Do you remember the moment you realized that life can be complicated? Muddled and thorny.
An unreciprocated first crush. An introduction to fear. A daunting circumstance. A broken promise. An affront to childhood naivete’. Divorce. Abuse. Failure. Death.
I remember my moment…and the moments to follow.
As an adult and a believer, I know that nothing just happens (Jeremiah 29:11).
Life is crazy, busy, thrilling, hard, entertaining, surprising, disappointing, and if we’re lucky blessed, great even.
Still, can life or at least aspects of it be made simple? And if so, who drives that simplicity?
Today, I search for and create simplicity whenever and wherever I can. I also hold dear some simple, yet foundational and impactful memories from my childhood.
I can remember waking up on a scorching hot summer’s day, with the cool air from an oscillating fan still sweeping across my body. In the distance, I could hear the low-pitched voice and verbal invitation from my Grandmother to come and enjoy a frozen cup. For those who aren’t familiar, a frozen cup is kool-aid frozen in a small styrofoam cup – the ultimate sweet treat for 9 yr. old me. It is one of my most beloved and treasured memories of summers at Grandma’s. While she didn’t have much, what little she did have, she freely gave it to spoil her cherished grandchildren.
At the time, those frozen cups were a part of grand conspiracy, in an imperfect world, to show me that I was loved beyond measure. They were small and inexpensive expressions of my grandmother’s heart, a sweet demonstration of love. It was one of the many reasons that I loved her.
Everything that worked together to help facilitate those moments may have very well been complicated, but to me, it was simple. It made perfect sense. I was safe. I was fulfilled. I was happy.
Let’s discuss a few of the principles that psychologists (and the Word) believe help foster happiness and simplify the seemingly convoluted.
Mind your company. Stop allowing obstructive, negative, life-draining people into your heart and mind. You deserve to be loved, supported, celebrated, and encouraged to do what’s right and what’s possible.
“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” – Proverbs 17:17; “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” – 1 Corinthians 15:33
Be steadfast in your beliefs and values. Actively practicing your faith will impose boundaries and influence key decisions that speak to who you are, whose you are, and where you’re going. Don’t allow others to sway or manipulate the threads of your moral fabric. Stay grounded in truth.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. ” – James 1:22-25
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2
Be thankful! Please remember that somewhere in the world, someone else is praying for what you already have…and possibly take for granted.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – James 1:17
Live a purpose-filled life. Passion will steer you to purpose, and it will always involve people in some way, shape, or form. Impacting your world and contributing to humanity will magnify your feelings of self-worth, divine alignment, fulfillment, humility and compassion.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” – John 15:16
Expect change. This is very difficult for some. Most of us don’t enjoy change, but we know it’s perpetual and sure. The more we resist it, the more miserable we become. Endeavor to be more open and malleable.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
Bask in simple pleasures. Life-giving relationships, treasured memories, laughter, walks in the park, sunny days, yellow roses, and rainbows. These are the gifts that keep on giving and remind us of the beauty in life.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11
My challenge to you my friend is this: Do something intentional today that instigates joy and permeates your day with happiness, peace, and a measure of simplicity. A little thing that changes EVERYTHING, and reminds you that despite of [ ], you are loved and cared for beyond measure. “Spring up, O well!”
Everything doesn’t have to be complicated and difficult, whether under or beyond our control.
Life is what you make it!