The Abundant Life of Simplicity
As you ponder what you might want to do differently this year, some of your ideas no doubt revolve around simplicity. You want to make things less complicated and less stressful. It sounds good, but when you put it into practice it usually means cutting things out.
Simplicity of time might mean eliminating an activity you like and have done for years, but it’s just not as important as others. Simplicity of speech might mean not mentioning that slightly wonderful thing you just did. (Yes, I read that book; I prayed for you yesterday; I learned that lesson a long time ago!) Frugality might mean getting rid of clutter including some prized possessions you’ve had for years. Or frugality might mean limiting your shopping trips, or, as one of my students decided, to not get a cart when she went to Costco. If she was buying more than she could carry out, it was too much. (Most people groan when I suggest that.) Or, in my case, not stopping at the world’s finest bookstore when I’m passing right by it. (I’m groaning now.)
But the truth is that simplicity creates abundance. Your life is no longer cluttered and hurried. You live with more contentment and tranquility. You are more authentic because you are just you, not all the activities you do and objects you own. You relate better to people because you can look them in the eye without thinking in the back of your mind one of these two things:
- Where am I stopping to shop on the way home?
- Do these jeans make me look fat?
Instead, you are “practicing the presence of people” by paying attention to the person in front of you. When we do that, it’s easier to love them and to think about what they might need. Family and colleagues find you so much easier to be around.
Simplicity doesn’t have to hurt. You start with small things and listen to what God says to you in the midst of it. Because it helps you live in friendship with God and soak in what the Spirit is saying to you today, a life of simplicity is really the best possible life.
I’ve explored these ideas and down-to-earth ways to practice simplicity in the fourth DVD, Abundant Simplicity in a new DVD series, Spiritual Formation as Abiding. This fourth DVD is now available along with a full-color Participants Guide (including Powerpoint slides, see above) for you to use on your own or to duplicate and use with a group. You can purchase it disk or download it.
Also available now is the entire set of DVDs:
1. The Transformed Life How Do People Change?
2. Practicing the Presence of God
3. Redemptive Community and Its Disciplines
4. Abundant Simplicity: Unhurried Rhythms of Life
My goal with this DVD series is to do what I can to help move people forward in their union with God and transformation into Christlikeness.
Grace and peace,
From Bill & Becky Heatley of Dallas Willard Ministries:
“Jan Johnson’s Spiritual Formation as Abiding DVD series is a beautiful example of why Dallas Willard has partnered in ministry with Jan for so many years. She “gets it,” as he used to say, and she loves to share “it” in a way that is engaging and inviting to men and women alike. This is a wonderful resource for individuals and groups interested in exploring deeper discipleship. We are grateful to see Jan’s teaching made so readily available.”
© Jan Johnson – For permission to reprint, http://janjohnson.org/reprints.html
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