Friday, September 23, 2016

The Simple Life

As part of my reading for my Spiritual Formation course, we read a great little book on spiritual discipline (Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster).  It highlights a group of spiritual disciplines that can help us get closer to God.  One of these disciplines really resonated with me right now: the Discipline of Simplicity.

The idea is pretty straight forward.  We need to learn to simplify our lives more.  It's a crazy, chaotic world we live in.  We seem to fill it up with things to keep us "busy".  This busyness I believe contributes to some of our stress, anxiety, and tiredness.  The theory of simplicity is not so much to remove things from our lives, but to put them in their place.  For example, while having a smartphone is good, do we NEED the latest and greatest as soon as it comes out?  And is the smartphone a tool for our use or do we let the smartphone rule us?  How many of us can put down their phone from the time you get home from work until the next morning?  I can feel your anxiety already through the screen.

What brought this to the forefront for me was a conversation with my Facebook pal Julie.  She expressed anxiety about whether she should start watching some series that was "highly recommended" and a "must watch".  I agreed that I too was a little anxious about just finding time to watch all the shows on my DVR as it is without adding anything new.  And it dawned on me.  Why the hell am I stressing out about watching a television show?  And what areas of my life have I been stressing out over for no reason?

So I've decided to try and simply things a little.  Partly for my own sanity.  With two diaconate courses this semester I need more time to get that work done.  But beyond that, I need to take care not to get too stressed out for the sake of my wife.  I can be a real pain in the ass when I feel overwhelmed.  So the first thing I did, for now anyway, is get off of Facebook.  Why?  Because stupid memes, political posts, and just trying to keep up with my feed were starting to get to me.  I'd be annoyed for hours over some stupid thing someone shared that I found idiotic.  I even uninstalled the Facebook app from all of my devices.

I haven't retired from social media, but my Twitter and Instagram feeds are pretty small.  Manageable.  And not terribly annoying.  I've also cut back on my musical activities.  I knew that had to happen but it kind of handled itself.  One of the band members could no longer go on so that was as good a time as any to call it quits.  I'm still working on balance with school and my Christian group, but as that's more a ministry, I think I can work that one out.  I'm looking for other areas to simplify and get more time for reflection and prayer.  And time with my family.  It's a work in progress.

I must say, however, I'm not really missing Facebook all that much in the short time I've been off of it.  There are a couple of people I'd like to keep up with.  I suspect that if I get back on, I'm going to be hiding or unfriending quite a few people.  Honestly, I probably accepted far to many friend requests from acquaintances I don't really know any more, like high school classmates.  Nice people and all, but ones I never really spent much time with even in high school.  We shall see.

For any of my Facebook pals that wish to touch base for any reason, you can always email, message, or hell, even leave a comment.  May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord shine His face upon you and be gracious to you, and may the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace.


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