"it doesn’t have to be epic…"

It doesn’t have to be epic…

“It doesn’t have to be epic.”  Ev Bogue wrote those words in his 30 Dec email newsletter…and I completely agree with him.  While simple and sane, this advice is completely contrary to most of the motivation-speak in the world today–whether in books, blogs, G+, TV, or elsewhere and regardless of whether secular or sacred. The buzz of the world, even ironically among those writing about simplicity/minimalism or even Christian living, is fixated on the superlative.

The buzz is wrong.  It doesn’t have to be epic.
Your life doesn’t have to be the most amazing.  Your house doesn’t have to be the biggest.  Your minimalism doesn’t have to be the most spartan.  Your blog doesn’t have to have the most readers.  Your charity doesn’t have to be the most well-funded.  Your children don’t have to be the most involved.  Your devotional life doesn’t have to be the most perfect.  Your ministry doesn’t have to be the most ‘successful.’  Your church doesn’t have to be the most influential…get it?
What matters more than ‘epicness’ is faithfulness.
Faithfulness to be (i.e. to do), even if you are afraid.  Faithfulness to act, even if you aren’t the best.  Faithfulness to try, even if you fail.  Faithfulness…as Christians…to Christ, even if the world laughs.
Ev was right.  It doesn’t have to be epic.  It has to be, and it has to be faithful.

(Pssst…If you enjoyed this post, I’d be grateful if you shared it…thanks!)

photo courtesy of stock.xchng

blogging reinvented

Just over a year ago I dreamed up and launched “simply, Christian” as an outlet to write about living the simple Christian life—a mashup of simple/minimalist thought and a Christ-centered life.

I wanted to change the world.

I wrote steadily for a while but then, like so any others, I tapered off.  At some point, I pretty much just stopped, jumped over to Tumblr, and started reblogging cool stuff that other people wrote.  Why?  Ironically, I was too busy.

Pretty hypocritical for a blog focused on simplicity, no?  I thought so, too.

Maybe it was hypocrisy.

Maybe it was just a false start.

Maybe I wasn’t committed enough.

Maybe my scope was too big.

Maybe I was just scared.

I’m not sure exactly why I failed, but that’s okay.  The fact is, I still want to change the world.

So, how exactly am I planning to go about this?  After tons of off-line brainstorming, doodling, rambling, and filling up pages of my trusty ecosystem notebook, I think I’ve crafted a model, a vision, a plan both for life and for blogging.  It’s a simple approach…

be. share. encourage.

Expanded just a little: be the change…share the change…encourage the change

Will this ‘succeed’ in the eyes of the world?  I dunno.  I don’t care.
Will this succeed in glorifying God, sharing in the work of Christ, and building a community that encourages others to do the same?  I hope so.

Will you join me?

live simply…simply live

traveling light, a theology of simplicity

Then [Jesus] sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for the road,” He told them, “no walking stick, no traveling bag, no bread, no money; and don’t take an extra shirt.”
Luke 9.2-3 (HCSB)

Does being a Christian have anything to do with simple living?  I believe it does.  Twice Jesus sent out his disciples (first the 12, then the 72) into the world to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God.  Twice he exhorted them to travel light.  Why?

Traveling light minimizes distraction

If all I take with me is just what I need, then there is little risk of getting sidetracked or distracted along the way.  I’m not talking about stopping periodically to enjoy the scenery, savor a cup of coffee, or smell the proverbial roses–in fact, I’ll encourage that–but stopping to check email “just once more” because we’re conditioned to often results in loosing precious hours without even realizing it because email led to Twitter, which led to Facebook, which led to surfing, and so on.  The urgency of the crises facing the world today requires action, not distraction.  Being engaged with others via email, social media, and other avenues is a great way to coordinate, plan, and raise awareness, but if we become slaves to our inboxes then those avenues have become hindrances, not helps.

Traveling light brings freedom

Less ‘stuff’ necessarily means more freedom.  A storage unit filled with things you’ve not used in years is an anchor that keeps you in one spot, physically and emotionally.  Dragging along a wealth of things to ‘entertain’ the kids when you hit the road practically guarantees no one will have any real adventures, just virtual ones.  When Jesus sent the disciples out with only the essentials, he ensured they were not tied down to worldly concerns and had no hindrances to movement.  They could go wherever they were led or wherever there was a need.  So we too, when unencumbered, have the flexibility to truly respond to the needs we face, wherever they might be.

Traveling light requires faith

Perhaps the most obvious point about traveling light is that is requires us to step out on faith and trust in God’s providential care for us.  Many of us like to have backups for our backups and multiple safety nets…just in case.  While a backup plan isn’t necessarily a bad thing, not only can we be paralyzed by waiting for “just the right time” to act–which never comes, by the way–too much old-fashioned, American, self-reliance actually shows a lack of faith.  I don’t want to give the impression that I’m suggesting we throw caution to the wind at every opportunity, but we would no doubt all do better to trust God more and trust ourselves less.

(more thoughts on the theology of simplicity coming soon…)

‘Rise Above the Noise’ by @artofminimalism

Mike Donghia has recently released his first e-book titled, “Rise Above the Noise.”  In it, he describes the ‘noise’ that clutters and fills much of our lives…but more importantly, he teaches how we might “Rise Above the Noise” through simple living.  Unlike many of the recent books on simplicity and minimalism, Mike spends less time than most on the ‘hows’ of simplicity (though he certainly does write about that), focusing more on the ‘whys’ of a simple life.

It is his story of the ‘why’ that makes this work so appealing and sets it apart from the others.  His to-the-point writing style makes for a quick, convincing read and a compelling advocacy of simplicity.  If you’re looking for a list of “100 Things You Should Do to Simplify Your Life,” you won’t find it here.  What you will find, and what we are indebted to Mike for reminding us of, is a focus on the real benefits to be found from simplifying our lives.  Pruning the busyness of life is about so much more than creating idle time to do nothing.  Mike points out the true benefits of simplicity/minimalism, including healthy relationships, time for creativity, personal growth, and contentment, among others.

You can read more about his book, check out other reviews, and get your own copy of “Rise Above the Noise” at The Art of Minimalism.

you don’t have to quit your job (link)

Another great post by Courtney Carver: You don’t have to quit your jobto live a simpler life. If you read blogs about minimalism and simpleliving, you might notice that it seems like everyone quits their job,travels the world, writes a book and lives the life of their dreams…Read on!