The Simple Lifestyle

We have been carefully avoiding concrete measurements and formulas, in our discussions of simplicity, mostly because we do not want to obscure the very real internal issues at stake. It would be far too easy to get distracted by controversial details and completely misunderstand what practicing simplicity means in our lives. Not to mention that coming up with one visible standard to lay across all our backs (to make sure we are measuring up) is nothing more than forging chains of man-made expectations; Jesus warned us about our hypocritical tendency to tie other people up into tidy bundles.

So let’s revisit the truths we’ve been distilling, drop by drop, gaze into that quiet pool of clear water and breathe deep, let it sink in where the Holy Spirit can make His own connections to life. Simplicity is trusting God for life itself. It is total dependence on His provision and the resulting freedom from anxiety and fear. It is a focus of heart and mind and life on the “pearl of great price” that we Christ-followers have discovered in the Kingdom of Heaven, seeing everything else falling into new perspectives because of that focus.

And let’s not overlook the fact that at some point these truths are going to have to push their way into the Everyday, both in large and small ways. Perhaps even in some startling life-upheaval ways. Otherwise simplicity is just one more nice idea. But that is between your heart and God’s Spirit. We are babes at this, so we stand and lurch forward a few steps, maybe even take off at a tip-toe run across new wide open spaces, only to lose our balance and fall flat a moment later. It’s all in a day’s growth. He will show us where we need to change, and how much is enough. That’s why we use the phrase spiritual practice or spiritual discipline (training) when we talk about learning these new habits.

It is perhaps encouraging to remember that this does not come naturally to us– mistrust comes naturally…wanting to control my own world comes naturally…following my emotions comes naturally. These are the old-way habits I am trying to unlearn. Only the Spirit of God living in me can open my eyes to how beautiful a simple dependence on my Creator can be. It takes His divine power at work in my heart to shift my viewpoint to realize how unnecessarily I complicate my life with worries, how I get tangled up with rationalization and desire for others’ approval and wanting things. Only Jesus’ grace will cover the mistakes I make and give me the courage to try again. And His strong arms will guide me and protect me as I go on.

So when we slide back into old ways we will get back up on our feet, with the Spirit’s help, and follow after Jesus with our baby steps, and keep on putting these truths into practice, until someday we can look back and see how far we have come, just like any child growing up under a parent’s loving watchful care. The important thing is that we practice this new habit of simplicity over and over again, knowing it is for our own spiritual health…keep listening and obeying. Life is much simpler when we do.


“Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
(Jesus in Matthew 11:29-30, The Message)


“At every moment,God’s Will produces what is needful for the task at hand, and the simple soul, instructed by faith, finds everything as it should be and wants neither more nor less than whatever it has.” (Jean-Pierre de Caussade)