I never imagined how good it would feel to shake off some of the excess, slow down, and live simply. When I finally recognized God as the only source of all the blessings that I enjoy, it was easier for me to swim against the tide, embrace the simpler life, and find a healthy balance in all of the consumerism, materialism, and busyness of modern life.
For some people the fast lane is a place they can thrive in. However, too much time spent there often manifests itself in unwanted consequences, like stress. Personally, I do find short trips in the fast lane rather exhilarating, so long as I do not spend extended periods of time there. Life tends to pass me by when I don’t steward my time wisely. Thankfully, over the years I have learned to be very intentional in my efforts to be a good steward of my time. This means learning when to say no to those activities that, although good, will only distract me from my God given purpose in life & my personal top five priorities (I have only five, simply because any more is too stressful!). Keeping it simple allows for clarity in my thinking which helps in discerning God’s will. Enjoying some simplicity in our daily schedule is all about focus. In addition, having the discipline to focus on a short list of priorities creates some space in my life to grow in my appreciation of what an abundant gift life really is.
When I am grateful, I find contentment, and I am happy with all that I have and who I am. Simplicity opens the door to so much more of what life has to offer. You discover more time to invest in personal growth and more time to nurture more loving and fruitful relationships. There is more money in your savings account as a result of less spending and no debt, and, as a result, more to share with those in need. Finally, with simplicity comes its greatest reward, more peace of mind and joy.
Simplicity is the virtue that allows us to be able to walk confidently and freely in and around the consumerism and materialism that grips our culture today. I do not wish to give the impression that I am some sort of anti-consumerist because I acknowledge that consumerism is what drives the standard of living that we all enjoy. I am simply an advocate for a kind of consumerism that is balanced and sensible. How then does a person resist the temptation to buy more? The best habit to ensure we keep our spending habits simple is to always preface every spending decision with the question, “Is this a need or a want?” This is a stewardship of finances question, and a great way to cultivate the virtue of simplicity in our daily choices as consumers, and eliminate debt!
Living simply expands our capacity to help those in the world, who are less fortunate than we are, which is one of the rewards of this virtue that my wife and I enjoy the most. It is so gratifying to know that those who struggle just to live, can be the beneficiaries of our simplicity. By sharing the fruits of the sacrifices we make in living a simpler life, we are able to offer hope to those who have nothing.
“Live simply so that others may simply live!”
St. Teresa of Calcutta
Without a doubt, simplicity means giving up some things. However, it is what we gain that makes this virtue so appealing. In what ways have you cultivated this virtue in your life, and what have been some of the rewards? I’d love to hear from you.
Over-extending ourselves, and our pocket books, are the greatest obstacles to enjoying the rewards of the stewardship lifestyle. If we are too busy being busy, peace of mind eludes us, and stress then easily overpowers us! In addition, excessive busyness leaves little or no room for God in our life. How am I supposed to hear the voice of God with all of the noise?
Simplicity creates some space in our lives to be even better stewards. We all have life leadership roles, be it as a parent, spouse, a friend, at work, at church, or in the community. Any time we try to help someone get to heaven we are acting as a leader. As stewardship leaders we will give those we lead a wonderful gift by encouraging them to live simply.