Simplify Life! If you heard that as a command, what would you do? Where would you begin? What would you do first? Those are the first questions we would ask. Are they the best questions? Our culture isn’t responding to a command. People all around us are pursuing simplicity in their lives. So maybe the best place to begin, the first big step, is just a better question. Let’s ask, Why?
Simplify Life: Why?
Have you ever known you had a problem but you couldn’t put your finger on it? A little humorous absurdity may help me communicate clearly. Let’s suppose you are a pair of pliers. But you find yourself constantly being used to drive nails. You experience some obvious frustration and you know there’s a problem but you can’t define it. Why? There are three things you have never seen:
And then one day you discover those three things. That would be a life-changing day for you. We can easily imagine the mental and emotional relief. Seeing a hammer would relieve your frustration because you would then know you weren’t designed to drive nails. And it would be equally rewarding to see the nut and the bolt. Those items give you an idea why you exist. Lives are marked and identified by the day we gain the perspective that brings our purpose into view.
This cultural pursuit of simplicity is like that. People know there’s a problem but they lack the perspective to identify it. And that’s the reason I have posed the Why? question as our beginning point to pursue simple living.
Simplify Life: Perspective
Most people pursue life from the default perspective. We all know what that is like. This view has many descriptive lines attached to it:
- Go for the gusto!
- Get all you can and can all you get!
- The one with the most toys wins!
- I did it my way…
We could add a few more. I’m sure you get the idea. But the current pursuit of simple living is a rejection of those ideas. How did those ideas get into our culture? Why are people rejecting them?
I am a baby boomer. The years after World War II were ones of building, rebuilding, accomplishment, and prosperity. People sought identification and happiness in those things. And it rocked along like that until the 80’s and early 90’s. One of my favorite jokes from that time period went like this:
A yuppie (remember them?) was driving his Porsche 2-seater home from work. He had an accident. When he woke he was being tended by paramedics. One said to him, ‘Sir, I have some very bad news. Your left arm has been severed just below the elbow.’ At this the yuppie exclaimed, ‘O no! My Rolex, my Rolex!’
By the time demographers gave us names for yuppies (young urban professionals) and dinks (dual income – no kids) we were already seeing people reject the pursuit of more stuff. Why? The answer lies in another time-honored piece of wisdom: Money can’t buy happiness.
But recognition of that sage wisdom does not satisfactorily answer the Why? we must ask. To truly simplify life one needs a total change in perspective.
Simplify Life: The Big Step
Four things will end this post and form a bridge to the next installment of this series. These four items give the eye-opening, life-changing perspective we need. These things are, for you and me, what seeing the hammer, nut, and bolt was to my imaginary pair of pliers. So here we go…
Revelation 4: Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.
I Corinthians 6: …you are not your own. For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Romans 11: For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Acts 17: For in Him we live and move and have our being…
Soli Deo Gloria!