on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Starting with Sabbath – Day 2

A few months ago I wrote the following words to Mary in an email:

“When we move from the lake, my hope and prayer will be that whatever and wherever it is, it will be a step toward radical simplicity.  A step towards making time for relationships, yours and mine, as well as with others, and a lifestyle that is enriched by doing what we love, and not what we feel like we have to do.  I don’t know what all of that means, but I like to dream of it.”

And so my simplicity journey began. It was a step, a beginning, a stirring, a calling to walk a new pace.

In Richard Foster’s book, Freedom of Simplicity, he states that simplicity is rooted in the spiritual.  Simplicity is not about becoming an ascetic and hating material possessions.  It is about understanding that happiness through owning stuff is limited, and our peace, joy, and inherent value comes from God.

Last evening I worked the night shift in the hospital from 4pm-8am. The night shift has its own pace and intensity.  When I’m the only chaplain in the hospital, my beeper is a constant invitation for me to be present with persons who are going through incredible, life changing events.  As I walked the steps from room to room, person to person, I tried to listen to that still, small voice that whispers deep inside all of us.

Today is a rest day after a sixteen hour shift, a Sabbath, a reminder to get all the sleep I need, and to be quiet. I went down to our dock on the lake and read some of Foster’s book in the warm sunshine that hinted that Spring is coming. Thank God.  It is the first time I have done so in months.  I was reminded of the beauty surrounding me.  I went for a walk down our quiet country road with Daisy, our yellow lab.

I need an internal beeper to invite me home more often.

The truth is, all of us do have an internal beeper that calls us to be present where we are. It’s the beep, beep, beep of our heartbeat.  It’s the beep, beep, beep of our breath moving in and out of our lungs.  It is the beep, beep, beep of our mind dreaming dreams.  It calls us home and reminds us that life is good, and that we need to be still and quiet.

Maybe it is time for us to listen to our internal beeper more closely? Maybe it is time for us to be quiet long enough so that we will  remember that we are alive?  Maybe it is time for us to know that life is a gift from God?

Taking time to be still and quiet is a step on the journey toward simplicity.

Can you hear it?  Beep, beep, beep.


Today’s simple invitation: Spend 5 minutes (or more) being quiet.  Listen to each breath you take.  End with the words, “Thank you God.”

Choose One Action Item for Freedom from Physical Clutter: (from Richard Foster)

  • Give away what I don’t use or value
  • Stick to a shopping list avoiding impulse buying
  • Give time or handmade gifts for Christmas and birthdays
  • Give away something that I love as a gift to someone
  • Have a joint garage sale with friends and donate proceeds to a nonprofit

Keeping it Simple: Matthew 22:36-40

36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”


  1. michelle sanders

    Thank you, Malcolm, for reminding me to be still. Look forward to your daily writings!!

  2. Paula Ross

    Looking forward to learning through your journey.

  3. Spencer Thomas

    I plan on purchasing this book today. Can’t wait to get started. Just finishing another book titled “Have a Little Faith” by Mitch Albom. Enjoyed it very much.

  4. Jeff Thomas

    Malcolm, thank you for that beep beep, of your heartfelt blog this morning. May you have a wonderful weekend. God bless.

  5. Edna Shurden Langley

    I am grateful for all the special relationships in my life and pray that I will be more intentional in my efforts to continue to nurture those relationships. As always, Malcolm, thank you.

  6. Isaac Smith

    Hi Malcolm,

    Thanks for the facebook add as it has led me to your 40 days of simplicity. I knew joining that Progressive Christian Group was a great idea.

    I want to rush through and read a whole bunch today, but I’m am going to take my time and go slow 🙂 One a day.

  7. Malcolm

    Hi Isaac,

    Thanks so much for your comment here. Welcome aboard. I look forward to staying in touch and getting your thoughts and ideas as well.


  8. Renee Dean Houston

    Taking 5 minutes to “be still” makes me realize some days I am way to busy and need to slow down and enjoy the day I’ve been given. I am reminding myself that there will be some days that “it” can’t all be done and that is ok, it will be there tomorrow:)

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