What does simple really mean?

As we practice simplicity, the Holy Spirit trains us to cut busyness and hurry out of our lives by remaining focused on God and God’s kingdom. ~ Jan Johnson


In October of each year I devote time every day to praying for myself.   Seeking the Lord’s direction and conviction, encouragement and challenge, as I pray over the year to come.   October 2010 was a very busy month and led into a November and December during which I barely had time to breathe.   In the last three months of 2010, we made three trips to Alabama to see family, a trip to Missouri (via Alabama) for my grandmother’s funeral, and I spent a week in Pennsylvania visiting a dear friend and attending an incredible conference.  Add into that a big two-day event at our church and C’s fifth year in The Nutcracker and some health issues I was facing … It was a busy, exhausting, and sometimes complicated three-month season of life.

As I looked back over my blog posts and my reading list from last year and continued to pray about what direction the Lord was leading me, one word continued to sift to the top … SIMPLE.

At first I felt it might be just a reaction to the chaos just past.    But over and over passages from Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream and Simple Life: Time, Relationships, Money, God came to mind, Scripture pointed to a less-complicated living, and conversations between my husband and I evolved into a desire for less.

I spent some time praying while we were in Alabama for Christmas.   We have a small house there next door to Scott’s grandmother’s home.   I call it “The Cottage.”   It belonged to Scott’s great-grandmother and is the house we lived in before we moved to Georgia 10 years ago.   It’s small and needs lots of TLC … the linoleum is original and is peeling up in a few places.   There is one bathroom (redone a few years ago – thanks Aunt Norma!) and two small bedrooms.   The basement sort of scares me … but after spending time there four different times in three months, I realized how much I missed that little house with no storage and a front door that takes me two or three tries to open.

And I realized that my heart was longing for SIMPLE …

Not easy or small necessarily … but simple.   Less.

I’ve long held (and practiced!) the idea of letting go of good to experience best.   But over the past few months, the Lord has led me to understand that idea in a new way.

Over the next ten Wednesdays, we’ll be exploring what Richard Foster calls “controlling principles” of the Discipline of Simplicity. I’ll also be writing on Scripture Dig about simplicity next week as well.   I am not sure what direction the Lord is taking me … and I have to admit that sort of scares me.   But, I trust His leading and look forward to what He will reveal.

Do you have one word for your year?

{Please note:  Links to Radical and Simple Life are affiliate links through Amazon.  I will receive a small commission if you purchase through them.  I also have affiliate links to these books on the “My Bookshelf” page through Christian Book Distributors.}


Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. Simplicity is such an important thing to strive for in our faith (childlike trusting faith) and in our lives within this over-committed, busy society.

    My word for the year is also “servitude.” More specifically, “humble servitude.” I love having that phrase to repeat to myself over and over again.

    I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on simplicity. I’m loving the disciplines study on Scripture Dig already!
    Caroline recently posted…Awe-some in the Truest SenseMy Profile


  1. […] As I read Foster’s words on what simplicity is and what it isn’t, I knew God was teaching me something fresh … something powerful … and I continued my study.   In fact, all that studying led me to my one word for this year:  Simple. […]

  2. […] telling me something.  After all, I had determined my word for this year would be simple … simplicity.   And part of my desire in that was to slow, to be still.   Certainly, learning the habit of […]

  3. […] low and how to abound?  Perhaps you struggle with contentment … I do sometimes.   In my quest to pursue simple this year, I’ve come back time and again to the idea of contentment.   From being honest about why I […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge