A Simple Life

   Written by on April 27, 2017 at 10:12 am
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Do you wish for simplicity in your life?  Do the words exhausted, overwhelmed, overscheduled, stressed, cluttered, and complex describe your life?  If so, your life is anything but simple.

Many people are looking for simplicity.  But, what does that mean?  Is your definition of a simple life one with clear direction, purpose, and a manageable activity level?  Seems easy, right?  However, the simple life can feel out of reach.  Charles Wagner was a pastor in the French Reformed Church.  In the The Simple Life, he wrote, “The complexity of life appears in the number of our material needs.  It is a fact, universally conceded, that our needs have grown with our resources.  The more goods a man has, the more he wants.”  What do you think about the fact he wrote that in 1904, before the invention of the car, the airplane, the television, the computer, the cell phone, or social media?

The world is not going to slow down.  Technology is not going away; 24/7 access to everything is here to stay.  We have more options coming at us and less time to decide on them.  Steve Jobs supports this struggle when he said “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.  But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Yes, everyone faces the challenge of how to live simply in a world of increasing complexity.  A simple life is much broader than cleaning out the garage or getting your bills organized.  Here are three steps to moving to a more simplified life.

First, take time to understand who you are and who you are not.

When is the last time you stepped back from the grind of daily life to think about who you are and what God wants you to be?  Are you listening to the voices of others to form your sense of identity?  That can cause you to live the life others want rather than the life that flows out of your own values, longings, priorities, gifts, and personality.    

Are you, basically, an introvert?  Do you love the outdoors?  Are you energized by travel or would you rather stay home and read a book?  How do you evaluate the opportunities life presents you?   Do you look at them based on the merits or benefits of the opportunity?  Or, on the other hand, do you look at them based on your priorities, values, and gifts?  Is your life based on your purpose or someone else’s expectations?

Second, own your life.

The second step to simplicity is responsibility, accepting that you own your life.  I love the words of Dr. Henry Cloud, “You are ridiculously in charge of your life.”  When it comes to simplicity, you may be your own worst enemy.  Much of the complexity and clutter that exist in your life maybe because you have allowed them to be there by the decisions you have made.

Third, make your Yes, Yes and your No, No.

You have taken the time to understand your identity, your purpose, and what you value; now don’t be afraid to put a firewall around them.  Life becomes simpler when you build healthy boundaries.  What is the basis of healthy boundaries?  Learn to say no.  Saying yes to too many requests, not setting healthy boundaries, not knowing your limits, and always trying to please everyone contributes to a cluttered life.  You can do almost anything you want, but you just can’t do everything.

As Mr. Jobs said, the move toward simplicity is not easy.  You have to have the resolve and discipline to recalibrate your life around that which is most important.  It takes daring to eliminate the nonessential.  Ask yourself, where are you spending time and energy that is not reflective of the priorities in your life?

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.  2 Corinthians 1:12

Call us with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions; our phone number is 434-808-2637.

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or dgowin@discoverycounseling.org.

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