The Simple Life

Our American culture makes it quite difficult to live a simple life. Simplifying our lives doesn’t automatically come from living without money. It’s more about living with focus and without so much busyness. We can live on a farm or in poverty and have cluttered lives.

What is at the heart of a simple life? Why are we so frazzled and exhausted?

Jesus calls us to simplify our lives by seeking first God’s kingdom and his righteousness (Mt. 6:33). We prioritize living out the character and actions of Christ that bring his kingdom light to our world. That focus puts all else into perspective so that we make wise decisions.

When we live each day for God, knowing that what we do is for his glory and his kingdom, we live the simple life. That may entail a career focused on living out Jesus’s love for our co-workers instead of pushing for advancement. Perhaps it involves loving our children enough to deny them their desires. It may look like prioritizing family time over entertainment.

Getting to church on Sunday in a frazzled state points out the need for change. I recently read a mother’s blog sharing her decision to stay home periodically on Sunday to fix the problem. There is a deeper issue here that her solution fails to address. What is behind the stress? What are her expectations of her children or herself that ruin the day? What can she do on Saturday to make Sunday simpler and less stressful? How is she seeking God’s kingdom for her family?

What thinking patterns do I see in my own life and those around me which brings us busyness and worry? Trying to please people instead of God; thinking our children need to do everything; expecting stuff to bring happiness; perfectionism; trying to control the future; depending on ourselves rather than trusting God. You can likely add to the list.

What is behind your busyness, your stress, and your worry? What should you eliminate to truly prioritize God’s kingdom? 

This article was orginially posted on Beyond which is no longer online 10/27/10.

Kay is a life-long Texan whose favorites are Tex-Mex, books that feed her soul or make her think, good movies and travel to new places. Her great joy is to serve God by teaching the Bible and developing women as servant-leaders. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Beyond Ordinary Women Ministries, which provides free videos, podcasts and articles as well as low-cost Bible studies to prepare Christian women for leadership. (beyondordinarywomen.org) Kay spent ten years leading women’s ministries on church staffs, most recently at Northwest Bible Church in Dallas. Kay is the author of From Ordinary Woman to Spiritual Leader: Grow your Influence, a practical guide to help Christian women influence others by applying foundational leadership skills to their lives and ministries, and a number of Bible studies for women, some are available at bible.org and the newer ones are found at beyondordinarywomen.org. Kay earned an M.A.C.E. from Dallas Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Effective Ministries to Women. Kay’s family includes a husband, two grown children, one son-in-law, two hysterical granddaughters and a Goldendoodle.