Simplify


Years ago, our family was invited to Sunday dinner at another family’s home. The instant I walked in their front door, I felt like I had a weight lifted off my shoulders and I could relax.

Why?

Their home was a refreshing change from our cramped, two-bedroom duplex. No, their home wasn’t large. But in our small living quarters, I had arranged furniture along practically every inch of our room’s perimeters. Our walls were covered with pictures and decorations. And I had plenty of knick-knacks on display. It was orderly, I didn’t realize how cluttered I had made our living space. Not until stepping inside this other home.

Their walls had plenty of margin with only a few specially selected pictures. The furniture was almost sparse. I don’t remember if there were any knick-knacks. Some people might have thought it too simple, but to me it was a relief. There was space. I could breath.

But did I go home and simplify our duplex?

No.

I need all that stuff, I reasoned. It’s difficult for me to give things to Goodwill or to throw things away. Even if they’ve become a nuisance.

This memory reminds me of Psalm 27:4--One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

The Psalmist focused on one thing. He desired an intimate walk with God above all else. It’s easy to add good things to life in the name of religion. Volunteering for church programs, serving on committees, visiting shut-ins. All are good, but not if they keep us from the best, from focusing on the Lord.

Over time, we keep adding activities to our schedule, just like we keep adding stuff into our living space. Eventually, it suffocates us.

It’s difficult, but we need to simplify.

I want to be more focused on the Lord—on being, not just doing. And I enjoy my living space when there is less clutter. Maybe the two are related.

Instead of just thinking about simplifying, I will act. Today.

I will remove something from each room of our house, preferably something that’s visible. If I can’t bear to part with it now, I will stick it in a closet or drawer. Maybe later I will be ready to remove it permanently.

Likewise, I will declutter my mind so I can focus more on the Lord and His Word. Maybe that will look like turning off background noise, simplifying my meal preparations, or living with more dust.

Will you join me in decluttering? I’d like to hear the spiritual impact your actions make.

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