had been talking about Simplicity in Sunday School for several weeks, using
Richard Fosters book. And while ALan was away I decided that I would use
the evenings alone to do some extra studying and praying and I did some
more studying through the chapter on Simplicity again. And then Alan came
home filled with stories about the people and their lives in Ventanilla.
God has been speaking to my heart through all of this.
stories of Gracia and her family have really caused me to think about
the THINGS that we have. Our houses are filled with THINGS.
are always wanting more THINGS...we are never satisfied with
THINGS we have. Now I don't think that having THINGS is
But I think that our attitudes about our THINGS can be wrong.
our minds are consumed with our THINGS and with the puruit of
THINGS, than our minds cannot be open to God's voice.
of this has caused me to think about SIMPLICITY. I want to
my life...I don't want THINGS to get in the way of my
communication with the Lord.
Penelon said, "When we are truly in this interior simplicity our whole
appearance is franker, more natural. This true simplicity...makes us conscious
of a certain openness, gentleness, innocence, gaiety, and serenity, which
is charming when we see it near to and continually, with pure eyes. O,
how amiable this simplicity is! Who will give it to me? I leave all for
this. It is the Pearl of the Gospel."
here in the United States flies by at light speed. How often do we hear
"Time really flies!!" or "Theres never enough hours in my day!"?
pack our schedules so full that it's near impossible to make every appointment
and remain sane. We think we're making our children happy when we sign
them up for sports teams, music lessons, gymnastics and horseback riding.
We think we cannot survive with any less than 2 incomes in the family,
we're not a "good mom" unless we're on the PTA, bake cookies for every
Bake Sale and hand-sew each years Recital Costumes.
we're too busy to find happiness in the relationships in our lives we think
we'll find "True Happiness" if we buy the newest ATV on the market, park
a boat in the garage (we never have time to go to the lake), only buy the
kids the "name brand" sneakers and jeans, and play the stock market on-line.
we never take time to relax and refresh "self" we think we can only look
our best if we have our nails sculpted every week, our "boobs" filled with
silicone, and take "Herbal-Who-Knows-What" in an attempt to look like the
lady on the magazine covers.
we're on this mad rush, do we really have the time to "Be still and know
that I am God"? When was the last time you(I) really heard His voice? Do
our prayers usually consist of rushed "laundry lists" of the things we
NEED or WANT?
the Sunday Morning church service the most scripture you hear or read in
a weeks time?
remember that this is all things that I have asked myself in the past several
weeks. I am not being judgemental...I am giving you a glimpse inside my
wonder what my life would be like if I put the same effort and energy into
growing close to the Lord that I have spent on the pursuit of "True Happiness"
through getting more, doing more, saying more?
would happen if I actually stopped attempting to work out every problem
in my own power and I give it over to God and take my hands off of it completely?
Richard Fosters book he writes, "simplicity
is freedom. Duplicity is bondage. Simplicity brings joy and balance. Duplicity
brings anxiety and fear."
That's my life! Bondage, anxiety, fear!!
made man simple; man's complex problems are of his own devising"
verse speaks volumes.
Alan's journal that he kept on his trip to Peru he shared about the "lesson"
that the Lord had shared with him. Here in the U.S. our STRESS is the "Stress
of Luxury". Things like payments/bills for expensive houses, cars, credit
card debt, busy schedules, greed, etc. The people of Ventanilla are happy,
peaceful people. Yet most of them have almost nothing. THey live a simple
life. The Lord provides them with food to satisfy their hunger...even though
it may not be steaks or Fast Food or "junk food". They have shelter...even
though it's not a new condominium or a 200,000 dollar home. They live within
their means. They don't know they're "poor" because they've never had any
we can never seem to HAVE enough or to DO enough!
of the trials in our lives are of our own making.
had a discussion with my girls a few days ago. In an attempt to spare them
some of the frustration and stress that I have experienced in my life I
talked with them about what truly matters in our lives. All the stesses
and problems that we deal with in our life...those are not the "building
blocks" that we should use to build our lives. Those things are just "stuff"
that we have to deal with on this earth.
we should not allow them to cloud our vision from what really matters.
should build our days and weeks and years with "building blocks" created
from the relationships in our lives...taking the time to watch our small
child at play, to really look into the eyes of our child when they're talking
to us, appreciate the sound of their voice, spend some quiet moments on
the porch swing with our spouse, let the yard work and the laundry go one
Saturday and pack a picnic and take our family to the park or the lake,
get away from the phone and the mail and really listen to the sound of
our family's laughter, take a day to spend some special time with a Grandparent
that you usually don't have time for, spend a few bucks on a long-distance
phone call to an old friend that you've not spoken with in years, take the
time to REALLY look at God's creation...appreciate each petal of a flower,
the intricacy of a bumble bee, the smell of rain.
are the things that REALLY make a Life
tires, past-due bills, spilled milk, rude check-out clerks, business meetings...
these are all things that don't matter. Don't let them block your view!
says, "The Christian Discipline of simplicity
is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style.
