Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and
where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. . . .
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. —Matthew 6:19–21
I have been learning to simplify my life and by doing so I find myself closer to God and what He wants to do in my life. Jesus wants me to know that I don’t need all the things or experiences I think I do. What I really need is to keep first things first – Jesus and his kingdom. My life is much, more simple when one thing matters most!
My journey of simplicity has created spaces and an openness in my life. There is more time to focus on the present moment. I have more time to read and create artistically. For me, getting older, or aging, has been about simplifying and letting go. While letting go has always been a struggle in my life because I like to control things and be in control. I have come to realize that I can’t manage all the stuff and activities anymore.
I’m learning to let go! Richard Rohr said it best: “The practice of letting go and embracing
simplicity is one way to prepare ourselves for what is to come. One day we all will have to let go of everything – even our own breath.” I believe learning to live simply prepares me for my last breath but it also grows in me the freedom to live here and now.
Another author I’ve been reading on this topic is Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. (Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us.) She suggests several practices for simplifying your life:
Start small, choose a few areas where you can practice “letting go”. Clean out the garage, basement, closet or attic.
Limit your choices; from cereal choices to TV channels. What is it like to limit your choices? Does it feel free, or do you want more? If someone admires something of yours, give it away. How does that feel?
What gadgets in your home make you freer? Could you share any? Which could you get rid of and never miss?
Out of necessity a year ago, I was forced to practice simplicity. We decided to sell our house
after 15 years. Cleaning out the basement, closets and the garage had to be done. It truly was a practice of letting go AND letting God speak to me. Downsizing was going to require choice and giving up some “things”. After a year of not having all the things I gave away, recycled or threw away, I don’t miss anything. I am spending more time listening to what God is saying to me.
What brings you into the presence of Christ? Spend time there.