of us that celebrates communion with God Himself. Only God Himself can completely restore.
Maybe you find your soul uneasy due to a recent difficulty. Or possibly you feel anxious about an upcoming change. Perhaps you find yourself struggling to sleep as your mind keeps you busy. And it could be, you need to slow down.
Simplifying life doesn’t have to be complicated. It simply means living a more-balanced life with Jesus as the center of your focus. Taking Him with you as your journey along…by reading His Word, praying and staying in touch, and finding others to encourage you along the way.
And yet..I hear you screaming at the top of your lungs, “I’ve already tried all of that…and it just isn’t working for me!” Failed experimenters leave the church because it isn’t making them happy. Upset church-going types get fed up with this so-called blessing of “peace and contentment” and begin to doubt if it ever could be so. Dried up prayers leave us vulnerably feeling like we are so done with reading the Bible and shooting off prayers.
What if the answer was held right there in God’s Word? What if everything you have been looking for was there all along?
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39 ESV
Sacrificial living is the key. In order to live simply, we must pick up our cross and follow after Him. We may have to give away some of our clogged up clutter and say “no” to a really good thing. We might have to complain less and stop comparing ourselves with the neighbor next door. We should consider spending more time doing things that have eternal value. And in the end, you may discover you didn’t really lose a thing.
If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me. Matthew 10:39 MSG
What secrets have you discovered in simplifying life? How do you live a life that truly matters?