Daily Truth: “Thus says, the LORD: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.'”
How many times have you been traveling and look on a map or use an app to see when the next “Rest Area” is located? Your children need a place to run off some energy while you just need to stretch and regroup for the miles ahead. We all need times of refreshing and regrouping. January is the month of new beginnings. I have said to my husband that this is the Year of Jubilee. You know, forget about those things that need to be forgotten. Make life simpler, move on, and prepare for the future.
To simplify is my mantra this year. For several years I have told myself if I don’t want to move it, dust it, or wash it don’t get it. So this is the year to simplify. ( I must admit I am taking a break from cleaning out drawers to post this blog.)
This new year’s thought all began when I met Nancy Sleeth at a Christian Writers Conference and read her book Almost Amish, one woman’s quest for a slower, simpler, more sustainable life. It is a thought provoking book, with Scripture illustrations, that provides ideas and a plan to make life simpler and restful both physically and spiritually.
Nancy tells us, “It’s time to simplify our lives-to slow down, make faith and family the focal point, and recapture the lost art of simple living. And what group has kept simplicity, family, and faith at the center of all they say and do better than Amish?”
“Building on the core principles of Amish life, Nancy Sleeth explains how making conscious choices to limit (and sometimes eliminate) technology’s hold on our lives and get back to the basics and help us lead calmer more focused, (restful) less harried live, resulting in stronger, deeper relationships with our friends, families, and God.”
The chapter about “Community” is very refreshing. “According to an Amish proverb, face-to-face contact with a friend is ‘like the rainbow that is always there for you after the storm.'” Texting and emailing are nice tools but there is nothing like actually meeting with a friend.
To simplify also gives more time and attention to the world God created. “When Mary mistook Jesus for the gardener, it was no mistake: Jesus is the new Adam, and the garden is God’s eternal classroom.”
C.S. Lewis advises in Mere Christianity that “Going back can sometimes be the quickest way forward.” Going back is good yet I do enjoy electricity, grocery stores, and my iPhone. If I do not have to go back to Laura in Little House on the Prairie but can manage to embrace some of the things taught in Almost Amish I am ready, especially when I look around at the unnecessary and unused accumulated items . Giving to others, helping others, and freeing space and time to better serve family and God is a life pleasing to God. Going back to clean, purge, and evaluate needs will help in going forward.
Nancy Sleeth, in her book Almost Amish, helps us to realize by taking little steps a simpler life is attainable and sustainable. “Through the choices we make may vary, it is a journey that we can take together-and above all, with God.”
Happy New and Simpler Year!
Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,
Cathy Jo Johnson