These past few months have been for me all about simplifying. I got rid of all the clothes, books, stationary, and to-dos I didn’t really needed and just kept the essentials. This whole process has been very eye opening. You really don’t realize how much stuff you really own until you move… or simply empty out your closets.
The modernization of our world has given us an endless amount of possibilities in every aspect of our lives. We must be very thankful for that, but also very careful. We can easily end up complicating our lives and become overwhelmed about everything we “have” to have or do.
When it comes to our spiritual growth, we fall in that trap too. We have a wide selection of Bible translations and formats to choose from, books, sermons, devotionals, reading plans, podcasts, study guides, commentaries, prayer journals, lettering, Sunday morning service, Sunday night service, prayer meetings, women brunches, youth camps, Bible school… and a thousand things more.
Only because we can afford to do something it doesn’t mean we should do it.
And this is exactly what “Simplify Your Spiritual Life” by Don Whitney is all about.
Simplify Your Spiritual Life
When we become too overwhelmed, we might feel the need to just throw everything away and hide under our blankets. This is not the solution. A simple spiritual life is not about living in a forest and just take long walks. Actually, Jesus had the best spiritual life of all time and was very active, always busy and at the service of others. The key was that He had (has) his priorities clear. He was doing what He needed to do, nothing less and nothing more.
Simplifying is not so much about doing fewer things as it is about doing the right things (p. 19).
In 200 pages, Whitney offers us a variety of things we can try to simplify our Bible reading, prayer life, time management, and even our relationships with others. He, of course, warns us not to try to implement everything at the same time. As you read each chapter —only a couple of pages long— you’ll be able to identify little tweaks you can make to improve your routine.
As it has so much wisdom to benefit from, I’m sure I’ll be getting back to this book when I start feeling overwhelmed. We always need to be considering our ways and aligning ourselves to the path God wants us to be in.
In some ways we’re doing more than ever spiritually, but enjoying and profiting from it less. Many areas of our lives are productive and prosperous, yet we’ve never felt so spiritually withered (p. 23).
The author is not offering a “how to have eternal and perfect joy right now” formula (you’ll have to wait for heaven to get that). Neither he’ll give you tips on how to read your Bible or pray less and “more effectively”. Having communion with God through the spiritual disciplines is a delight for the true Christian. It is the unnecessary clutter we burden ourselves with that ruins everything for us.
We don’t simplify our spiritual life in order to avoid the spiritual disciplines, but to practice them more fruitfully (p. 53).
If you’ve become tired and feel that pursuing the spiritual disciplines is more a chore than a joy, you need to do something about it. God wants us to delight in Him, not merely check off box everyday. When we take the time to make our spiritual life more simple and enjoyable, everything else we do will benefit from it.
The spiritual life is the best place to start simplifying all of life. Any transformation there has the power to affect everything else we do (p. 53).