I am just emerging out of several weeks of moving stuff. During the month of August we moved our youngest to a house in Oklahoma City and my mother to an assisted living apartment in Baton Rouge. The moves have been physically and emotionally exhausting. Have you ever been at that point where you were so exhausted that you couldn’t sleep? It makes no sense, when rest is what your body needs, but it won’t come. In one of those sleepless nights I realized that the most recent move of my mom was the sixteenth move I have helped with in ten years! I have remained in the same house for 30 years, but between my children and my mom we have packed and moved furniture and hundreds of boxes of things 16 times from Georgia to NYC to Oklahoma and all over Baton Rouge!
The most recent move with my mom has brought me to a new place in my life. As I watched her desperately cling to her things that just wouldn’t fit in a smaller home, I realized the hold and power our things can have on us. I don’t want my life to be like that. I have many beautiful things and lots of stuff. As I looked around my own home in those sleepless nights I realized that I’ve let the clutter of too many things take over. I definitely don’t want my children to have to go through what I have recently endured when we must downsize one day in our older years. Oh you wouldn’t see it so much if you came to visit me - just don’t look behind the closet doors or under the beds! Clutter and piles are hiding everywhere.
It’s not so much about the things either, but more about the focus. I am an artist. God created me with a deep appreciation for beauty. He is a God of beauty, but also a God of order. I want to simplify my life. Remove the clutter. Purge the things that bring chaos and disorder and focus more on life with Jesus - the beautiful life He has planned for me. So I’ve set a goal. One room a month - purge, organize, simplify. It will take me a year to get through my entire house, but I want to set a goal that is attainable and be intentional.
I confess this is really not a new goal for me. I have often set forth to purge, organize and put more order in my home, but somewhere along the way I always get overwhelmed or distracted. Surely that resonates with someone else out there! We’ve lived in this house for 30 years. It seems I’m better at cleaning out and organizing others as is quite evident in the moves I’ve helped with over the years.
Perhaps it’s just easier to deal with other peoples messes than my own? Very dear friends have even offered to help me through the years, but I sense this is something I must do alone. So by His grace, I have begun the project again. The master bath is done and I am now attempting the master bedroom. Next month is the closet. Now there is a real challenge!
As I work on purging my physical surroundings I already sense the Lord exposing the need to purge and cleanse my heart and mind. It can get so cluttered with my own agendas, things I cling to that aren’t His best for me.
The physical often exposes the spiritual.
What I do does not bring me into the grace of simplicity, but it may put me in a place where I can receive it. I pray that my actions will cultivate the soil of my heart so that I may better engage in life with a focus and devotion to my Savior. In the process I will set my life before the Father in such a way that He has access to work into me the grace of simplicity. I want my life to be a life of devotion to Jesus, consumed totally with knowing Him. We are never complete until our lives find our rest totally and completely in Him.
Simplicity is one of the disciplines of the faith. I like to think of them as holy habits of the heart. I have read many books on simplicity and truly desire to make the freedom of simplicity a reality for my life.
It’s so important to keep asking, what is it or
who is it that captivates my heart?
It is evident from this Scripture in Psalm 42 that the psalmist is desperate in His thirst for God. He knows that only God can satisfy and cries out in the next verse, when can I go and meet with God?
Our thirst for God is his gift to us to help draw us daily into the power of His presence. We must accept the gift.
To do so may mean clearing out whatever is in the way.
I love the words of St. Augustine “you made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you.” These words sum up his life which was consumed with knowing God. St. Augustine found boundless love, complete forgiveness, and enduring peace in his Savior.
What does a relationship you would describe as devoted look like? It's one of worship, one who clings to the very words that God speaks. It takes time. Just as you give time to an earthly relationship of a spouse, a child, or a friend, to really know that person, your relationship with Jesus takes time. Time in study and meditation on His Word. Time in His presence listening in prayer. Time to develop trust and intimacy in the relationship. When you are truly devoted to another you find the time to invest in the relationship. You free yourself of anything that distracts you from the best in the relationship. That devotion leads to a life of simplicity because you live by His words of truth. You learn to recognize His voice and know which way to go as you face difficult decisions in life.
When you choose to live a life of devotion to Jesus your heart's cry becomes Jesus, You are my life, the pearl of greatest price, my holy Delight. A life of devotion to Christ leads us into a life of simplicity because we find ourselves experiencing Jesus as the lover of our souls. My prayer is that a life devoted to Jesus is not just one that I read about in books and other people's stories but my story. As I purge the clutter out of my life and seek to fix my eyes on Jesus His thoughts become my thoughts, His desires my desires. I become captivated by Him.
Is there something or someone in your life
that is hindering you from looking to the founder and perfecter of your faith?
Let us fix our eyes totally on Jesus!
What is keeping you from a life
of devotion to Christ?
It might be your home. Maybe you need to remove the clutter too. It could be a relationship, even ministry, or have you let work consume your thoughts and mind?
There is great freedom in a life of simplicity led by the Spirit. It is my prayer that as I grow in the discipline of simplicity as an inward reality, my outward life will reflect the choices I am making.
As I write I am reminded of Psalm 37:4,
my theme verse for this year.
Father help me to live a life that is anchored in simplicity.
May my character and life find their greatest delight in You
that I might more authentically
and beautifully display Your heart
to the world.
This morning the song Captivate Us by Watermark
kept running though my mind.
Captivate us, Lord Jesus
Set our eyes on You
Devastate us with Your presence
And rushing river, draw us nearer
Holy fountain consume us with You
Captivate us Lord Jesus, with You
(N. Nockels, C. Nockels, C. Hall)
Won’t you take a moment and listen to this beautiful musical prayer on the link below.
I think it captures the heart of simplicity for all of us who long to fix our eyes on the Savior,
throw off all that entangles us,
and store up treasures in heaven.
Seeking a heart of simplicity that is captivated by Jesus alone,
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