As promised here are the other two quotes from the chapter on Simplicity from Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster (If you’ve jumped into this post without reading my first one titled “God’s Kingdom”, you may want to read that first.):
- “The inward reality of simplicity involves a life of joyful unconcern for possessions.”
I love the wording “joyful unconcern” because of the complexity of those two words being put together. They don’t seem like they should be in the same sentence, but in this context it is a beautiful way to put possessions into proper perspective. It doesn’t say I shouldn’t care about possessions, but they should not be a concern that I spend my time focusing on. I interpret “unconcern” as being good with what you’ve got and not focusing on what you don’t. Freedom to be content with your gifts from God reflects a healthy soul. If my heart is co
ntent with my current reality and circumstances, no matter how difficult, I am free to experience joy. When I put this together and apply it to my life, it really connects to putting God before ‘things’.
If I’m really honest, I don’t struggle as much with what I don’t have, but sometimes my initial response isn’t one of being joy filled when other people get things. That sounds really ugly to say out loud. Most of the time it is relational or position based, but there is still something wrong with that. When I check my heart I have to ask, “Where is that feeling coming from?” I don’t have a great, insightful answer to that question and clearly need to dig deeper with God. In the deepest parts of my soul, I know I don’t deserve anything that God gives me and I am thankful for all He does. I want my first response to be
excitement for what God gives to people in my life.
Here is the next quote that I love:
- “Freedom from anxiety is characterized by three inner attitudes. If what we have we received as a gift, and if what we have is to be cared for by God, and if what we have is available to others, then we will possess freedom from anxiety.”
Which of those three attitudes are easy or challenging? I’ve been most focused on “cared for by God”. When it comes to finances I’ve had the perspective of me caring for what God’s given us (Mike and me). If we make a bad investment and lose money, I’m not caring for God’s resources well. The thinking isn’t much different, but what it means for me is that I need to be more prayerful so God is directing what I do with His gifts. By putting my trust and faith in His provision, I am free of worry about holding on to what I have.
My friend Paul gave great perspective in Philippians 4:11-13 when he said he learned to be content in all things. He had the experience of both humble means and prosperity. Gosh, Paul was in jail when he wrote this letter to the church in Philippi. He continued to say, “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Paul didn’t do it alone and we don’t need to either.
What next steps do you need to take to put the two quotes above into reality if you want to simplify your life and seek God’s Kingdom first? Answer that question and then do it. It may start with listening to the series on Simplicity from Willow Creek Community Church. Here is the link: http://media.willowcreek.org/weekend/simplify/#content