Thursday Themes is an ongoing series of posts focused on given topics or passages of scripture relevant to adoption, knowing God, and learning to live simply and love radically. Please feel free to tweet theme suggestions to me @MamaMcAfee or leave a suggestion in the comments section.
In the Live Simply series, we're exploring what it means to live simply in every aspect of our lives. Living simply is a way of life that radically redefines how you see the world and how you interact with it. It's almost never easy, but always rewarding. And at the end of the day, those who choose to pursue simple, I believe, will be far better people for it and will know God in a much deeper way than when complex got in the way.
Living simply is about being flexible.
If I've learned anything about living simply, it's that flexibility is a must. There will always be something new challenging you to live simpler. There will always be a self-discovery inviting you to prune and cut and be something simpler. There will always be a challenge to grow more into deep and simple.
I think it's what I love so much about living simply. Just when you get to the place where you think you've got it figured out, something new crops up to challenge you to live simpler.
Living simply is a journey. A journey into rejecting the complex and building a life of availability, more gray spaces and rest, less consumption and comparison, days taken one at a time and a listening mind.
You may sometimes find in your striving to live simply, you are actually making things more complex.
You may discover an area of your life overrun with consumption and an all-about-me-ness you never recognized before.
You may learn about an injustice in the world you can help right by choosing a new way of simplicity.
And so you learn to flex and bend with simplicity, allowing it to mold you and shape you into a different kind of person--simpler and deeper than you were before.
For me, the flexibility of living simply is inextricably intertwined with my faith.
As my understanding of God and who he created me to be grows, I discover new depths of living simply and rejecting the complex.
As I push further into deeper and simpler, my relationship with the Lord broadens and stretches and changes me.
I fully believe as I walk further down the path, my understanding of living simply will broaden and change. I am confident becoming a mother will add new aspects. Maybe someday becoming a wife. Aging. Moving. Deaths. Births. Marriages. Divorces. Graduations. Illnesses. All the twists and turns of life's journey will teach me new things about my faith and about living simply.
I think as our worldview broadens and changes, living simply will flex and grow and start to take on new meanings. So if we are to live simply, we have to become flexible people able to be challenged in our ideas and our ideals. We have to be able and willing to understand the world and God and faith in new ways as he shapes and molds us in the image of Christ. If we stand rigid, unable to bend as he prunes us, we're likely to snap.
Flexibility is what we see in the disciples as Christ challenged old ways of thinking with new paradigms. Flexibility is pouring new wine into wine skins and leaving old wine for old wineskins. Flexibility is being malleable in the hand of the creator.
We cannot strive to live simply if we do stretch our muscles and practice flexibility.
This is the last post in the Living Simply series outlining the eight principles I've discovered for living simply:
- Be available to the people around you and what God might be doing in your life.
- Allow yourself to live in the gray spaces and recognize the world might not be as black and white as you think.
- Consume less--what you need, occasionally what you want, and practice moderation when you consume.
- Stop comparing yourself to your neighbor and start loving them better.
- Practice resting and take time for Sabbath.
- Take every day as it comes and spend less time on yesterdays and tomorrows.
- Listen to others more and work on broadening your own worldview.
- Allow yourself flexibility to be challenged and to keep discovering what living simply means for your life.
I don't think any one of these things are easy, but I think each is valuable.
I find for my own life, there is no better way than choosing simple. When life gets to be too much, I often find it is because I've abandoned simple for complex and my relationship with the Lord for something far less meaningful.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this series as much as I've enjoyed writing it. If you're just joining us, you can check out the previous posts in the series via the links below.
The Live Simply Series: