Simply - The Best Way Forward
The ‘Simple Life’! What does it mean? What does it cost me? Where does it take me? On a road to freedom? On a new path to happiness? On an adventure of a lifetime?
I’ve just spent a few minutes, checking the dictionary definition of the word ‘simple’. Here are the first 3 definitions I found. 1. Easy – to be done quickly and without much effort, 2. Lacking decoration or embellishment and 3. Not complex – made up of only one part of element. These definitions helped me understand something of what simple living is all about. Uncluttered. Not complex. Without any frills.
What interests me in the simple life is not the practical aspect (although that too) but especially its core. Over the past few years, I have been on the road to enjoying a ‘simple’ lifestyle in certain aspects of my life. No – I don’t live in an empty house. No – I don’t do away with luxuries. Yes, I do go to the shops and splurge some money now and then.
What then have I aspired to and reached in my search for a simple life?
I like to think of the simple life as something that begins deep within my being. A way of looking at life. A life that begins in the heart. An uncluttered heart. A childlike heart. A life that seizes each moment as it comes. A life that doesn’t take on unnecessary baggage. A life that lives in freedom.
My simple life began 38 years ago, when I found life that included Grace, Forgiveness and Love. What an awesome discovery it was! Life began afresh for me because of the death and resurrection of Jesus; because of the amazing, free gift of of eternal life He offered me. It was a brand new beginning. 38 years on, I am still learning. Still growing. Still striving towards attaining this simple life, with the guidance and help of God’s Holy Spirit who dwells within me and who in fact indwells all who follow Him.
I have worked out a few guidelines to enjoying such a life. And these I share with you today. Not that I have achieved it. But this is the kind of life I aspire to live and breathe.
Firstly, a simple life for me means having the freedom to live life not to please others but to be authentic to myself and to the God I believe in. At the centre of it is my relationship with Him – all else flows very naturally from that. Secondly, it means not cluttering my life unnecessarily. It means saying ‘No’ whenever I need to say it. A simple life includes lots of time each day spent in solitude, so I can nourish my soul with God and His word. The all important Quiet Time is the fuel for my simple life.
Following a simple life means doing things that bring fulfilment to my heart and joy to my spirit and of course it has to include blessing others. The simple lifestyle means laughing often (especially at myself), getting sufficient rest and sleep, drinking plenty of cold fresh drinking water; eating wholesome food; spending quality time with family and friends. The simple life also finds time to stop a moment to admire the splash of sunset colours or to sit quietly on my garden swing, communing with my Creator. It means that everything I do is a part of a life filled with gratitude, praise and wonder.
The simple life means I ensure my relationships are not complicated. That I aspire to be a loving wife and mother, a caring daughter, an affectionate sister, a good friend, an ever learning and ever growing disciple of Jesus. It means I reach towards integrity of purpose and integrity of character. That I say what I mean and mean what I say. That I carry out my promises. The simple life includes child likeness. Living intensely in the present. Letting go of past failures. Forgiving others and also forgiving myself. Embracing change. Doing something for the child in me every day.
The simple life helps me to appreciate everything – the clear fresh air around me; the sound of the birds, the love and affection of my spouse; my son’s engaging smile; a ‘normal’ day as an exciting, happy day that’s pregnant with possibilities. It helps me stop and gaze at a flower by the wayside. It helps me wonder each time I see the night sky and marvel at the millions of stars that twinkle in the darkness. It teaches me to let go – not to carry the burden of others’ sins. Or mine.
Not a collector of hurts. Instead, a collector of joy!
And so, the simple lifestyle makes me appreciate things that don’t have monetary value over things that do. Creation, good health, friendship, sleep, a new day, love, laughter are appreciated as far more precious than houses, lands, cars or jewels. It makes me grateful for everything money cannot buy as opposed to be constantly striving towards accumulating possessions. The simple life means contentment deep within me for life as it is in the present moment, no matter what I am going through.
The simple lifestyle teaches me to listen well and listen truly. To be there for others. To allow time in my schedule to be disturbed when others need me. To not tarnish my heart and mind with violence, envy or selfish desires. To seek God’s help in being pure. To be disciplined. To be kind. To stand up against injustice when needed – although that could complicate life. To do so with God’s perspective and His leading, leaving the outcome to Him.
The simple lifestyle involves being organised – with things in their proper places (mostly) – so I can find them when needed. To buy what I need and to not accumulate things I do not need. (I think I need to work on that more!) To give generously. To care generously too. To not be anxious about things I can’t control. To hand them over to God instead. To say ‘No’ when I need to and ‘Yes’ when I can. To be a faithful steward over the blessings I enjoy each day – my Time, my Talents and my Treasures.
The simple lifestyle means I remember than less is often more. That I allow God to be God and I remain His child – in the way I view life; and especially in the way that I trust Him. Implicitly. As a child who’s placed her hand in Her Father’s Hand and is deeply secure in the knowledge that He will take care of her. The simple life is displayed in the ways I accept and adapt to change. In how I obey and please my Father God.