The Heart of Simplicity

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rest

noun \ˈrest\

to cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength

to depend on, be grounded in

to place hope, trust, or confidence in

an object that is used to support something

I’m coming to realize that simplicity is cultivated from a heart at rest. Trying to minimalize one’s surroundings feels unnatural and unnerving when the heart is in discord. Yet ridding our lives of the unnecessary and making room to breathe is incredibly freeing.

In deliberately resting and making space to abide and contemplate, I allow myself to recenter and therefore am able to move forward from a place of strength.

In early mornings, my lifeblood is found.

A life of true simplicity will flow out a heart that is deeply content, trusting, and grateful.

You’ve probably heard it said: You have enough. You are enough. You know enough.

But I’m suggesting this:

You have enough because God is enough and that is all you need to know.

Situations where we feel inadequate are what teach us to “let go and let God.”

The Father invites us into waters beyond our reach so that we may learn the depth of His grace. Embracing rest allows us to stop treading water and simply trust being buoyed by His empowerment.

Whenever I think of rest, Isaiah 30:15 is the first verse that comes to mind.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’”

I did a little research on the Hebrew word that translates to rest in this verse. It is only used a handful of times in the Old Testament but two of the passages in particular containing this word stood out to me.

He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.” Job 36:16

That imagery is so stunning. I keep reading and rereading it.

Space. Freedom. Comfort. Good food. Abundance.

What a beautiful invitation to rest.

Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:6

This passage is basically the essence of living simply and within your means, because it gives a perfect example of incorporating the profound concept of rest into our lives – learning to be content with less so we can stop striving after the things we don’t need.

When I have less to take care of, I spend less time maintaining it all and am able to pursue the things that really matter to me. When I spend less time on unnecessary obligations, I have more time to give to the people I love.

“Most of what we do and say is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’” –Marcus Aurelius

I’ve been asking that question a lot lately. When it comes down to it, what really matters?

Who doesn’t want to rid their days of unnecessary clutter and have more space to be and know and learn?

I certainly do.

Ultimately it comes down to defining what is most important to you. What are your values? Your dreams? What would you strive to do if you could not fail? If time and money were not factors, what would you do?

How to begin cultivating a life of Simplicity:

  1. Learn what rest means for you and make it a habit – early morning solitude, reading, prayer, yoga, a quietly enjoyed meal, unobtrusive music, anything that leaves you refreshed and calm. Think of it as investing in yourself so you have more to give to the people around you.
  2. Define what truly matters to you – your most important values, your specific goals, your dreams, ect. Narrow it down to no more than the essential 4-5. This will become your manifesto.
  3. Let go of everything else – this is a process, and one that I am still very much in the middle of. Don’t expect to wake up with a simple life tomorrow morning. It takes time and work and willingness to make hard choices but nothing worth doing ever comes easy. Remember that.

I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts on the idea of habitual rest and how it relates to living simply. Leave a comment below and we can chat. 🙂

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The Heart of Simplicity

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