The Call to Simplicity

There seem to be times when one thing after another happens that all seem to point toward the same idea, same need, same change. One or two of these instances and we might shrug it off. But when you start noticing them all around you, they morph into one big sign that begs you to listen up.

In a Bible study I took a couple of years ago, this sort of chain of events was called "the mercy of confirmation." It was that when God really wants us to do something, he is merciful and will often tell us over and over again to get our attention. Of course we ought to respond and obey the first time, but it usually takes us a little while to catch on...

Such has been the case lately, for me where God has gently been placing circumstances in my path that have all been pointing, like a giant, glowing arrow, toward the call to slow down.

It started off innocently enough, when Michael and I decided to check out a local bird-watching walk. Yes, bird-watching. It was nothing neither of us had ever had much interest in, but it would be educational, outdoors and free. Why not? And after our first excursion—where the other "birders" heaped years' worth of insights and knowledge upon us—we were in awe of how peaceful the whole event had been, where we'd stand beneath a knotted, hundred-year-old tree and scan its branches for minutes on end, looking for a fluttering of wings or pecking of beaks.

Little did I know that my soul was thirsting for more of this.

A couple of weeks later, Michael suggested we begin a weekly routine of observing our own Sabbath. (A few months ago, we did enjoy one day of intentional rest, but that was as far as it went that time.) And the first week we tried it, I could barely sit still, as I stared at the dishes stacked in the sink, made mental notes of emails to type, or recipes to look up. I even kept a to-do list for the next day, when I could start tackling productivity with abandon. A sad reality that I hardly even knew how to appreciate rest.

Multiple sermons, readings and Scripture verses later, one thing started to pop up and then another. They strung together like beads, each building off the other until I got a Bible study in the mail that made the string complete. It was a study titled, "Becoming a Woman of Simplicity."

As I started moving through the pages (and a full review will come later), I started to see how everything I'd been reading—about abiding in Jesus, about our need for the Holy Spirit, about Jerusalem being rebuilt—fit together like a masterpiece: "She is a woman of profound simplicity because she has only one focus: being simply and purely devoted to Christ," the introduction read.

That's when I understood that the Holy Spirit was calling me into an exploration of simplifying, of uncluttering for the sake of putting Christ first. I'm still at the very beginning of this journey and not sure the specifics it entails just yet. Except that I know I'm going to take a little break from the weekly to-do list posts (motivating though they are; perhaps too much so!) and try to keep my ears perked and eyes widened as I wait for more "mercies" to come my way...

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  1. Carmen, I have absolutely NO IDEA why your blog is not in my google reader. it is an absolute SHAME, and i am frustrated. HOWEVER, it is being put there right away.

    I love that; the mercy of confirmation. I find that there are seasons in my life where one thought or idea comes up over and over and over and over again, so that when I think back about that season or when I continue to learn about that idea, the two are interconnected.

    Simplicity. I can't wait to hear about your journey on this route to simplicity. You are a beloved sister in Christ and I am excitedly putting your blog in my Google reader and will not miss a post ;)

  2. What a great post!!! You are such a great writer and it is so easy to read and understand! haha That sounds lame but there are a lot of bloggers out there that I can barely read the font let alone the paragraph.

    Awesome to see how we continually learn things about God and what He wants to be /do. I feel like I'd be in heaven and I'd STILL learn things about God...amazing. :)

  3. @ stephanieamber - Thanks so much for the kind, kind words!

    Yes, I look forward to sharing what I pick up and learn through this journey to seek more simplicity in my routine. I'm already working on my next blog post regarding this!

  4. @ Danica - I feel the same way and totally rejoice in the fact that there's always something more to learn about God. As well as the fact that he's always teaching us more about him. A beautiful cycle! Thanks so much for the note and the compliments! :)

  5. simplicity seems so freeing. however, so hard to find the balance. i tend to bounce back and forth from laundry lists of busy schedules to living simply on the daily mercies of God letting tomorrow worry about tomorrow. its a balancing act for sure. great post. like the new look.

  6. @ Tamara - I know, that is exactly the catch-22 I've found myself in! I think our weekly Sabbaths that we've recently instituted will really help focus me and bring more of these kinds of things to light. Thanks so much for the comment :)

  7. Wow, I love this post. And I love this quote: "She is a woman of profound simplicity because she has only one focus: being simply and purely devoted to Christ." I am looking forward to your review of the bible study!


  8. Dear Carmen, found your blog from Money Saving Mom. Simplicity is so beautiful when you rest on the Sabbath. It took me awhile too, to leave things lie, but spending a whole day reading, listening, learning, praying...all about God and to not feel guilty is such a blessing. We serve an awesome God who even commands us to do this! Ex. 20:8-11 Blessings, Leslie

  9. When you make the Sabbath a regular part of your week, not only do you feel much better, but you're also following God's commandments! He knew what he was doing when He gave us those...

  10. @ Anonymous - You totally nailed it on the head! Thanks for your note and encouragement!


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