Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Faith | 2 comments


The year, 1998. The place, Paris. I had just graduated from college and moved across the Atlantic for…who knows what. It’s probably the only spontaneous thing I’ve ever done in my life. I didn’t speak the language and was qualified for nothing, so I mostly spent my days soaking up the culture. I always think this experience is a great illustration of the difficulty transitioning from school to the real world…the fact that a planner like me would leave the country with no plan at all because I just didn’t know what to do with my life was a little over the top, but it happened.

During my time in Paris I was struck by the simplicity of life there compared to what I was used to back home. The apartment I stayed in was beautiful, a very old building that surrounded a courtyard, but there was nothing luxurious about it…no dishwasher, not much space, sparse furniture, no TV. The people I met there bought and cooked basic, local food and drove tiny, crappy cars. Simple. The simplicity was really beautiful in its own way.

Over the past several years my family has simplified a lot out of necessity…we’ve gone without cable, a second car, eating out, vacations…we sold our house and furniture, gave up a lot of little things that I used to take for granted. I can’t say that I haven’t missed any of the little extras, because I have. But I’ve also learned that they don’t really matter.  This new simplicity is beautiful in its own way, it shifts my focus to the things that do really matter.

Lately I’ve been cleaning out and simplifying something a little different: my faith. The past four years have been difficult in lots of unexpected ways, and that has left me with the task of reconciling many of the things I’ve been taught with my actual life experience.  As is fitting, I guess, I seem to have no flowery, complicated way of putting into words the things I feel God showing me about simplifying my faith. I only have what I feel like He has spoken to my heart, so here it is, as simply put as I perceived it…

God takes care of me whether I’m doing it all right or not…I’ll never get it all right anyway, it’s okay, He’s looking for a condition in my heart not perfection in my life. The whole point is: intimate relationship with Him, love for other people. That’s it. Loving him and loving people lines my heart up with His and transforms me to be more like Him, more in line with His will. And the whole process may look different than what I imagined, but that’s okay too.

I can’t say that I never miss any of the little extras beyond this simple faith…the idea that I can have more control over my life if I do things just right or that there’s perhaps some formula I can activate to make God perform on my behalf…sometimes I do.  But the simplicity is beautiful in its own way, I think it leaves me focused on what really matters.

“When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you  fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.” Galatians 5:4-6 (The Message Bible)



  1. I think Simplify | Under Construction Paper is a good article and you do a solid job of writing detailed information. Tommy –

    • Thank you, Tommy

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