Go Against the Flow
We live in a world that values material possessions, consumerism, and excess. Simplicity longed seemed like an unusual value to embrace, but in today’s overstressed world it is looking more and more attractive. However, for Christians, simplicity has always been a desirable characteristic that can help them live a more faithful and fulfilling life. Jesus himself modeled simplicity in his teachings and lifestyle.
Seek God First
Talking about simplicity and actually living it are two different things. The need to balance work, family, and other commitments can be overwhelming, leaving Christians feeling exhausted and drained. This can affect their spiritual life, leading to a sense of distance from God.
To tackle this issue, we have to prioritize our spiritual life. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” As we make our spiritual life a priority, ensuring that time is set aside for prayer, bible study, and meditation. This will help us recharge and find the strength to face the demands of modern life. It also helps us get our priorities straight so that we can ruthlessly cut unnecessary things from our life.
Be Content with the life you have
In a world that’s constantly pushing us to consume more and more, it’s crucial that we become intentional about embracing simplicity. Marketers are constantly pushing the subtle message that we’re only happy when we have the latest and greatest possessions, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, living a simple life is better for our mental health. If fact I would argue that simplicity is the key to happiness.
As Christians, our happiness is not tied to what we own. This is counterintuitive because we think that a new car, a nicer house, or a long vacation will make us happy. But research has found that people who live a simple life are happier than those who amass possessions. This is because true happiness comes from our relationship with God, and from living out the purpose that He created you for. Paul said in Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Learn to Care only about what God Desires
I believe that Paul’s secret was that he only cared about God’s opinion. He didn’t have to try and impress anyone else. He was living for an audience of one. We can’t experience true happiness without accepting and loving ourselves.
One of the biggest reasons why people struggle with self-acceptance and self-love is because they are too concerned about what others think of them. Society has created a stereotype of perfection, and people often feel like they have to meet certain standards to be accepted by others. The constant need for validation puts a tremendous amount of pressure on individuals, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and stress.
The truth is, we can never make everyone happy. There will always be someone who criticizes us for the way we look, talk, or act. It is impossible to please everyone, and trying to do so can be detrimental to our mental and emotional well-being. That is why caring only for what God thinks is the key to happiness.
God is the only one who truly knows us. He knows our strengths, weaknesses, and desires. He created us in His image, and He loves us unconditionally. Unlike humans, God does not judge us based on our looks, accomplishments, or social status. He accepts us just the way we are and sees the beauty in our imperfections.
When we care only for what God thinks, we free ourselves from the burden of seeking validation from others. We focus on living a life that pleases Him and follow His commandments. We become more forgiving, understanding, and compassionate towards ourselves and others. We learn to embrace our unique qualities and use them to glorify God.
Simple living starts in your heart
I am focusing on this because I believe that true simplicity begins in the heart. It is simplifying all of our desires down to one. The desire to please God. When that is your internal North Star, then all of the external aspects of life will be much easier to simplify and prioritize. When we accept and love ourselves as God does, we are no longer slaves to external factors that constantly change. We find a sense of peace, joy, and contentment that can’t be taken away. We are confident in who we are because we know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Having said that, I do want to offer you some practical advice on how to simplify your outer life.
Five practical steps to simplify your life
To simplify your life, you must begin by decluttering. Get rid of anything that you no longer need or use. Start with your wardrobe and donate clothing that you haven’t worn in the past six months. After that, move on to other parts of your home and get rid of any other items that no longer serve a purpose.
Prioritizing is another essential aspect of simplifying your life. Evaluate your time and energy resources and figure out what is essential to fulfilling your one goal of pleasing God. Once you identify what matters the most, focus your energy and time on those priorities. This will enable you to simplify your life by reducing the number of activities that make you feel overwhelmed.
We live in a digital age. However, being connected to all our devices all the time can be overwhelming. Unplugging is an excellent way to simplify your life. Turn off your phone, computer, and other devices and spend time with God with no distractions. This will enable you to disconnect from the world, recharge your batteries, and gain clarity.
4. Learn to say ‘no.’
One common mistake people make that complicates their lives is over-committing. Saying “yes” to every request can leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Learn to say ‘no’ more often, to allow yourself time to focus on what matters most to you. Again, the key to this is a heart attitude that says I am only going to say yes to the things that God is asking me to do.
5. Practice mindfulness
Living in the moment is another way of simplifying your life. Be present in every moment, and don’t try to multitask or rush through tasks. Instead, involve yourself in the present moment and give it your undivided attention. Jesus said it this way, “take no thought for tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself”. Living like this will help you reduce stress and increase your overall happiness.