Simplicity

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.” -H.W. Longfellow

Alongside courage, I desire to have my life defined by the virtue of simplicity. I have always been drawn to simple things; chaos, confusion, and complexity tend to unravel me. When I speak of simplicity though, I do not include matters of the heart and mind. Those are complexities filled with depths I would never wish to be made shallow. I mean to be simple in how I approach life, shaking off the excess so I can be free to explore and enjoy the oceans of depth that simplicity leads to. I have always loved how simplicity creates a space for me to see what is paramount in the moment, within or without. Simplicity, much like courage, requires conscious decision. I could not merely steep in my fondness for it as a concept if I wanted to truly incorporate it into my life. Since implementing change from the outside in is the easiest, I began with my closet. I had recently finished How to be Parisian Wherever You Are, as I have long admired the Parisian manner of dressing and expressing femininity. It is far more simple and natural, believing that less is truly more when it comes to fashion and beauty. They like to keep a classic, simple, quality wardrobe and wear minimal makeup. I found it all very inspiring, considering how overwhelming the expectations are in our society. I wanted my expressions of femininity and beauty to be less contrived, less consuming of my time. So I purged my closet of unnecessary items. I have begun replacing those items with quality pieces that go with each other, making it easier and far less stressful to get dressed. If it is not classic, quality, or needed, I do not buy it. Simple. My makeup bag was not spared from the purging either, and now there is no need to dig around for my mascara or search for concealer. I am choosing to extend simplicity to an area most American women refuse to, and I must say, ¬†there is something so completely freeing about it. I also realized I approached my days in a very haphazard, scattered way, flitting from one thing to the next. It began to feel as if life was sweeping me up in its currant, and I had no say in the matter. But each person has a choice in how they live their life, and with whom they choose to share it with. I realized that in order to embrace simplicity in this area of my life, I needed to learn to say “no”. And much more than that, I needed to learn to say no and not feel like an ass. This actually ties into courage, because I need it in order to say no to people and things. Refusal of excess, requests, and events opens up life so I can say yes to the truly important and needful things. There is a tendency to over-complicate major life goals and aspirations. I was finding myself completely overwhelmed by possibilities and future planning. Sometimes I would feel dizzy and panicked, wondering if one false move would send me on a different path, far from what God wanted for my life. So I dropped my plans and backed away, believing it was better to halt all progress than make the wrong decision. I did not want to trust that God would see me through all my confusion. After some time I realized the foolishness of this fearful hesitancy, and chose to take each day as it came to me. I decided to make simple goals that would benefit whatever I choose to do in the future: build a savings account, run several times a week, go to therapy, and finish the remaining 15 credits of my Bachelor’s degree. Rather than trying to figure out where I am headed, I am simply pursuing things that will open doors for possibilities in the future. I am trusting that “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; He is gracious, merciful, and righteous” (Psalm 112:4). I am practicing simplicity in faith. Simplicity requires sacrifice, dedication, and resolve. It is a door that leads to great depths, beauty, fulfillment, and peace. There is a lot one must leave in order to pass through it. I love what Steve Jobs said: “Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

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