As I’m writing the note, a dozen things are clamoring for my attention. Each seems important and probably needs to be done, whether meeting with a friend, editing a writing project, or weeding the garden. When pressured like this, up to now, my inclination is to speed up and try to get everything done extra efficiently like a short order cook.
In his book, Freedom of Simplicity, theologian and spiritual formation author Richard Foster writes, “Jesus Christ and all the writers of the New Testament call us to break free of mammon lust and live in joyous trust…They point us toward a way of living in which everything we have we receive as a gift, and everything we have is cared for by God, and everything we have is available to others when it is right and good. This reality frames the heart of Christian simplicity. It is the means of liberation and power to do what is right and to overcome the forces of fear and avarice.”
Slowly, oh so slowly, I am learning to settle down, stop, wait. To embrace simplicity.
“And so I urge you to still every motion that is not rooted in the Kingdom. Become quiet, hushed, motionless until you are finally centered. Strip away all excess baggage and nonessential trappings until you have come into the stark reality of the Kingdom of God. Let go of all distractions until you are driven into the Core. Allow God to reshuffle your priorities and eliminate unnecessary froth. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, ‘Pray for me that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor.’ That is our first task: to grip the hands of Jesus with such tenacity that we are obliged to follow his lead, to seek first his Kingdom.”
Responding from a quiet center allows me to be attentive to God in the midst of life. Without that attentiveness I am just doing things that will be forgotten in a few minutes, days or hours. With that attentiveness I am beginning to glimpse the sustaining movements of God through all of life. I’ve also found that having others to share the journey helps me cultivate both inner and outer simplicity.
Have you ever thought of simplicity as a means of grace? As a path to clarifying your true gifts and callings? At a certain level life is not asking you to measure up to heroes of our faith. Instead, you are being asked to measure up to your own special and unique skills, talents and gifts as God has made you and molded you.
Would you join me in exploring this practice?
In his book Freedom of Simplicity, Richard Foster brings out the opportunities and challenges of cultivating both inner and outer simplicity. This summer, whether you stay home or travel, we invite you to journey with us through this book, share discussions, and settle into what simplicity means to you as you live the unique life God created you for.
About Bill Lewis: After many years of wandering through various belief systems I came back to Christ. These experiences coupled with decades of business experience in not-for-profits and for profits has helped me understand and relate to others in various stages of life. Even after I settled into a realization that I belong to God and am loved by God, the journey has continued to challenge me. Renovare material has been a significant influence in my life, bringing together various streams that fit into a life with God. My credentials include completing an MBA, having a Masters degree in Christian Spiritual Formation and currently practicing Spiritual Direction. In addition to these and various other endeavors, I serve on the Spiritual Formation committee at a Presbyterian church and regularly lead outings exploring natural areas.