on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Why do I want to simplify?

This is a hard blog to write.  I am embarrassed.

I’ve been exploring how to simplify my life more lately and I read several blogs (see bottom of left column) daily about how to do so.  If I read enough about simplification, write enough about it, then my life will be simpler.  Right?

Wrong.  As a person of faith, it’s kind of like reading the sacred scripture of your faith and agreeing with the concepts in your head, and saying “I believe that,” whatever “that” is, but ultimately it changes nothing.  My behavior is the true evidence.

So, the real question is why do I want to simplify my life?

My faith invites and requires me to do so.  That matters to me.

And this is where I am uncomfortable, and for good reason.  I work hard at two jobs so that I can provide for myself and family to have enough food, water, shelter, and clothing.  And so much more.

My faith is important to me.  But unless I can see it in the way I live, I am a fool and liar.

To put it more simply, my faith says I am supposed to care for the “least of these.” As a start, the least of these include the thirsty and hungry, and those who do not have enough clothes.  I am supposed to visit persons who are sick and care for them, and I am supposed to visit those in prison.

As a chaplain in a hospital, I’m working on visiting and caring for the sick.  But on the rest, I flunk the test on a daily basis.  Except sometimes at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I have fooled myself into thinking that by tipping God at my church (10%), the rest of my resources can be used any way I want.  Not true.  And my behavior right now really does reflect what I believe.  I don’t like what I am seeing one bit.  I am not satisfied with it.

I know I’m being hard on myself, but I have to be in order to get my attention!

How can I live in a radically, clear way that validates my faith.  One step at a time.

Does anyone else struggle with this issue?

I’d love to hear how we can work on this together.

I would appreciate some company.


  1. Jo Ann Baker

    I am in the throes of a huge change of life and unfortunately I’m not talking about “hot flashes”. I had no idea we owned so much stuff. HC Baker loved stuff.

    Well, guess what? I bought a new car on my own, had a huge yard sale, retired from my job, and yesterday sold the house. All this in the past 2 months (plus a ton of other stuff). And I feel terrific. I can now take my time and use it for “good” things.

    I feel unburdened by not only the “stuff” but I am so much more in control of my emotions. I can think! I can pray! I can see a future! (The particulars of the future are a little fuzzy but I know it’s there.)

    And there’s a cardinal bird in the tree out my back door. I know it’s HC and he hasn’t swooped down and pecked my eyes out yet! Wonderful scriptures are jumping into my head. I’d never had the time to let them in before. Today’s in a nutshell is… If God is for us, who can be against us? And for today, that says it all for me. I can’t wait to hear tomorrow’s “simple” lesson!

    You are not alone in this. We’re all here and the good news is we’re all praying for each other. Happy Monday (I can’t remember the last time I said those words!), JB

  2. Malcolm

    Dear Jo Ann,

    Considering that you have been through three of the biggest changes a person can go through in the last 2 months (death of a spouse, selling your home, and buying a car), I am standing in awe at your description of your experience.

    At the same time, you are an inspiration and encouragement to me. You said you feel “unburdened by not only the stuff, but you are much more in control of your emotions. You can think, pray, and see a future.”

    And thank you for letting me know I am not alone in this. Enough said.


  3. Tony E. Haynes

    I could not agree with you more about wanting to simplify in order to help others as part of your faith journey. As a man with a strong faith I too struggle with the question, am I doing all that I can be doing to help those in need. Just yesterday I had to go to UAB and give someone money and food, because her daughter was in the hospital. I could not in my heart let her go hungry knowing she had nothing. Thank God I was able to do for her and I am able to for others from time to time. However there are the times when I do not have it to do with and I can only pray that God sends someone else to meet the needs of a person.

    As Christians we are called to serve others and sometimes it is at a sacrifice of ourselves so that others might have what they need. I know that if I can do it on what income I have others can too. I am glad to see you working on your life and I too continue to work on mine to make it simpler in order that I might serve Christ and others better. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Tony E. Haynes

  4. Kay Blackwell

    Dear Malcom,

    I am struggling with the same questions. Just a few years ago we downsized and felt so good about it but now we have ended up right back where we were. How is this possible?

    We think we want to give these “things” to our children for sentimental reasons but they are less materialistic than we are! I suppose they would not want any of our possessions if we were to die tomorrow.

    Keep praying for us to let go and be free to really live the abundant life.


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