I went on vacation last week and I had a blast! I went to Ft. Leonard Wood to visit a friend of mine and to get away from the Interwebs and video games. It was very relaxing, outside of the fact that I almost drowned three times, fell of a cliff and bruised my bum, and now have a stiff neck and back.
A week before my vacation, I prayed about what was going on in my life. I asked him what should I focus on while I was away. It became clear that "simplicity" should describe my life, but it doesn’t. But the question is how?
For most of us, life moves so fast that we hardly have time to eat. With so much happening so quickly, it’s easy to put God by the wayside. I know I do. So it stands to reason that we want to make things as simple as possible. But even if we do, are we our own worst enemies?
The world becomes more and more connected these days. There is a statistic somewhere says that one out of every 6 people are connected to the internet. (Yes, I just grabbed that number out of the air.) Even if it was less than that, 10 years ago, this wasn’t even possible! Messages are sent instantaniously to around the world and back. Video can stream to different people at once. More and more the Internet is going from experiment to required utility.
But how goes our lives? As we get more busy, we try to carve out more free time for ourselves. And even then, we have to "plan" free time so it meets our schedule.
I was at the doctor’s earlier today and there was a woman who had walked in for a prescription. As I was waiting, I overheard her argument with the staff saying that she called earlier to have the prescription ready by the time she got there. I don’t know how much time went by between that call and that afternoon, but she was very upset. As I sat there, I began to wonder what was going on in her life that made her so impatient. Yes, it’s annoying to wait but this is a case where she really didn’t have much control. The fact was that the prescription was written and she’d have to wait. She got up 2 minutes later and asked what was taking so long.
This is a case where she has made her own life complicated because she should have realized that complaining would do nothing to speed up the process. I’m sure it felt better for her to complain but at the end, it wasted time.
We all have moments like these. We make choices on how to complicate our lives. Very few of us actually choose to live simply. Take a look around you right now. List all the devices that are available to you for entertainment or distraction. I can name several:
- Power stapler
- swivel chair
I could go on! When I went on vacation, none of those things went with me (except a laptop in case I had to be called in to work). And I can’t tell you how refreshing it was not to be surrounded by these things! It forced me to slow down, relax, and look at life simply. My greatest realization was at the Lake of the Ozarks where I took a horseback ride. It was perfectly sublime! As I rode Chocolate (my horse), I realized just how humbling it was to just ride around on a horse. I saw two deer and they didn’t scamper away when approached. What amazed me the most was just how marvelous everything was.
That was it. No phone calls, no complicated decisions. Just me and a horse for an hour ride.
It made me question what I have done in my life that has made my life complicated. My job is incredibly peaceful. I’m in good financial stability. I could stand to lose a bit of weight but overall in good shape. I have it easy, compared to most other people. Yet, I still feel stressed.
I’d like to encourage you to stock of your life. Look at what you can do with out. Or look at what you can’t do without. Then leave it all behind and see what happens.
I hope you’ll be surprised as I was.