Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Path to Simplicity - What Does that Mean?

Maybe I've been thinking too much here lately. It may be John Piper's fault. Just kidding. But we were listening to one of his sermons Sunday morning while we were getting ready for church, and I was hearing bits and pieces as I was in and out of hearing range. At one point, I heard him talking about the great sense of obligation he feels to be very careful with everything he says because there is the possibility of leading thousands of people astray if he says the wrong thing.

I've been thinking about that, too. I know I don't have a huge number of readers on this blog, but I do know that there are readers, and I would never want to lead anyone astray by my comments or opinions. That's just one of the reasons I quit blogging for a few weeks. I looked back over this blog of about two years and literally cringed at some of the things I've said on here. What was I thinking? But, I realize that's just a part of growing and learning, and merciful days has God been teaching me here lately! I told our pastor it was a bit overwhelming but in a good way.

All that got me to thinking about something else.....so what do I mean by "The Path to Simplicity?" Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the word "simplicity."

Simplicity is a more qualitative word connected to simple. It is a property, condition, or quality which things can be judged to have. It usually relates to the burden which a thing puts on someone trying to explain or understand it. Something which is easy to understand or explain is simple, in contrast to something complicated. In some uses, simplicity can be used to imply beauty, purity or clarity. Simplicity may also be used in a negative connotation to denote a deficit or insufficiency of nuance or complexity of a thing, relative to what is supposed to be required.

The concept of simplicity has been related to truth in the field of epistemology. According to Occam's razor, all other things being equal, the simplest theory is the most likely to be true. In the context of human lifestyle, simplicity can denote freedom from hardship, effort or confusion. Specifically, it can refer to a simple living lifestyle.

Simplicity is a theme in the Christian religion. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, God is infinitely simple. The Roman Catholic and Anglican religious orders of Franciscans also strive after simplicity. Members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) practice the Testimony of Simplicity, which is the simplifying of one's life in order to focus on things that are most important and disregard or avoid things that are least important.

That last sentence says it all - gotta love those Quakers - ****the simplifying of one's life in order to focus on things that are most important and disregard or avoid things that are least important.**** Yes, that's what I'm looking for! I'm not looking for just a simple life, free of problems or issues, resting comfortably in my corner of the world. I want to live the life that Christ wants me to live, and the only way I can truly do it is to avoid the things that interfere.

I trust Christ with my life. I know He chose me before the foundation of the world (Romans 8:29-30). I didn't choose Him - He chose me and loved me before I ever knew who He was. That's the kind of thinking that brings simplicity "without hardship or confusion" - I like that kind of simplicity! And because of that, I can trust Him with every area of my life. I believe that He has a reason for everything that happens - good or bad, but it's up to me to clear the clutter (the unimportant things) from my heart, mind, and home so that I can see how He is working and what He is calling me to do.

Now, I'm glad that's settled. But keep in mind, this is the PATH to simplicity. I'm not there yet. Some days are better than others, but unfortunately, it's too easy to drop off course from time to time. It's usually because I've become focused on those things that are unimportant. I'm thankful my Heavenly Prince (can you tell I've been reading Set-Apart Femininity?) is patient to help me get back on course when that happens.

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