Staples has the “easy button,” Real Simple has a magazine, Marie Kondo has magic that is life-changing, but life is anything but easy, simple, or tidy. Life is messy. We know this, so we remove the clutter and the noise, paint our walls “linen white,” and live as simply as possible. We make space to breathe because all the people, the work, activities, celebrations, struggles, i.e. life– the good and the not-so-good, fill up the well of our hearts, minds, and souls. And we cannot control any of it. So we control the space around all of it.
But then the space becomes the well.
There are interruptions, emergencies, spilled milk on the sofa, that stack of bills, unanswered emails, or an ongoing illness. Our imagined life, for a moment, felt neat and tidy, but then actual life happened again reminding us that everything is not “real simple” after all.
Living simply is not the problem, though. Mother Teresa lived a simple life; so did Jesus. The problem with the way we make simple living today, however, is that we complicate simplicity and place our hope in it. Our generation complicates everything. We love to reinvent the wheel, and yet Solomon reminds us that “there is nothing new under the sun.” We categorize, catalogue, and chronicle our journey on social media- even our attempt to live simply. We package up our life into a neat box (at least we try to) with temporary delight and ease, but we inevitably return to our previously frazzled state wondering why life is so utterly hard. Life is hard. It has always been, and it will always be. There is no hack, smartphone app, organizational system, blog, eBook, or life coach to make life simple enough for us all the time. What was true for our grandparents’ generation is true for ours: we must simply live.
We are not the first pilgrims on this journey. Many who have walked before us had harder roads to travel. This does not mean that our journeys are easy or insignificant. Every life matters, and every story needs to be told- and lived.
Live Your Story
The way to simply live is to live the abundant life, which is found in Christ. He came for this- not to give us a simple life, but to give us a full life. And just as no two fingerprints are alike, no two lives are the same. Embrace the mess that is life, and surrender it to the One who holds it all together. Instead of perfecting a simple life, live it! Give your life to others, serve God, lead those around you to the truth, and look ahead to eternity when life will no longer be complicated and messy. Go ahead and buy the bins, planners, and mail order clothing; just don’t base your life on them. You have a story to tell- simply live to tell it!