September 11, 2015 in Pastor's Perspective

simplifysmlIn Simplify, Bill Hybels puts his finger squarely on the things that complicate our lives. I found the book insightful and helpful.

In particular, I loved his point that, “If you choose to live with more energy reserves in your life, you will, without a doubt, disappoint some people.” That is so true! And understanding and embracing that truth is what allows us to move forward. Living with more energy actually takes work, discipline, and time. It takes time to get enough sleep; it takes time to exercise; it takes time to do the things that replenish us.

And that means less time for other things—things that people will think are important. I’ve seen people be accused of being selfish or being uncommitted to Christ because they chose to live with more energy. (That is really just people trying to manipulate others into doing what they want them to do.) But living with more energy reserves has tremendous benefits. The quality of your work, and your overall life, improves. You have the ability to stay in the game longer, rather than burning out and having to take a longer time out to recover. And over time, your productivity increases. It’s worth it to take the time to live with more energy.

I also thought it was insightful to recognize that when we do get depleted, it is natural for us to look around for someone else to fill us up. When you’re depleted, you lack energy, and it takes more energy to make the choices needed to get filled up again. But at the end of the day, it is our responsibility—and only ours—to fill our tank or to plug the leaks. It’s actually a setup for resentment when we look for others to do the things we need to do for ourselves.

When I think of simplifying, I usually think in terms of eliminating clutter or shortening my to-do list somehow. But Hybels brings in another angle that is significant: identifying and addressing the things that complicate our lives.

When our finances or relationships are not in order (for example), it complicates our lives. The fear and worry, and the time it takes to deal with those types of things, can suck the life right out of us. It takes time to put things right and time to keep them in order, but the peace it brings into every area of our lives is worth it. There is an energizing freedom that comes when we aren’t worrying or stressing about those areas.

I think Hybels hits the nail on the head when he says that it is more about what kind of person we want to be than what we want to get done. That helps us focus on the things that are most important, which will have the biggest impact over time. Simplifying life with this framework in mind is a powerful paradigm for a more peaceful and more productive life.

What are your thoughts, questions and insights?

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