Simplicity is, by definition, the quality of being easy to do or understand, yet how many of us truly understand the concept of simplicity itself? We find that more and more, our vast deposits of experiences transmute our lives into webs of increasing complexity. We gradually deceive ourselves into believing that having more tangibles makes our lives more fulfilling somehow, that creating more chaos leads us onward to gaining inner peace. When the web gets tangled, we blame others – for the rare few, ourselves – for what is going wrong with our lives, and we become morose and hunger for more problems, people, and positions with which to puff up our sense of importance. We have begun to gain a sense of self-esteem based on how many involvements preoccupy us, procuring a false identity dependent upon the image of “leading a complicated life.” Somehow, the notion that being a “complex individual” became intriguing enough for the majority of society to accept it into the upper echelon of personality types.
I hope you caught onto the irony of the previous paragraph; it took much searching of vocabulary space to eke out those phrases onto e-paper (especially when I was feeling very uninterested in the topic initially). What I’m trying to say is that instead of searching for simplicity, we are going the opposite way. And how contradictory is this to our spiritual lives, where we can confidently say that Christ is all and is in all? (Colossians 3:11b) The age old adage of “taking time to smell the roses” wasn’t a joke; it was prescient at its foundation, realizing that we would no longer understand simplicity with our present societal standards. Simplicity, in its very nature, is experiencing life to the fullest. Anything and everything is capable of stimulating our sense, but it depends on how simply we perceive things for them to take effect. The very complexity that we cling to now is the same thing that is preventing us from partaking in the lesser known joys of life; the way that strangers might smile at us from time to time, seeing the greeting of two close friends, sitting down to just take a load off. We are so caught up with fashion, self-portrayal, and emotional insecurities that we fall further and further down the slippery slope. Instead, if we just lay it all down before God, all the baggage we’ve carried our whole life, the thoughts that flit through our mind’s space, the judgment we pass on those we don’t know – if we lay it all down and bare our souls before the Author of our creation, we find that our load becomes light. Simple living is, at the surface level, living without care for the surface level, but deeper than that, it is allowing all things, big and small, to touch our hearts.
God is capable of designing the universe, placing stars into space, and breathing life into creation, but we are not. So why pursue the big things, the fame, the self-satisfaction of knowing that we have “done something with our lives” in such a manner? Little do we know, the simplicity that resides in a dormant part of ourselves is capable of granting us far more than the mantle of intricacy ever will. God has hidden things from the wise and revealed them unto babes (Matthew 11:25), but if we cannot lead the lives of the simple, how clouded is our judgment and how deaf we become to His gentle call. This is not to say that we should not attain the heights of our potential, because God certainly has great things marked out within our lives, but we should rather recognize that faith is simple, and living simply is having faith. When we read children’s books, there is no guile required to understand the meaning of the story because of that quality of simplicity. And if we can just conform more and more to this characteristic of simplicity, we may find that it becomes our due felicity.