“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” -Hans Hofmann, artist
Simplicity seems to be an oasis in a desert of increasing complexity. Simple ideas abound. Simple design. Simple holidays. Simple meals. Simple church. Merriam-Webster defines simplify as: to reduce to basic essentials; to diminish in scope or complexity; to make more intelligible: clarify. To simplify is not a matter of adding a simple concept to an already demanding, stressful lifestyle, but of streamlining life to match an overarching framework.
In the maddening rush, sit down and contemplate whether or not you need to simplify your life. It takes a conscious decision, a deliberate effort until new habits are formed.
Find your treasure
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matthew 13:44)
What brings joy to your life? What do you love? What do you worship? What is the reason behind why you do what you do? In this parable, the man was joyful about selling all that he had because he knew there was a treasure not readily apparent to any person who may pass by the seemingly unimpressive field. In this world, the things that dazzle and delight on the surface do not always deliver when people try to find life in them. The true treasure of knowing God and His love, salvation, forgiveness, joy, peace and life are sometimes stumbled upon and sometimes sought out, but are not readily apparent. When you treasure something, life orbits around that thing. So be careful what you treasure.
Once you know why you do what you do, decisions are easier to make. You can prioritize accordingly. For example, if you want to walk with God, love people, and serve others in the areas of your abilities, your calendar should match those priorities. Your financial decisions should also reflect your priorities. Conversely, it is easier to decide what NOT to do.
Do what you do best
Usually our greatest talents lie in doing what we love to do, so it makes sense to develop those areas to the fullest. The greatest contributions are made when we focus on our strengths and serve in those areas. We can be grateful for the contributions of people who have excelled in their fields, leaving a legacy of inspiring works of art, literature, music, discoveries, medical breakthroughs, changed lives, etc. Back to the overarching framework: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Col 3:17)