Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lessons in simplicity...

Called to.  Called out of.  Called.

Before 2013 even started, I felt God calling me to simplicity.  Before the calendar turned its page, I felt called out of chaos and of stretching myself thin.  Out of too much.  

Too much stuff.  
Too much activity. 

 It had all become too much.

As I seek to live out this call to the simple, I find that this word, "Simple" or to "Simplify" or live a life of "Simplicity" sounds easy.  It sounds embarrassingly weak.  At least to my ears.... as I've told others of this call to and call out of.  To simplify one's life.  I'm here to say it's not as easy as it sounds.

Yet, I am grateful.  Because of the margins I've built into our life and schedule through the practice of simplicity, new opportunities have occurred that would never have been able to happen, otherwise.  Opportunities, that take a bit of that margin time away, but in the end moves me closer to a dream and goal I've had for a very long time.

By taking a step back and creating space and QUIET into our life, I can see just how crazy my schedule and life has been.  So much so, that it's warped my thinking.

I asked my husband today if he felt I was "nuts" for feeling guilty for not signing up to help at VBS this summer.   After all, I've helped with a VBS (minus two summers after Josh was born) for 23 years!  I've ALWAYS helped.  It's just what. I. do.  

His answer?

A wholehearted "yes".

Yes, Sheri.  You are nuts for feeling guilty for giving myself a break. Yes, you are nuts for feeling guilty for answering a much-needed call from the Lord to simplify.

See, the quiet can do funny things to my head.  In the quiet, I gain peace but not before fighting for it.  I gain peace when I've won the battle with the voices that beckon me to one more thing.  I gain peace when the guilt and the fear of missing out is squelched.

Sure, I can begin to rest in His arms but then scramble out of them when I hear of a need or a gap that needs to be filled. I scramble out of them when... 

And that is the problem.

I scramble and tug away from the One who has gently called me to rest.  When the panic and guilt start to rise as more activities come my way that I usually participate in but am passing up to simplify my life, I must not scramble out of His arms.  I must stay confidently there until He assures me to go.

I'm not missing out on anything if I'm in the center of His will for my life.  In this season.  In this time.

As I enter my fourth month of simplifying, I see just how much this word encompasses.

To be simple isn't about going without, it is about choosing more space.  More space on my calendar.  More space in my home.  More space for the ones I love and whom I'm called to care for.  

To be simple isn't about giving up.  It's about gaining.

To be simple isn't about walking away.  It's about leaning in to the One who holds me close and desires for stillness from me.

To be simple isn't about impressing others and being the center of attention.  It's about stepping back into the shadows for awhile where it is quiet and less about me and more about Him.

To be simple is a choice.  Daily picked up or daily ignored.  

To be simple is to choose less to have more.

I am learning. Sometimes painfully.  Sometimes joyfully.  Always grateful for the lessons, though.

This word, "simplify".  It has turned my life upside down.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,  I will be exalted in the earth.” - Psalm 46:10