Simplicity. We long for it. Bloggers make a living writing about it. Authors sell thousands of books teaching us how to achieve it.
I don’t know how it is in other cultures, but the life of an American woman is busy. There is never enough time to take care of the house, keep the children fed and educated, earn money, be a fantastic wife, and have personal space. I can keep the house somewhat presentable OR work on a project. I cannot do both. I can either earn the extra money to ease our budget OR I can be available on evenings and weekends for my husband and kids. I cannot do both of those, either.
It’s easy to see why those simple living blogs are so popular!
However, I don’t think I crave simplicity as much as I crave a haven for my soul–a knowledge that everything is under control. I long for a freedom to do what needs to be done, without leaving 100 other things undone. I hunger for the peace that beckons me from the other side of my unending to-do list…the list that is so long that three things get added for every single item checked off.
Personally, I long to crawl into my Heavenly Father’s arms to tell Him my problems, to let Him take care of them, and to assure me that everything will be fine. Only in the Father’s embrace will I find the simplicity and peace my soul needs to survive.
As I wrote about here and here, it is so easy for us to let our children become idols that we prioritize above all else. Too often, we put their wants above our husband’s needs and even our own physical needs! We circle our lives around them, taking them to every single activity they desire, catering to their every wish, creating magical birthday parties we can’t afford…and then we wonder why we are too exhausted to keep everything else together.
It’s time for all of us women, whether we are mothers or not, to put our lives in the right order. When we have our priorities correct, we will finally find the simplicity, peace, and minimalism we seek.
We must make Jesus the absolute center.
Even in the middle of our chaos, we must escape to the eye of our storm to sit at Jesus’ feet. We must soak up the Bible, savoring it word by word and exploring its depths. We must pray the kind of prayers where we pour out our problems to our almighty god. We must worship His greatness so that we remember that He is so much bigger than our struggles. They are child’s play for Him.
You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.Isaiah 26:3 ESV
We must guard our time with God.
It is too easy to become slaves to the immediate, urgent needs of those around us. Even Jesus was faced with this challenge. In Mark 1, He was in high demand as He healed the sick and cast out demons.
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and the found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”Mark 1:35-38 ESV
Jesus knows what it feels like to have people need you every. minute. of. the. day.
He understands the pressures we face because He faced them on an even greater scale. He was perfectly God. Jesus had all the resources He needed for life and peace…yet He protected His time alone with His Father. How much more should we guard our quiet moments with the Father?!?
As writer Vicki Courtney said in a retreat I attended a few years ago, Jesus did not meet the demands of the people. He was not a slave of their desires. He focused on the most important thing: reconnecting with the Father.
Let this concept wash over us. We do not have to meet all the demands on our time and energy. Somehow, when we meet with our Creator, He puts our priorities into focus. He miraculously accomplishes what we cannot and lovingly carries the burdens that we are too small to carry.
Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:28 ISV