Simplicity has been one of the themes that I am spending significant time thinking through. In some ways life is simple here since we don't deal with traffic and the extra things that come from driving cars. In other ways life is complex here due to the interconnectedness of all of our relationships. We work, play and live with all the same people and it is beyond comprehension if one hasn't lived in a culture like that before. Definitely not simple...
Simplicity is not easy. Rooting things down to their basics and doing that well is not an easy task and it takes intentionality to live that way. I think when we are living a complex lifestyle we can miss the essence of life since we are so distracted. As a result our lives have little or no focus. If however we focus in on the essentials of life and learn to live those well then we are going to see a clarity that we haven't before. We also are going to have a totally different rhythm to life.
For example learning to honor the sabbath is a simple concept. As Mike Breen states it we simply learn to work from rest. Then we prune and abide in Christ so that we can work from rest again. There, simple. However, making time to rest, valuing rest, resisting those things that can keep us from rest is challenging. There are other questions that come up about how to rest, what to prune, what does fruitfulness look like in our life. The concept is simple, the execution difficult. I find however as I practice one aspect of following Christ it brings other things into clarity and my life becomes a little more focused and a a little more simple.
The process is similar in the physical training I am doing. I am learning to focus on simple (not easy) functional movements that work many areas of the body. Do them intensely and be done. I am finding that I am working out less but am faster and stronger than I have been in at least 10 years. Plus I have more time available for the family. Simple, integrated and effective.
We should resist the tendency to think that our maturation in Christ means making things more complex. Maturation is just the opposite, it is simplicity and focus. The Christian life is very simple and yet challenging. We need to learn a handful of principles that allow us to connect with the way Christ lived and to connect with him directly. These principles should guide our life and be what we organize ourselves around. We need to make following Christ more simple, more integrated, less complex and more effective.