Both the inward and the outward aspects of simplicity are essential. We
deceive ourselves if we believe we can possess the inward reality without
it's having a profound effect on how we live. And to attempt to arrange
an outward life-style of simplicity without the inward reality leads to
the inward reality liberates us outwardly.
becomes truthful and honest.
lust for status and position is gone because we no longer need them.
cease from showy extravagance not on the grounds of being unable to afford
it, but on the grounds of principle.
goods become available to others.
personally... I really think that "Real Life" has been passing me by while
I have been blinded by the exhaustion that comes with DOING too much, the
worry and greed that comes with HAVING too much and the dissatisfaction
that comes with WANTING too much.
now that God has revealed all this to me I have 2 choices:
can wallow in regret and shame for what "could have been"
can BEGIN to make changes in my life... to do better from this moment on.
want to really LISTEN to my girls, look them in the eye, listen to the
beautiful sound of their laughter, take the time to comfort their adolescent
hearts before this season of their lives is gone.
time for "Dates" and Quiet Moments with my husband. I want to remember
the love and the "spark" that started this FAMILY
want to treasure each moment spent with someone I love and I want to make
sure there are more of those moments.
want to learn the difference between WANT and NEED
want to be a BLESSING to someone everyday
want to make time to Listen for god's voice everyday
want to give more of myself
want to look for the beauty in the world around me
want to always remember the "glass is ALWAYS half FULL"!! :o)
so long, my life has been ruled by worry and stress. This has stolen my
ability to enjoy life. But recently the Lord revealed to me something:
presence of TRUE PEACE=COMPLETE TRUST IN GOD
presence of Trust means the absence of fear
presence of trust means the presence of peace
any situation, if worry or stress is present, then I am not fully trusting
in the Lord. Which means my FAITH is not as strong as it should be.
God who created the Universe can surely handle ANY situation I could ever
face. He does NOT need my help to work it out!
Foster said, "simplicity is freedom. Duplicity
is bondage. Simplicity brings joy and balance. Duplicity brings anxiety
security should lie in nothing but the Lord Jesus.
should not come from a weekly paycheck, a padded bank account, another
human being, a house...nothing but the Lord.
love what Foster had to say about this:
need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things.
really must understand that the Lust for affluence in contemporary society
is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with
crave things we neither need nor enjoy.
buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like.
psychosis permeates even our mythology. The modern hero is the poor boy
who purposefully becomes rich rather than the rich boy who purposefully
we call ambition.
we call prudence.
we call industry.
can't help but feel that if we remove our insatiable need to have more
and bigger and better THINGS, this would change so much in our lives.
would not have the need for 2 or 3 or more incomes in every family.
would free up more time to spend with our family and friends.
would be less rushed and less stressed.
have more time to spend with the Lord, allowing for more spiritual growth.
I am not saying that it's wrong to have THINGS. Even God intends for us
to have "adequate material provision."
Remember, He has promised "Life more abundantly".And for someone to piously
get rid of everything they own, this would be pure legalism. It has nothing
to do with what we have but everything to do with how we think...what holds
#1 priority in our lives. We need to consider the fact that some of that
"abundance" God mentioned can be found in the relationships with the people
we love, quiet time spent with Him, or in the beauty of His creation
Foster summarized it well: "The Spiritual
discipline of simplicity provides the needed perspective. Simplicity sets
us free to receive the provision of God as a gift that is not ours to keep
and can be freely shared with others."
hope that some of this has made sense for you.
me it has been as if someone finally turned the light on in a dark room.
think that what it all boils down to is this:
relationship with Jesus should be the #1 Priority in our lives.
we do or say in our lives should be measured in the ole' "WWJD Test"
Would Jesus Do?" (or say?)
He is #1 in our lives then everything else will fall into place in his
of our prayers should be for God to help us to simplify our lives...
that we can be thankful for what we have, generous with all that we have
been blessed with, and we will find our greatest joy in the moments spent
with those we love. Because other than that...
else really matters.