Monday, September 29, 2008

The Quest for Simplicity

In the quest for simplicity, have you ever noticed the baby steps that are taken? You sort through and purge the things no longer needed/wanted and feel really good about it.......for a few days. Then you start looking around and see more that can be purged. So to clear those things out. Again, you feel content and happy with the change. A few days later, you notice more that can be purged......and so the process goes on. As you go through these stages of purging the excess and unnecessary things from your lives and home, you keep in mind the single goal of reaching a lifestyle that is simple and basic. It is a process that takes time. Were you to purge it all in one session, you would feel overwhelmed at the daunting task. Once accomplished, you might feel a sense of loss and revert back to previous habits, buying things that are not a necessity, but a want.

Striving for simplicity in our lives and homes is very much like the process we go through in our quest to live a life more in tune with the Lord's Will for our lives. When we first come to know our Lord, our thoughts and habits are cluttered with our lifestyle that is not in harmony with the Lord's way for us to live. In baby steps, He shows us through the Bible's teachings and much time spent in prayer the things that we need to change or remove from our lives. With each change, we feel a relief. Then, He shows us a new area of our lives to change. Little by little, we declutter our hearts and minds of the things that are stumbling blocks in our path of spiritual growth. Had the Lord required a full and complete immediate change, we would have floundered. We would feel overwhelmed at the changes we need to make. Because of our human nature, we would grieve some of the things we were made to give up and would have turned back to them. Thankfully, the Lord understands our human nature! While change is expected of us from the worldly way of thinking to His ways, He allows us to make these changes little by little, step by step. We are given the opportunity to make the changes when our hearts feel the desire for change.

Just as I find that I don't need the excess in our home, I am finding that there are "excesses" in my life that I used to find very important, but now with the Lord in my life, I no longer have those things nor do I miss them. With each habit or thing you remove from your life, the Lord fills that place with His love and grace. He not only fills up the space - He fills it to overflowing! The more we allow our hearts and minds to be filled with the Lord, the less we feel a need for the old ways that we lived before the Lord was a focus in our life.

I am so grateful that the Lord allows me the gentle prompting and nudging in my life to make the changes He sees fit for me to make. Not all of the changes are easy. There are some I have had to make that have been very painful and I mourned the changes for a long while. Some changes that I knew I had to make were so hard that I have cried in grief for the loss of those things. Sometimes I still miss them and feel the pull to go back to them. At those moments, I go to the Lord and find my stregnth in Him. I am realizing that it wasn't the old things I grieved for but the way it made me feel. I am learning as I go through each day how to find that feeling and much more in following the path the Lord has set before me. Just as sorting through our belongings has not always been pleasant to do, neither is sorting through our habits and ways of thinking. It is keeping your eyes on the goal at the end that keeps you striving and working through it all. With the Lord's blessing the changes can be made and we will find a deeper happiness in them.