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Our American culture makes it quite difficult to live a simple life. (We’re not talking the reality show type of simple life.) Simplifying our lives doesn’t automatically come from living without money. It’s more about living with focus and without so much busyness; we can live on a farm or in poverty and have cluttered lives.

What is at the heart of a simple life? Why are we so busy and exhausted?

Jesus calls us to simplify our lives by seeking first God’s kingdom and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33). We prioritize living out the character and actions of Christ that bring his kingdom light to our world. That focus puts all else into perspective so we make wise decisions.

When we live each day for God, knowing that what we do is for his glory and kingdom, we live the simple life. That may entail a career focused on living out Jesus’s love for our co-workers instead of pushing for advancement. It may involve loving our children enough to deny them their desires. It may be prioritizing family time over entertainment.

Getting to church on Sunday in a frazzled state points out the need for change. I read a mother’s blog sharing her decision to stay home periodically on Sunday to fix the problem. There is a deeper issue here that her solution fails to address. What is behind the stress? What are her expectations of her children or herself that ruin the day? What can she do on Saturday to make Sunday simpler and less stressful? How is she seeking God’s kingdom for her family?

What thinking patterns do I see in my own life and those around me which brings us busyness and worry? Trying to please people instead of God; thinking our children need to do everything; expecting stuff to bring happiness; perfectionism; trying to control the future; depending on ourselves rather than trusting God.

What is behind your busyness, your stress, and your worry? What can you eliminate if you truly prioritize God’s kingdom?

This post was first published 10/27/10 on Kay’s late blog Beyond, which died when she got a new website.

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