Simple but not easy!

Down to earth. Raw. Back to the basics. Earthy.

These are some things that come to mind when I think of simplicity.

“Lacking in today’s society” is another thought.

It’s pretty much considered extreme to live simply now, which is slightly on the ironic side. We live in a super sized age that embraces an extreme American dream. Big houses. Hot cars. Bigger and better is best. Really “simplicity” is not even in the picture. (I’m not condoning those who do live this way. Some really awesome people come out of these scenes.)

What runs through my head is that just maybe we live a little bit too extravagantly. When we embrace extravagance, we start to loose gratitude for the little things in life. And when that’s the case, we put ourselves in a potentially dangerous position.

As Christians, I feel as if we have come off the simple path. We’ve gotten too involved and so distracted in things that really don’t matter. Thinking about it, Jesus made it pretty simple.

Love.

Love not the way the world does, but a crazy radical love. A love that embraces the outcast and recognizes everyone, including those we despise most as people and seeing Christ in them.

It’s simple really. But no one said simple was easy.

I love one of Mother Teresa’s quotes,

“ Following Jesus is simple, but not easy. Love until it hurts, then love some more.”

It pretty much sums it up.

Love.

Embrace it.

See where it takes you!

Keep It Simple

Why is it so hard to keep it simple? The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest path to take. We will start any journey with good intentions, but the minute we look to navigate around obstacles, instead of confront and overcome them, we begin to complicate the matter. If this pattern of avoidance continues, we find ourselves in a tangled mess down the road, wondering how we got there. The issue with avoidance is it alleviates the pain in the present, but the obstacles still exist. Keeping it simple, sticking to the straight path, may mean present struggle, but it also means nearing calm.

It’s easy to look at people who have spent their lives avoiding obstacles, seeing the mileage they have covered in their winding course, and admire this mileage as success. But in reality, they are no further along in their journey then when they first avoided an obstacle. People of true perseverance, who have faced their obstacles and eliminated them from the path, have a depth unmatched by anyone who has covered 1000 miles while resisting confrontation.

Simplicity stays the course. It allows trial to transform us and it illuminates the straight path through forests or meadows. It isn’t always easy, but it is ultimately stress free and brings rest. God knows I could do to keep things a bit simpler.

Contagious Peace

Peace is powerful. It maybe something for us to reach for, to fight for as a community, but it is also deeply personal. Jesus said, “let not your hearts be troubled, don’t be afraid. Peace I give to you; my peace I leave with you.” He spoke this to the disciples as they were about to head into a time of incredible turmoil. To face turmoil and over come obstacles in our lives, peace is essential.

Peace is confidence, it is trust, it is stability. Jesus went to the Father for everything, that was where his peace was derived from. That was the peace he wanted to leave with us, a confidence in the Father that even the storms of life could not shake. A confidence found in the Father. As we carry confidence into our struggles, we will be able to navigate back into peaceful waters. There is still struggle and turmoil, and we still have to confront the obstacles, but peace says we can do that without anxiety or despair.

Peace is not everybody getting along. It is being ok with controversy, being ok with working it out together.

Paul compares peace to shoes. Our measure of peace will determine the type of terrain we can traverse. It’s hard to walk on gravel too fast in your bare feet, with shoes on, you can run. A greater peace will allow us to walk farther with the Lord, through life. We all need to rest, to stop and take a break, to allow our peace to recover, to enjoy calm times. But there will be moments in our lives where we don’t have the luxury of stopping, and our peace will be required to persevere. Because sometimes it’s not just gravel we’re walking on, but live coals, and it may be a while before we find relief from the heat.

In times of peace, it is an opportunity to delve deeper, to root ourselves in the source of our peace.

Peace is powerful. It not only allows us to survive, but to thrive in hardship. It is contagious; if we hang onto peace, what is inside of us will be produced around us. It is people that hang onto peace in themselves that allow peace to be realized in the world.