Two weeks ago, I began Project: Simplify in my own home. Jim wrote an intriguing comment on that post in which he shared his own experience of the simplification process. I asked him to share more in a guest post, because, bottom line, I really like Jim. Every time I read one of his comments on Pop Parables or any other blog, I gain wisdom and insight on the topic. I hope you’ll gain some perspective on your own life after reading about Jim’s experience.
Read the title again – it is not The Simple Life starring Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie but The Simpler Life starring me and my family.
It all started a little over three years ago. I was called into the Senior Pastor’s office for my normal Friday meeting with him. We had not been doing it very regularly but he made a point the day before to make sure I would be in there for this one. I go into his office and notice that he looks stressed. He asks me a few surface questions and then hits me with “You have six months to find another job”. I was stunned and really heard very little of what he said after that point. By all accounts, I had done all that was asked and more in my position at the church.
I had been at this church that was in an affluent suburb of a big northeastern city for nearly 8 years. To make matters worse we bought our first home just 11 month before. It was not a huge house but at nice 1600 square foot home in a development. We had a couple of nice vehicles and a good amount of stuff. Let me be brutally honest – we were “keeping up with Jones” with all the stuff we were compiling but did not realize that we were losing ourselves spiritually in the mix of stuff and losing God.
We were now going to have to live the simpler life. I thought that meant just getting rid of some of the stuff but it actually turned out to be a whole lot more.
In my calling as a pastor I spoke about God a lot but in reality He was forgotten because I was so busy doing stuff for Him. God was forgotten in the pursuit of stuff. It was not all bad stuff but it was cluttering up life and I was losing God in it all. Spiritual stuff began to clutter up my life to the point that God was forgotten.
When I was put in the position that my job was going away – I realized how much I complicated and cluttered my life up with physical stuff and spiritual stuff that was not needed at all. I clearly saw that God was just a part of my life and not the center of it – something I had preached and taught against. I did not see it at the time but hindsight made it clear. God needs to touch every aspect of our lives and when He does I believe He will help keep it clear of the clutter. When He is just a slice of life and not the center life gets cluttered with stuff that does not need to be there. A solid relationship with Christ clears the clutter and helps you to see stuff for what it is – just stuff.
After only five months of being told I had six months to find a job God provided a position as a senior pastor in a small church in southeastern Virginia. It is rural and there are only 400 people live in the village. Life moves as a slower pace here – at least it does for me and my family. We are not always running here or there – there really is nowhere to go. I do not have endless meetings. I refuse to allow the desire to keep up with anybody creep in again because I see how destructive it has been. I just want to stay connected with God, my wife, my kids, my family, and church. I do not want to worry about what stuff I have or what stuff I do not have.
The simpler life was not a choice I made willingly but one that I am glad now was forced on me and my family. I do not believe you have to be forced in to the simpler life but it is a choice you can make right where you are today. Survey your life and make sure life is not so cluttered with stuff that God is being lost in the mix.
Make God the center of your life. And, the result will be a much simpler life.
Do you have a simpler life and if so how did you get it?
Who is Jim Foreman? He is a lover of God, husband of a godly woman, father of 2 great kids, a friend, a pastor, and many other things. He enjoys sports, reading, and life in general. You can read his blog On The Brink Of Something Large .