Simplifying Your Life - Part 1
I'm going to spend the next couple of days thinking about what it means to simplify your life. It's been on my mind lately as I've been preaching on the vision of our church, and talking at length with church members and staff about the importance of a simple, clear vision.
Years ago, when I arrived at the church I've been serving for the past eight years, I discovered that church leaders had created a "mission" statement some years before I got there. It was a paragraph long, at least filled with all kinds of ideas.
At one of our elder meetings, I asked if anyone could recite the mission statement of the church. No one could tell me anything about it. At last, one elder (who had served on the team who created it) managed to come up with one part of one sentence.
The point was made. Our mission statement was too long, too convoluted. Hardly anyone knew what it said, and no one was really connected to it. We needed to simplify things, and so we began working on doing just that. In the end, we settled on a simply vision statement. "Our vision is to Know Jesus and Show Jesus to the world."
This simple vision has carried the church forward for the past seven years--to unprecedented growth, life and vibrancy. When we started focusing on what really mattered, we began to see changes in the way we functioned, welcomed, conducted mission and ministry.
I've discovered over time that when I apply the same kind of practice to my own life--when I simplify my focus when it comes to my faith journey. When I keep my focus on Jesus and living according to his example, I find that my attitude toward others changes, too. I also find the courage to leave the heavy lifting of life to God, and to simply surrender the outcomes.
The Psalmist who wrote Psalm 131 declared, "I have stilled and quieted my soul... like a weaned child is my soul within me." If you have ever had a baby who was going through the process of being weaned off of milk or formula--it's not fun. There's a lot of turmoil, crying and drama.
But the Psalmist declares the opposite is true about his spirit. Because he focused on God, because he surrendered the outcomes, he is simply able to be at peace.
May you experience the peace that, according to the Bible, "passes understanding." May you be blown away at the level of calm you can have when you simply focus on God, when you simply turn your life over to God, when you simply make God the center of your life. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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