Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you…(1Thessalonians 4:11NIV)
This has been a favorite verse of mine for many years. Even in the throes of five kids at different stages, different schools, in different sports, and a husband who travels for work, I would read this verse and think Yes!! But how is this possible when life is so hectic? Packing for a weekend soccer tournament with your middle daughter while your youngest is in the middle of potty training is tricky. Not to mention the multiple trips to the porta-potty with a 3-year-old (ewww) and while wrestling them to not touch too many things in said porta-potty, you hear the crowd go crazy for the game winning goal for your daughter’s team. Sigh…
Or how about living life during a pandemic when every decision feels like nailing Jell-O to a wall? There’s nothing simple about trying to figure it all out. Should I send my kids to school or do online school? Should I homeschool this year? How can I do that when I have to work? If I have to go back to work, what do I do with my kids? Is it safe to meet a friend for coffee? Go to church? Go to the store?
Or how about job changes, divorce, a diagnosis, retirement, a new baby, an empty nest, a single Mom, a blended family? The list is seemingly endless.
Panic replaces peace.
Juggling replaces joy.
Fear replaces faith.
The simple life? Yeah right. Maybe when I’m 50 and these kids are grown. Or I figure out what I’m doing with my life. Well, I’ve reached that decade and learned a lot since the days of potty training and soccer tournaments. It’s what I want to share with you over the next few weeks.
A simple life doesn’t mean you cut yourself off from everyone and everything. (A six pack and Netflixing may be okay on occasion but it doesn’t equate to a simple life!) The simple life isn’t lived when there are no kids around or in complete silence. Simplicity doesn’t mean that things are always easy, or life is never hard. Simple doesn’t equate with simpleton, as some may think, giving you the image of me in my Carhart’s with a straw hat on my head and a piece of straw with which I pick my teeth…the one’s I still have, at least.
The simple life means so much more.
We live in a world of distractions and multi-tasking. A world in which busy is better and a cluttered calendar equals success. A world where ambition and hustle are awarded and honored. A world that is “on” with 24/7 access to news, articles, videos, information and each other. A culture that creates chaos then wonders why it’s tired and overwhelmed.
In her book Abundant Simplicity author Jan Johnson says, This distracted life is now considered not only normal but optimal. We’re supposed to multitask; if we don’t, we’ll get behind. Simplicity, however, can flow only when we embrace the opposite of distraction: intentionality. (pg 39)
Living a simple life requires the courage to go against the grain of culture, to live intentionally, to evaluate where our ambition lies and what it’s doing to our souls. Living a simple life means slowing down, being still (quiet) when everyone around us is running like they’re on fire. It’s saying no to better so you can say yes to best.
Simplicity is freedom. Simplicity brings joy and balance. (Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster pg 79) Who doesn’t want a little more of all of that!
Is the Simple Life possible “even when”…? I believe it is. Let’s see how together…