It is the start of a new year. How has your week been? As many among us begin to return to our workplaces and schools, furiously cranking up through the gears to try to match the increasing demands on our time, I am reminded of another Presbyterian pastor’s purposeful countercultural social media posts on slow living, whereby he espouses a more meaningful, impactful, and conscious lifestyle in line with what we value most in life.
In an increasingly fast-paced world, it is very easy for people, Christians and non-Christians, to be enslaved to time. Squeezing more and more tasks into our waking hours, even reducing our rest time in order to clear the pile of work; we habituate into creatures who do not know how to rest—we even come back from vacations more exhausted than before! Stress is at unprecedented levels, and our physical and mental health suffers. Christian writer Richard James Foster writes in Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World, “What will free us from this bondage to the ever-spiralling demands that are placed upon us? The answer is found in the grace of Christian simplicity.”
Simplicity is pursuing one goal over all else; it is to uncomplicate and untangle our lives so that we can focus on and enjoy what really matters. It is getting that top priority right, so that the rest falls naturally into place. And in doing so, it creates openness and space in our lives for the growth of contentment and godliness, which is great gain for the disciple of Christ (1 Tim. 6:6). After all, Jesus teaches us that freedom is not found in having and doing but in loving and seeking God and His righteousness as first and foremost (Matt. 6:33). Our work and studies, as well as all other demands on our time, need to find their rightful place in our lives and not take a place higher than they ought to.
What can we do to simplify our lives? Assess the things and activities that are keeping life convoluted. Set priorities that flow from loving God and the things of God above all else. Remove our distractions and preoccupations. Let go of the clutter we are holding onto outwardly in our houses and inwardly in our hearts. Do these so that our time may come under our service to God.