Everyone has them — those days when nothing seems to get done, except maybe what you've added to your already lengthy to-do list. Do you ever find yourself wishing for a better day — a simpler day? Do you feel that too many things are competing for your limited resources of time, energy and attention? If you do, you're not alone.
Most people today live complicated lives that leave them frustrated and confused, weary and worn out. But I have good news: Your life doesn't have to be that way. You can choose a life of simplicity, fruitfulness, fulfillment, peace and joy. I want to warn you, however, that unless you are determined to change, it is very likely that you will do what everyone else does. You will get sucked up in the system and spend your life wishing things were different, never realizing you are, in fact, the only one who can change things. Unless we are resolute and remain undaunted in our quest for simplicity, we are destined for complication and frustration.
I recall a time when I was complaining to God about my schedule being absolutely insane. How could anyone be expected to do all I had in front of me? Then the realization hit me that I was the one who made my schedule, and nobody could change it but me. You can spend your life wishing things were different, but wishing won't change a thing. Smart decision-making and decisive action will change things. Are you willing to make a bold decision and follow it up with action?
I wasted many years just hoping life would change and things would calm down until I finally realized life itself doesn't change. In fact, it has the potential to get even worse. I understood that my only real option was to change my approach to life. I had to say no to another day of rushing around and feeling frustrated. I didn't want anymore prescriptions to mask another symptom of the real problem—stress.
In my search for simplicity, I have come to believe life can never be simple unless I learn to approach all things simply. It is my attitude toward each event in life that determines how easy or complex each situation will be.
Have you ever attempted to have friends over for what you initially intended to be a simple afternoon of food, fellowship and fun, but somehow, it turned into a complicated nightmare?
I remember those days vividly. I'd be at church on Sunday and invite three couples over for the following Sunday to a barbeque. My initial thought was hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, baked beans, potato chips and iced tea. My motive was fellowship and fun, but by the time the guests arrived, fun was not going to happen, at least not for me.
Why? I turned my simple get-together into a nightmare of preparation, expensive food, and fourteen people instead of the original six. My complicated approach to life convinced me that hot dogs and hamburgers weren't nice enough so I bought steaks we could not afford. My potato chips turned into a huge bowl of homemade potato salad. The simple baked beans became four side dishes I labored over.
Insecure and wanting to impress everyone, I spent the week cleaning and getting everything in the house to the point where I thought my guests would be impressed. Of course, the lawn chairs were old, so I bought new ones. I got angry at my husband, Dave, because I thought he wasn't helping me enough, and by the time our friends arrived, I even resented them! I wished they hadn't come, and I had a horrible time pretending to be the happy hostess when, in reality, I was frustrated and miserable.
I could not figure out why I wasn't able to enjoy much of anything in life until God revealed to me that I was killing my joy with complication. For years, I prayed for God to change the people and circumstances around me when it was actually me He wanted to change.
Jesus offers us a "new way of living," and I believe it is a simple, yet powerful way that enables us to enjoy everyday life. Are you ready to simplify your life? Are you ready to say good-bye to the complexities you've allowed to take over? Get started today!