Simplicity

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I’m constantly experimenting with the concept of a “simple life.” I believe our fast-paced, materialistic culture breeds an environment of chaos and dissatisfaction, and we often find ourselves running from one thing to another without any real joy or contentment. Seriously, who wants to live like that? Not me.

And yet, our lives are complicated. As much as we might like to, we often can’t “simplify” complex relationships (unless we begin to disown the people we love), shirk our everyday duties (unless we don’t have a problem wearing dirty clothes or eating McDonald’s three meals a day), or deny the fact that we were created with unique talents that God expects us to use (unless we want to find ourselves in a constant state of inner turmoil). What’s a girl to do?

I used to believe that in order to simplify my life, all I had to do was streamline everything. You know, get organized: schedule myself to the hilt, plan meals a week in advance, keep my house neat with clearly labeled storage containers, and stop overbooking myself–something I used to do all the time. And those things help–to a point. This week the Baarts are feasting on pita pizzas, sweet and sour chicken, shrimp fettuccine, and hot ham and cheese buns, and since the groceries are bought and the meals are ready to go I don’t have to deal with the five o’clock “What’s for supper?” drama. But why do I still feel so busy? Why is my life complicated to a flaw?

Yesterday kicked off a women’s Bible study that I’ve been a part of for years, and the topic we’re covering this semester is simplicity. Biblical simplicity. Know what? I’ve been longing for the simple life for years and I never took the time to really dig into what the Bible has to say about it. What I learned blew my mind.

Biblical simplicity is an advanced spiritual discipline because it requires you to be pretty brutally honest with yourself. It’s not about learning to use a rockin’ day planner or discovering the fine art of saying “no.” It’s about knowing yourself, knowing who you are and who God created you to be and admitting that you have limitations. Time, talent, and skill are not limitless resources. Want to simplify your life? You have to start by asking yourself the question: “Is this really me?”

Wow. I’m still trying to get my head around it. It’s going to be a process, but I’m excited to start. And I think the best place to begin is by asking myself Cindy Caliguire’s pointed questions: How often do I face impossible demands? How often do I desire to be more than I am? How often do I want to have more than I need (or can afford)?

The question that resonates with me the most is: How often do I face impossible demands? A lot. But how do I disentangle myself from all of the things that force me to be someone I’m not? Something tells me that answer will take a long time to unfold. Come back Wednesday for more discussion on the concept of a simple life!

Your turn: Do any of Cindy’s questions hit a nerve with you? Which one? Care to explain?

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