Creating space to receive simplicity

11 Mar

This is a picture of Ke’e Beach which is the western most corner of  the United States on the Island of Kauai.  Whenever I look at this picture I think of how wonderfully quiet Kauai was, and especially this beach, which is at the beginning of the main road that goes around most of Kauai. Life in Kauai seemed simple and it was very freeing.

The reason this image popped back into my head today was because I was meditating on Lent and how over the years, I have used Lent season to center myself, which usually involves simplifying my life.

As most of you also experience, life can be hectic and quite the whirlwind.  I find that the pace of life for me gets the best of me and I find myself being thrown from one thing to another- of course, all of them are important and usually places where I am needed.

My husband, Joe encouraged us to read through a book together to declutter our lives a little bit about a month ago. I’m finally picking it up and reading it slowly but surely.  It’s called “Freedom of Simplicity” by Richard J. Foster. I love this new concept that I learned about simplicity:

What we do does not give us simplicity but it does put us in a place where we can receive it

I like this concept that simplicity is not something I can achieve, but rather that I receive.  Foster calls simplicity grace because it is given to us by God.  We declutter our lives not to say that we’ve accomplished the goal of simplifying our lives but so that we can create the space to receive simplicity.

Foster goes on to say that simplicity is a tension between inner and outer dimensions- that it is an inward reality that can be seen in an outward life style. If simplicity was only outward, it would be fairly easy.

It struck me that in my strive to achieve simplicity, I had lost sight of the very goal I set out to accomplish. And I realized that its because I’m trying to achieve something that I can only receive.

As we journey in day two of Lent and are focused on what we can achieve (like me trying to reflect on Lent everyday!) this is just another gentle reminder from God that so much of what we strive to accomplish, God generously and graciously gives to us.

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