Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Simple Life. (Part One)

Lately, I have come to realize that I don't believe in choosing to live "the simple life".Which, considering the amount of blogs I see out there about living the simple life, or about choosing simplicity, this may be somewhat of a shocker statement to put on a blog. But let me explain...

Now, granted, if you live a life where a) you're never at home and b) you have tchotchkes lining your shelves like can-can dancers, you might need to simplify your life some.

But, my worries are, that all too often living the simple life, means living the selfish life. The question is, does living the simple life equal living the Godly life?
I doubt it.

Also, I worry that there are wonderful women out there, feeling guilty that they are not living up to someone else's standard of the perfect life, the simple life.

I think the magazine, Real Simple, with the motto, "life made easier" pretty much sums it up. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for reducing repetitive tasks or finding clever solutions. And I like anything that involves efficiency and effectiveness. Although, much to my own sinful dismay at times, I've noticed that God isn't a huge fan of efficiency. But, life made easier, isn't what it's all about.

Kitties complicate life.

Another beef I have with this movement is the word "simple", itself. Look it up in a dictionary. It isn't exactly a compliment. Or you can read the definitions below from Merriam-Webster...

1: free from guile : innocent
2a : free from vanity : modest b : free from ostentation or display <a simple outfit>
3: of humble origin or modest position <a simple farmer>
4a : lacking in knowledge or expertise <a simple amateur of the arts> b (1) : stupid (2) : mentally retarded c : not socially or culturally sophisticated : naive; also : credulous
5a : sheer, unmixed <simple honesty> b : free of secondary complications <a simple vitamin deficiency> c (1) : having only one main clause and no subordinate clauses <a simple sentence> (2) of a subject or predicate : having no modifiers, complements, or objects d : constituting a basic element : fundamental e : not made up of many like units <a simple eye>
6: free from elaboration or figuration <simple harmony>

 Looking at these terms personally leaves me with no desire to simple. In fact, it makes me want to be pretty much the opposite. 

In the Bible, no where does God call us to simplify our lives. Nor does he call us to be simple. Usually, women in the Bible have lives that are just the opposite. Most gals in the Bible are, gasp, rich. That's right rich. And that wasn't in opposition to being Godly! I've been reading through Acts lately, and I'm amazed how often Paul visits a city and the prominent women of the city are mentioned.

These women in the Bible had anything but simple lives,yet they were considered Godly. In fact they had undoubtedly had way more complicated lives than most people living in America. They had servants. And if there's one thing that makes life complicated and that requires wisdom, it's people.
And so do brothers who play with your camera and take pictures of kitties.

Simple & easy isn't what the Christian life is. Simple and easy does not force us to cry out to God for help. In fact, often he calls us to the opposite in our lives. The people I admire the most have usually had great hardships that have had to overcome. And what classic literature is about the hero decluttering his closet?* Classic literature is all about hard and complicated situations.

Instead of Simple & Easy, God often gives us Complicated and Hard.  Because Complication in our life brings wisdom. Hardness brings perseverance. Both bring growth and depth to our life. And dependence on God. Often it seems like you've just mounted one hurdle and then God brings another need, another person, another problem into our life. Should we run away from these, because they'll ruin our Simple Life? Our family often says "Life is Tough and then you die." And while we say it with half a smile, there is a great amount of truth to that.  Life is tough, and that's okay. Praise the Lord.

Are people going to remember you for having the time to do everything that was important for "you" or
are they going to remember you for having the time to do everything that was important for others?

What story are you leaving behind?

*Yes, yes, there is balance in managing our possessions wisely. More later...


Rosanne E. Lortz said...

Very interesting...looking forward to more of your posts on this topic.

rebekah said...

Nice. Quite thought provoking. Thanks, Sara!

Amanda Evans said...

Bravo! This is right up there with Femina in the perceptive/wisdom level. I usually tell my babies (in a sugary, cooing voice), "You make things complicated!"

Emily Grace said...

I really like what Amy Dacyzyn said about "the simple life" in the Tightwad Gazette. Often you have to work hard to get the freedom people think you can get by "simplifying."

We read about the Apostles in Acts this week, and about how they knew they needed to preach the Word and not neglect it for waiting on tables. The tables were to be waited on, just by others who needed to meet pretty high criteria. This has prompted me to think about things I've taken on that aren't *my* mission or calling. They had some idea of simplifying - it just didn't look like Real Simple.

Sara The Farmerette said...

Thanks everyone. I love your comments Emily. :)