This is one of my favorite snapshots of the Holland State Park along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. It was taken just before winter settled in for good several years ago. The haunting whimsical beauty of the trees as they await the snow cover arrests me. This beauty is barren, vulnerable, stripped, unadorned and yet magnificent in its’ stark simplicity.
We’ve all had the experience of over-eating and suffering a tummy ache as a result. When the feast before our eyes overwhelms our better judgement, it’s easy to turn off the natural sensors which tell us that we’ve had enough.
But we pay for it long after the tickling sensations which enticed our taste buds have been satiated. It is during these moments of miserable regret that we ache for simple things. The simplicity of being able to eat without pangs of pain and digest without regurgitation.
Excess is not limited to the arena of food, it’s become a large staple of modern western life. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been studying the discipline of Spiritual Simplicity. The movement towards a life grounded in integrity and truthfulness…
The challenge of Simplicity is simply this…we love our excess; even when we know it is not good for us. The mega movement in Christianity today has produced the fastest growing, largest churches in the history of America.
But what is the result of the excess? How has excessive growth in the physical dimension impacted the transformation of our culture? And to what degree is simplicity merely another form of outward process which creates a false legalism that shields our conscience from the areas that really matter?
In some ways, I think simplicity is complex…it’s far more nuanced than the wider path which seems so tempting in an arena of abundance. I think that Simplicity is calling to an inner state of being…not merely a thing to do.
It’s a shedding, stripping and pruning which opens up the cluttered regions of a stuffed up existence so we can breathe and enjoy life fully and abundantly once again. But it will not necessarily come easily…something as solid as simplicity requires a dedication of commitment and focus. In other words a singleness of mind & body which we instinctively crave but often ignore.
Picture is courtesy of madelinetosh on flickr.com