Simplify

Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.  I Kings 18:21 NIV

In recent years, there have been hundreds, and maybe thousands of books published that encourage readers to simplify our lives. Titles like “The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living” and “Simple Living: The Path to Joy and Freedom” remind us that our lives can be enhanced when we make things plainer, easier or less complicated.

One life skill that we may not often consider in the context of “simplifying” is decision making. Webster’s 9th Dictionary tells us the word “decide” means to arrive at a solution that ends uncertainty or dispute. It is from a Latin word meaning “to cut off.” In other words, when we make a decision, we cut off and no longer contemplate other options.

Considerable energy, focus and time are and should be spent when we are faced with new and complex choices. But there are many decisions some of us make over and over again that put a demand on the limited vitality we have that could be better used elsewhere.

For instance, you may be a person who has seen that the Bible instructs Christians to bring their tithes to their place of worship. But, every time the offering plate is passed you have a hard time writing out that check and cheerfully presenting it. You let your mind wander as you think about all the other things for which those funds could be used, and you go home from church grumpy because of those considerations.

Did you know you can simplify your life and save yourself a lot of mental and emotional energy by deciding ONCE that you are a tither and then taking a few simple steps to support that decision? First, decide that you will not “keep deciding” that issue; it simply is not an option any longer because you have ceased to entertain other options. Then, take steps to enforce your decision like arranging to have your bank automatically send the funds to your church on a weekly or monthly basis. There it is. Done. Now you can move on and use your mental and emotional energy for more pressing matters!

This same principle can be used to simplify our decision-making and conserve energy in many other areas. Consider it to help you develop desirable exercise and dietary habits or to finally end an unhealthy relationship. Decide, take a step or two to make yourself accountable to that decision, and quit thinking about it. Then go ahead and use the energy you DO have for more pleasurable and important tasks!

- Pastor Donna Larson