Thomasville Times Enterprise

January 9, 2014

Learn to streamline your life

Tara Wentworth
CNHI

— Maybe it’s just because it’s the new year and everyone is “turning over a new leaf,” but whenever I mention what I feel like the Lord is saying to me, their response is “amen” or “oh me.”

After mentioning last week my desire (need) to simplify my life, I picked up a book that has been in my library for several years.

I am sure I gave it a cursory reading when I got it, but must not have been ready to heed what it was saying!  It is called “The Rewards of Simplicity.” Pam and Chuck Pierce lay out practical and natural things we can do to make our lives more enjoyable, but they also address some of the underlying issues that either cause us to overextend ourselves and/or become anxiety-driven individuals.

One look at my closets and all the knicknacks that fill every visible nook and cranny of my home should be a good indication I am desperately in need of paying heed to their admonition.

I am still processing the information and have not yet put a game plan into effect, but I do believe that I should and will keep you posted on the (hopefully, not too painful) process.

I will give a couple of quotes from the book that may inspire you, like it has me. The premise of the book is: “God, in His constant faithfulness toward His children, is calling us to simplify on every level of life so that we can clearly see the path before us.”  “The complications — both physical and spiritual — that clutter our modern lives are a serious threat to our communion with the Father and our relationships with our family, our friends and the rest of the world.”

There are plenty of books, research and materials supporting our need to simplify our consumer lifestyle, our homes as well as a spiritual discipline to be practiced. The authors lay out some general principles as well as some practical outlines, but encourage each individual to hear what the Lord is saying to them personally.

As we have done in so many other arenas, we tend to make hard, fast rules to include everyone, and that is just not the way God works in our lives. He tailors each of our lives so that we will fulfill His plan and purpose for us individually.

“The purpose of simplicity is not to prune away those things that bring us joy and enrich our lives.  Instead, the purpose of simplicity is to streamline our lives in such a way that we have more room, time and energy for the pursuits and people that God ordains for us.”

“Recognizing our heavenly Father as the source of all we have is central to the concept of simplicity.  Our gifts, temperaments, blessings and even our daily bread are the direct result of a gracious, good God who loves us and shares His abundance with us freely. When we understand that everything we have, both eternal and temporal, proceeds from His hand, then we are able to respond to His call to simplify without fear or anxiety.”

One thing I gleaned from the book that I will note here is that if you are married, have a family or live with someone else, just remember that God may not be speaking the same thing to them. Pam gives some examples of overstepping your boundaries when trying to simplify. Cleaning out your child's room without really knowing which “treasures” do really have at least sentimental value, could create unnecessary offense. Likewise, giving away your spouse's collectables might not be such a good idea. Stick to your own stuff — that will probably keep you busy for a while anyway.  Is that like getting the beam out of your own eye in order to see clearly to get the splinter out or your brother's eye!?

The last thing I want to note is the observation they made about the correlation between physical clutter and our spiritual lives.

“When my physical environment or condition is cluttered, that is usually a good indication that that something is amiss in my spiritual environment as well.”  The closet/hidden areas analogy is probably the best/most obvious indicator.  Oh, my — I am guilty and plan to start right there.  First the natural, then the spiritual.

To be continued . . .